billfriday.com

fictionary… 8 megapixel artist… bloody awful poet.

Spanish Ladies

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“Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish Ladies.  Farewell and adieu you Ladies of Spain…”

Don’t be alarmed. 

This could be a good thing.

I might not be finishing Nano Poblano this year.

Today is Day 17.  I don’t know what that means to anyone else participating in NaBloPoMo and/or its happier-go-luckier sister with all the smiling Peppers, but for me, today, it means re-evaluation.  Not because of a date on the calendar, but because today I woke up before the sunrise and, in the dark, realized that writing to be read every day for one month out of the year just wasn’t on my top 10 list of things I need to do to get through Day 17.

It’s nothing personal.

I’ve noticed in the course of the last week or so, about the time my second granddaughter was being born, that a few… and then a few more… Peppers were missing from the daily call to post on Facebook.  Then a couple of days later, even more stopped showing up in my WordPress reader.  And then came this morning, and the realization that I might soon be among their number.

Today, in my newsfeed, reading media posts that my non-blogging friends shared, I read more than one thing on ‘self-care’ and ‘gratitude’.  And those got me thinking even more about what I woke up with on my mind, in the dark, before the larger-than-usual coffee and the 6 a.m. showing of Jaws on Showtime Extreme®.  Got me thinking that maybe this was my day to join the fallen.  I mean, nobody wants to go down like Quint.  We all want to be Brody, blowing up the shark and kicking into shore, still alive as the credits roll.

But this month has me feeling a lot like Quint, black smoke pouring out of an engine running on salt water and stripped gears, and the sound of “Spanish Ladies” playing in my head, telling me that I may be done. 

Then again, if this day ends with me blowing up the shark, I might spend the rest of the month kicking into shore on the last two yellow barrels, looking for a sequel to the story of what got us here in the first place.  Till then, 

“Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish Ladies.  Farewell and adieu you Ladies of Spain.  For we’ve received orders for to sail back to Boston, and so, nevermore, will we see you again.”

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

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Affective

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I slept hard, I assume, because when my stuck-shut eyes finally opened, I felt like I had not moved all night.  I thought about last night’s beers… only two… and this morning’s coffee, still only a waking dream on the dingy horizon.

I miss the morning sun.

I spent a dozen years without the sunrise, unless you count seeing it come at the end of a work day, on the wrong side of an eighteen-hour shift.  Then my whole life changed, because I changed it.  Things inside me had gotten as dark as the nights I worked, and I couldn’t even tell what caused me to go from keenly introspective to irresponsibly morose in that last year of double-shifting, and falling asleep in the morning, while I wore blinders to keep out my enemy, the sun.  But even so, towards the end of that year, something inside my head told me that I needed to take a walk.  Away from the job.  Away from the life.  Away from the darkness.

I needed the morning sun.

I let the sun be my alarm clock, my thermostat, and my constant companion as I went from nightcrawler to daywalker.  It took months, but it worked.  The brightness of summer burned the long night of winter away, and eventually, for the first time in years, I felt like a human being again.

And then, it got dark again.  Not inside me, but on the outside.  When daylight backed away like the ocean at low tide.  It got dark again with the changing of the seasons from summer to fall, and with the thick morning clouds that blocked the sunrise from waking me, healing me, with each new day. 

But this time, before the darkness on the outside found its way in, I noticed.  Let’s hear it for keenly introspective, because irresponsibly morose really sucks ass.

Last night, I slept hard.  This morning, I woke up looking for the light, and I found it again.  And now that I know what I’m looking for, I’ll make sure that it finds me.

So I won’t miss the morning sun.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Touch

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It’s not

a matter of

how little

or how much,

but only

of how well

we touch.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

It’s Not About You

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I don’t stockpile blog posts.  I’m not in any way a prolific blogger.  I used to wish I was like that; the Stephen King of blogging, grinding out page after page on any subject that popped into, or fell out of, my head.  And for a short time, about ten years ago, I was heading in that direction, writing online. 

Until a nasty bout of what I thought was writer’s block overtook me, and for the next few months I went from writing a feature column for a website to being an itinerant poet. 

