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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

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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.

 

The Night

I forgot what it was like. 

The Night 

The road. 

The hours. 

Everything is loud again. 

Nothing is beautiful, 

like I had convinced myself it was, 

once. 

I already miss the days, 

and have vowed this will end soon. 

Either for something else, 

or somewhere. 

I will say goodbye, 

and for the first time, 

mean it. 


© 2017 William S. Friday 

Something

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I don’t know what to write about today.  It’s not like something doesn’t always come to me.  Something always does.  In words, and in life, something always comes to me.  Once, for an entire year, I had writer’s block.  Then poetry came to me.  Once, for thirty years, I had security.  Then clarity came to me.  Once, for three-hundred days, give or take, I had darkness.  And then came the sanity.

Something always comes to me.

A few months ago, on the advice of others, I began to journal.  Besides that it sounds strange when you turn a noun into a verb like that, one thing the act of journaling taught me was that if you have feelings, you have thoughts.  If you have thoughts, you have words.  And if you have words, you have actions.  And actions are the only way feelings become changes. 

I’m a different person than the one who emerged from the three-hundred days of darkness that kicked off during NaBloPoMo 2016.  Most people won’t know how different, if different at all.  You would’ve needed to know me in the before, and I mean really know me, to see.  And almost no one really knows me.  But for those who don’t, maybe the only way is to read what I wrote a year ago November.  I mean, you can… I won’t.  I lived it, and that’s enough for me.  I will say one thing about it, here.  After I wrote it and bottled it all up in a saved file on my computer, I let it out again after the darkness had passed.  I handed it to someone who really knows me. 

And they are turning it into a book.  A book that I’ll read, I hope, along with you.  The book is called, “That Year I Died… and kept on living anyway”.  It’ll be out early next year, because something always comes to me.  Poetry.  Clarity.  Sanity.

Something.

 

© 2017 William S. Friday

Saving Daylight

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The clock on the wall is so loud in the dark.  Three-forty-one a.m.  Saving daylight is over.  This is the real time now.  I tried to sleep, really, I tried.  Sometime after four, I gave up and made coffee.  As the world around me slept, I drank myself awake.

Sitting up, after the coffee was in me, in my writing chair with the laptop open, the noises of the new day have leveled.  The clock isn’t banging against my ears like before.  I hear a motorcycle power down the freeway, two miles in the distance.  And through my window, the sun is making the horizon turn every color of silent grey. 

I know that, in another few hours or so, I’ll regret waking up like this, on the day when I’m supposed to reclaim an hour’s sleep from the powers that be.  But for a few minutes more, until the sky is blue and the world is made of noise again, I’ll sit, I’ll wait, and I’ll listen to whatever this morning says to me.     

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

The Wish

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“I wish you had…”

That’s how it starts.  When someone you thought believed in you opens a new window in the conversation with the same line all the others have used, when you finally came to realize you would always let them down.

“I wish you had…”

They try and catch themselves, before the next line of words fall out.  Before you hear what they, secretly until now, think of you.  But they can’t.  The words they, until now, had not let slip, must’ve been building up pressure inside them for a long time, because they look… surprised…? that you could hear what they had not said for so long.

“I wish you had…”

It doesn’t matter how they finish that sentence.  How the next words will be for your benefit.  What their motivation must be, because they only want what’s best for you.  Because when you hear those words you know, from experience, you’ve lost them.  Whatever they have, or do, or will, mean to you in the past, the present, or the future, changed.  It’s no longer how unique you believed you were to them, it’s how the same you are.  The same as all the rest whose expectations you never quite lived up to.  All the rest who, eventually, could not hold back the words that lived in their heart, saved up just for you, no longer able to hide the disappointment in who or what you aren’t.

“I wish you had…”

And as they fill in the blank, you check out.  Not out of the conversation, but out of their life.  Because you know how this story ends.  With the same wish that, every time before, when you wished it, didn’t come true.  When you, reflexively, think of them,

“I wish you hadn’t…”

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Living the Life

Day 3 of Nano Poblano, and the idea of a morning teleconference with authors was made just a little better with a proper writing prompt. 

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