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And If a Hundred

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It’s not about who you want to love.  Love is very much like lust in that way.  If you could fuck a hundred, you could love a hundred.  And if a hundred fucks, or a hundred loves, there must be a hundred reasons to love the one of them who could love you.

Will she keep you honest when you’re having that asshole moment, when you don’t yet know how stupid you are in those thirty seconds between your idiot words and when you speak the words that tell her you’re sorry?  And for those thirty seconds, will she still keep her hand on your cock, and look you straight in the eyes, waiting, because her love for you will not wane, even when it hurts her soul?  And more important than that, will she tell you, right then, in that moment?  Because you’re a fool sometimes, and you don’t want her to just get over it, you want her to share her disappointment or sadness or grief, even if, especially if, you are the one who caused it.  Because that’s the only way you will learn how to love. 

Because only the insanity should be temporary.

It’s not about who you want to love.  It’s about who wants to love you.  And if a hundred fucks, or one.  A hundred loves, or one.  A hundred reasons, or one.  

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

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No Lie

 

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One thing you learn as a writer, if you tell yourself the truth, is that writers are really good liars.  And I am a really good writer.

No lie.

I’ve been moved into the new place for a week now, and I don’t think I can handle it.  I know what all my online posts looked like after I got here.  All Zen and peaceful, with a nod toward some kind of “I found myself” vibe since I arrived.  As I write this, there’s a soft breeze coming through my windows with the approach of sunset.  I can see Long Beach airport in the not too far off distance.  I hear birds sing in the next-door neighbor’s trees.  On the quiet street below, a man walks his dog, and the two of them move over the fresh asphalt as if they were walking on green grass in a park.  Idyllic is the first word that comes to my mind. 

Idyllic, if you’re raising kids, or retired, or a lot of other things that I am not.

Idyllic.  And I fucking hate it.

Maybe because, for the first time since I turned my life over, originally to the chaos of separation and estrangement, then to the disillusion of love found and lost, and finally to the desperation of intention and the desire for something more, all that’s left for me to feel is nothing. 

And it turns out that is the last thing I want to feel.

I thought, with all the change I manipulated and moved myself into over the last few months, I would feel that new direction I was aching for.  Feel the purpose that comes with a best laid plan, conceived and achieved.  Feel everything coming together for the first time in the entire time I’ve been alive. 

Just… feel.

One thing you learn as a writer, if you tell yourself the truth, is that writers are really good liars.  And I am a really good writer.

No lie.

At least that’s how I feel.

 

© 2017 William S. Friday

Forty-Eight Beats Per Minute

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I woke up two hours before my alarm.  The TV was still on, but barely audible, and it wasn’t the thing that woke me.  There was a dream.  There is always a dream. 

I had three messages on my phone from three different people, still accustomed to my old hours.  I’m not up all night anymore.  I’m just as likely now to fall asleep watching a movie before I know I’m even sleepy, and be up before the sunrise, before my brain knows what time it really is.

The only thing that is the same in my very different life is the coffee.  Except now, that first cup, and the time it takes to consume it, is as sacred as the silence that surrounds me as I drink.  Now, the only sounds that keep company with me are the clock on the wall behind my head, my nearly silent breathing, and, if I’m truly still, the slow beating of my heart.         

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Ghost Town

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Today I moved into a ghost town, where the past and the future live in perpetual now.  Leaving behind all my worldly possessions, except my bed, where all my senses are aware, in dreams. 

In this ghost town, there is everything you need.  There is silence and solace, ignorance and inquiry.  And time, because in a ghost town, time is as plentiful as weeds in eternal sunshine.

There is no fear in my ghost town.  The neighbors, because they are good ghosts, welcome you.  But slowly, as they know that you, like themselves, came here with the echoes of the noises of your old life in your head, and that is scary enough for now.

So today, I live in a ghost town, where life and death aren’t the law, only acceptance.  This is the place I always belonged, where hope and love keep the peace, and the ghosts of the past shake hands every day, because they have made peace with each other.

And they wait to shake hands with you.  Wait, until you are one of them.    

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Coffee and Mid-Afternoon Panic

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I think I’ve seen the world as it will be, but that might have been a mistake. 

The voices, real and imagined, pretty much all said do it. 

But I can count on the fingers of one amputated hand how many times the voices, real and imagined, have been right. 

I lived a lifetime of failure within structure, and now that’s gone, replaced by an endless freedom to fail. 

Quiet times are the worst, when the voices, all of them imagined but one, my own, come. 

Louder times, spent in the company of people or amusements, I think of as distractions. 

And both come with a feeling, a gnawing, like the scraping of a stone tool against my bones.

And in the wake of all this, come the times when I tell myself I will create worlds, unimagined. 

When I limit my distractions to coffee and mid-afternoon panic, and I shut off the world, all of it, the voices included. 

And I tell myself, only I, that everything will be as I’ve seen it.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Wishes to Ashes

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History becomes remembrance when you leave the past behind. 

Even the bad that could never be turned into good, becomes its best version of sepia and gold nostalgia, while that which was truly good and green, and can never be recaptured, becomes a dagger in your faint-beating, grey-fringed heart.

Playful turns to wistful. 

Wishes to ashes. 

Until, long forgotten by next-of, next-of kin, in the collective mind of the cosmos, it is held as it was on the day of its formation, new in all minds, as it once was in one. 