I’ve told the story before, so that’s why the short version this time.  But there is a part I’ve never told, in print or in person, to anyone.

I started writing poetry for the same reason people vaguebook, or subtweet, before there were such things as vaguebooking and subtweeting.  I started writing poetry because all the things I ever wanted to say to others required honesty.  Feature-length, name the names, feel the feels, full disclosure honesty.  And I wasn’t ready for that kind of honesty ten years ago.  Just like I wasn’t ready for it five years ago, or two, or even more recently than that.

Poetry, and I just figured this out last week… I know, late to my own party, again… became a way of purging shit, real, honest shit, without ever having to confront another human being over that shit.  See, I hate confrontation. 

ALL CAPS HATE.

Of course I know what some of you are thinking, “How can a guy who writes the things you write NOT be confrontational?”  And my marginally confrontational answer is, “Have you not read my writing?”  See, I’m both blessed and cursed with a soul.  Not the half-in/half-out, maybe I care/maybe I don’t kind of a soul.  But the all-in/all-out/all-the-time kind of soul.  The soul that can either love you, or burn the bridge you stand on while we’re talking.  So because of that, and because this 100/100 soul can’t hold everything in ALL the time, I started purging all of it through the power of poetry. No names, vague scenarios, love you or burn the bridge you stand on, poetry.

And I am a saner man for it.

So if in the future, before you ask me, “Was that poem about me?” remember to look down and see if you’re standing on a bridge ready to be burned, and know that I probably love you, or I wouldn’t have written the poem in the first place.

And just believe me when I say,

“It’s not about you.”

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Ruby Marie and Me

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The last of the “Ruby Marie Trilogy”.

The Night Ruby Marie was Born

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This is a momentary hiccup in Nano Poblano for me.  A hiccup like the sound my almost-here grandbaby has been making on the fetal heart monitor for the last two days.  Blogging takes different paths for everyone in the month of November.  Some people have equipment failures (me… on day 2 of last year), life failures (people dropping out mid-month), and every other reason imaginable for stopping before the end of this crazy-busy month.

But I’m kind of a ‘hell or high water’ blogger.  As a poet, and most of my blog posts have been poetry, I post when I’ve got something I want to share, not because I have a self-imposed blog deadline I have to keep up with.

But in November, knowing that I’m going to post every damn day, come hell or high water, I have already resolved that nothing is going to derail this blog train. 

Nothing.

And then came Friday.

My daughter… my first born child… was told by her obstetrician that they needed to induce labor. 

That night.

And as she had already designated me as one of the two non-medical personnel in the room, I was on-call for her beautiful, blessed event, my second grandchild.

                                                          *************

And now it’s Sunday night.

My not-so little girl, after 48 hours of induced labor that still hadn’t produced a labor or a delivery, is in the Labor and Delivery O.R. as I write this.  I’m in the waiting room and her man is in the room with her.  I am sitting with a load of family.  Both sides.  And I have no idea what’s been happening in the 45 minutes since the C-Section began.

But I have time now to do more than worry and pray, and so I write… and post.

It’s a hard, strange, helpless position to be in.  Hard and strange I can handle.  Helpless, not so much.  But I have this commitment, so I’m telling you about what’s happening on this day, when my morning post became an evening post, and my full-grown baby is having this second baby of her own.

I’ve seen pretty much enough of hospitals for a while, but for my little girl, I’ll see them as much and as long as she needs me to.

Stick around, and I’ll keep you updated in the comment thread of this post, and let you know how everything went on the night that Ruby Marie was born.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Final Approach

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“Once we induce, it could be 30 minutes… it could be 3 days.”

At least that’s what the Labor and Delivery nurse said to my daughter when she was asked, “How long…?”  My baby is having a baby, her second, almost 10 years after her first.  I wasn’t in the room with her for my first grandchild, but besides the father, this time my daughter asked me.

And I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

Don’t tell the nurses, but I brought a flask of bourbon into the room this morning.  If I’m going to be here for the duration, I have to have some of the comforts of home here with me, right?  Almost 10 years ago, when I was still becoming who I am today, I wouldn’t have had the balls to bring a flask into L&D.  I also wouldn’t have had the balls to write a blog post at the foot of my daughter’s bed while she was beginning to have the contractions that will bring another granddaughter into the world. 

But I’m not that man anymore.

This time around, it seems, everything is different.  My daughter isn’t a kid anymore.  Her life is as stable as any parent could’ve hoped for his child as he was raising her, imperfectly… so fucking imperfectly.

This time around, she trusts me.  And that’s all a dad can hope for from his kid.  Because after all the work and worry of parenting a first-born child… your ‘experimental child’… is done, all that’s left is that she, maybe, loves you as much as you love her.

And being in this room, in this moment, I know better than any other something could ever show me.

And in this room, at this moment now on final approach, I know I am a fortunate man.  Not because I have life figured out, or because I’ve made myself great in the eyes of the world, because I haven’t.  Not even close.  I know that I am a fortunate man because, for one of the rare times since my birth, realize what love is.  I am fortunate in the time between contractions, from the tender looks between my daughter and her man.  In the sound of the fetal heart monitor, filling the room with the presence of new life.  And I am fortunate in the flow of conversation between my daughter and me, which finds its place in the gaps of all that’s happening in this room where Ruby will take her first breaths.  In the randomness of bad jokes, and doing whatever it is my baby girl asks of me. 

This is where my life finds some semblance of completion.  This is where everything, good or bad, from the day of her birth till now, has led.  This is that moment where I know that nothing I have done badly is held against me, and all that matters is now, and the future is alight with promise and purpose and every good thing that could ever be.

And I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Shit Talk

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I hate to think of the shit you could talk about me.

It’s inevitable, I guess.  You have enough friends to do that.  I don’t, but that’s another matter altogether.  I’ve done you wrong, that’s obvious when you know the whole story, only that’s a story no one will ever know, unless.

Unless.  Damn.

Maybe I’ll just start here.

You’ve talked shit to me about others in the past.  It was all a part of the package, to listen and be listened to.  Neither of us judged the other for it, outwardly, at least.  Now I’m not so sure you weren’t judging me for the shit I talked, while I wasn’t judging you.  Now that I accept I am no different than the rest of the shit-talked pack.

So I’ll put an end to it, for both of us.

I won’t do shit that gets talked, not to you, anyway.  That way, the only way my shit gets talked is if it gets made up.  And you’d ever make shit up just to talk it.

Unless.  Damn.

Well, I’ll just have to take that risk.  The one you take when you give someone nothing to talk about, and the only shit left to talk is about how you give no shit. 

I guess they call that an argument from silence.

So I’ll be keeping my shit to myself from here on.  You can wonder.  You can ask.  I won’t be hiding anything from you, because that would require lying.  And although I’m a good liar, I won’t lie to you.  Because once you know I’ve lied, you’ll talk shit about it.  And you can still talk shit about others to me.  I won’t judge.  Because that’ll give you shit to talk about when I’m not sharing any of mine. 

Because I hate to think of the shit you could talk about me.

Unless.  Damn.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Analog

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I am analog.

I am a human seeking comfort in the recent world, and I have found no true comfort here.  Only the chase for what I call “the perfect less than”.  Those comforts here, for me, are hollow… or more accurately, holo, as in virtual, not actual.  You see, I learned that I can’t take my comfort in perfect bits and bytes, a little from one source, a little more from another.  I wasn’t built that way.  I am analog in a disproportionately digital world. 

I understand the concept of the holo… and the virtual satisfaction that comes with it.  Virtual in that, while the interaction between two sources, the stimulus and the response, is genuine, it is also incomplete. 

The idea of taking one satisfaction stimulus from one source, another from another source, and so on, is totally legitimate.  Just the way masturbation is said to be equally fulfilling as sex with another human being, or frozen food from the microwave is the equivalent to eating food cooked fresh with care, and served with love, to someone hungry for more than lots of salt and artificial ingredients.

If it satisfies, it satisfies.  It just no longer satisfies me.