Fresh as infancy, and with the hope of forever, eternal.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Good Intentions

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Life is a fucked up bitch,

playing give-and-take

with your good intentions. 

The problem with this is,

you were never one to take

Life at face value. 

The problem with this is,

you loved Life. 

You spent each day

dying for more from this Life,

and the moment you set in your secret heart

the plans for how you and Life

would spend your remaining years together,

you learned that

all your good intentions meant nothing. 

In Life’s eyes,

your dreams weren’t real.  

In Life’s eyes,

your dreams were yours alone. 

You aren’t special,

and you never were. 

Life saw you as a dalliance. 

And as you let this Life go,

and look the next,

all there is left to do is

curse the days of your youth,

and with one last dream,

and good intentions,  

dream you had been raised

not to care.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

I’m Really Gone

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I’m really gone.

Okay, technically, after I leave in the dawn’s early light of this Friday morning, I will still have six-and-a-half hours left to go.  But in a very real sense, the job I’ve worked for three weeks short of nine years is over.

I’m really gone.

So on this last night of a seemingly endless run of thirteen-hour shifts, I said goodbye to some people I work with, in this, and other states.  Officially trained my replacement for a few whole hours (I hope THAT works out for all concerned next week when I’m no longer here).  And I wrote this, to remind myself that…

I’m really gone.

To remind myself, because at a time of night when most decent folks have been asleep for hours, I had a revelatory burst of zero-dark-thirty energy.  Not the “Mrs. Howell on radioactive sugar beets” energy (by all means, find it on YouTube), but the “I just realized how much actual time I’m getting back in my life to do all the things I could only do in my non-existent spare time” energy which, when harnessed, creates its own CERN-level epiphany that years of sleep deprivation and exhaustion can’t touch.

So, though you’ve all seen me around the blogospheric interwebz for a while now, you’re going to be seeing more of me.  Call this your pre-dawn heads-up for all things Bill Friday.  The kind of heads-up where I tell you that when one life ends, another life can begin.  A life where you really can do all the things.  A life where you figure out what works, and do it.  A life where you figure out what doesn’t work, and you try like hell not to do it again.  A life where even the old things feel new again, because this is the exact, right time for all of them to finally happen.  Just like you always wanted them to, but you always ran ahead of God, or the universe, or your own shoelaces, and you tripped and fell every time. 

Until now.

Because now, I’m really gone.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

On This Day

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My dad gets a flag

on this day,

even if I’m not there

to plant it.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Movies, Monkeys, and the Music in my Head

 

28 days later

There’s music playing in my head right now.  Not the kind you’d expect.  Not the Sirius XM playlist kind of music that some invisible algorithm picks for you from somewhere in the black bowels of your emo soul.

It’s something more insidious.

When I was 20, I had a job in retail, selling wallpaper and other equally inane home decor products for a nationally known chain of stores owned by an international breakfast cereal conglomerate.  And no, I could not make that shit up if I sat down hard and tried.  Anyway, this nationally known chain of stores, owned by an international breakfast cereal conglomerate did not play well-known music over the ceiling speakers for the customer’s in-store pleasure.  What they played was a six-hour, continuously looped, instrumental audio tape of songs, scientifically created… or so we were told in training… to stimulate the shopper’s brain in such a way as to create in them “an innate desire to purchase” on a purely subconscious level.

Such was the weird science of the early 1980s.

Whether or not these musical cues actually stimulated our customer’s amygdaloidal behavior to the tune of windfall profits was unclear to me then, just as it is to me now.  But what I can recall clearly was how we just-above-minimum wage employees responded to being in the presence of these sounds, day in-day out, for however long each of us worked there.

Did you ever see the film 28 Days Later?  Yes?  Good.  That’ll make this explanation easier.  Remember the opening scene, where the eco-activists broke into the animal testing laboratory to free the captive primates from their cages, but found out, too late, that these primates had been infected with some chemical cocktail “rage virus” while being subjected to image after television image of non-stop human-on-human violence?  Remember what these primates then did to their liberators?  And remember what would become of the world only 28 short days later?

Yeah, I wonder what all that listening to shopper stimulation music ultimately did to those of us who worked for that nationally known chain of stores owned by an international breakfast cereal conglomerate in 1981.

Oh yeah, my actual point.

Remember when I said there’s music playing in my head right now?

I’m not so sure it’s a coincidence I thought of that music while sitting alone in a warehouse and wondering, is it really only two weeks…okay, 14 days, 22 hours, and 19 minutes… till I’m free from this 20,000 square foot chimpanzee enclosure?  And when I’m free, will I react like an adorable rage monkey?  Because, you know, writers can be pretty adorable when they’re raging.  Or will I act like Jim, the smooth-skinned, human in the story, who when awakened from a coma, must face an entire world now completely changed from the one he knew before.

Metaphorically speaking, and if you read me, you know, I’ve been in a type of coma since I started working the graveyard double-shift life last year.  This awakening of sorts that’s happening in June is me, coming to grips not only with my certain past, but my uncertain future as well.  I’m unsure how it’s going to go.

But I have it on reasonably good authority that it’s going to go better for me than it did for those adorable rage monkeys in the movie.

Tick-tock.

I’m about to wake up.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

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