Because I am analog.

It took a while to comprehend, but I’ve concluded that satisfying hunger from a microwave, or primal urges from a tube of jelly, isn’t for me.  Not in the long term, anyway, and not by first choice in the short term, either.  I don’t need the mix and match life of here and now gratification.  I’ve finally lived just long enough to know that I need one signal, a single source, however garbled or corrupt, however incomplete. 

And I’ve lived just long enough to know that I can embrace that kind of imperfection, because I am imperfect, too.  Just as garbled and corrupt, a single source, fighting hard to find its place along a bandwidth of other corrupt sources.  The equipment I was born with can’t adapt and assimilate to multiple inputs, however pure, however instant.  I have tried.

I am wired, not chipped, and I need my comfort whole.

Because I am hopelessly analog.

I now accept that I am unable to receive the perfect bits and bytes that will not gather for my own imperfections to embrace.  I can’t chase “the perfect less than”, the uncorrupted, here a piece, there another piece amalgam of virtual perfection to satisfy my imperfection, any more than I can separate my mind from my body, or my body from my soul.  And I won’t pretend otherwise, anymore.

Because I am analog.

Imperfectly, beautifully, analog.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

A Ghost Story

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I am a ghost. *

I, in the beginning of my time here on this plane of existence, I could not understand what it was to be invisible to the world and those living in it, as I still thought myself a part of the world that I still saw before me.  I moved, I thought, I felt everything as I did before my transformation.  Little seemed to change from one moment to the next.  I was me, and the world was the world, and neither of us looked much different as far as I could tell.  But it was different.  I was different.  Because now, the world looked right through me. 

Because I am a ghost.

I am a ghost.

I know I am a ghost because, after what I’m guessing – since there is no clock or calendar in my world – many years of living.  I say “living” with some caution because, of course, ghosts aren’t alive.  At least not in the way all those around me who don’t see me are alive.  But they are alive, every one of them.  I can tell by the hurry and worry they carry with themselves everywhere they go.  Constantly in motion, even when that motion seems to take them nowhere in particular.  Just circles circling other circling circles, always in a rush to go everywhere, but never seeming to go anywhere.  Except that none of these concentric living circles ever seem to circle me.

Because I am a ghost.

I am a ghost.

I know I am a ghost because of something I saw in a movie once when I was still alive.  Those who still move in circles can hear me.  They hear the same sounds I hear when I make when I choose to make them.  They hear the groan, the belch, the occasional fart – although I don’t know where the belch and the fart come from, because as I learned from the same movie, ghosts don’t belch or fart – and also from the moving of objects that are, in my ghostly existence, important to me. 

I guess, because that’s what the movie taught me, that objects which were important to me in my previous life are still important to me in this life as well.  It makes me question my previous life’s life-choices as to why I didn’t place more importance on a nice car, or maybe a big house, or even on better clothes, because the only things that must have been important to me in that other life seem to be a raggedy overcoat, the morning newspaper, and a shopping cart that wobbles at the wheels and scrapes at the pavement as I walk.  Seriously, if I could give just one word of advice to those still living – but I can’t, because to my knowledge, none of them has ever heard a word I have said – it would be to acquire nice things for yourself in life, because one day you might be a ghost and need them. 

Yeah, the things you learn the hard way. 

Because you are a ghost.

I am a ghost.

I know I am a ghost because, after a lifetime of seeing no need at all for god or the church, I live behind a church, on the edge of a graveyard – how ironic on so many levels, being a ghost because… graveyard, and an atheist ghost because… church – but they let me stay as the church folk look right through me like the rest of the living do.  Oh, and they allow me to eat left-overs from the shiny dumpster next to the boarded-up back door.  I even sleep behind it when the wind blows extra cold some nights, and my overflowing morning newspapers can’t seem to keep the wind out of my ghost-self bones. 

Like on this night.

Because that’s what ghosts do.

And I am a ghost.   

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

 

*A Ghost Story first appeared on Day 30 of “31 Nightmares” at Card Castles in the Sky.  Thank you to the nice folks there.

 

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