billfriday.com

fictionary… 8 megapixel artist… bloody awful poet.

Archive for the tag “blogging”

Asphalt Sky Asphalt

asphalt sky asphalt

December 22, 1975… A little before sunset.  I rode my bike, a green, Schwinn Ram’s Horn Fastback, to the Rexall to buy a roll of Scotch Tape to wrap Christmas presents with.  I took the back alley on the south side of Artesia to the light at Casimir Avenue, and saw that it was green for me to cross.  I sped through the intersection on a yellow, and as my light went red, I heard a sound… like metal, pounding into metal. 

That was the sound of the ’63 Studebaker hitting my bike as I crossed in front of it. 

I no longer knew where I was.  All I saw in the next moment was dark, then light, then dark again.  My mind picked up the story again with me wobbling to my feet about 20 yards away from the intersection where my bike now lay, twisted and useless.  Someone, I don’t remember who, led me to the curb to sit as I heard the police siren in the distance.  What felt like seconds must’ve been minutes.  Adults were everywhere.  A woman, the driver of the car that turned my bike into scrap, came over to where I was sitting.  Confused as I was, I could still tell she was scared shitless.  I mean, she did almost kill a kid, on a bike in a crosswalk, trying to beat a line of cars into traffic before her light turned green.  She could have tried to make a break for it, but westbound Artesia at 5 o’clock was bumper-to-bumper, even in 1975.

The cop who showed up a minute later drove me, and my green wreck, the few blocks from there, home, and waited with me… in the days before cell phones… for my dad to come home from work.  As I sat in our living room, it came to me what it was I saw right after the BOOM of the car and my bike. 

Dark, light, dark.

Asphalt, sky, asphalt.

A front somersault from the pedals of my bike, end over end, landing on my head more than 50 feet away.

Landing, and walking away, without a scratch on me.

Every time I watch the M. Night Shyamalan film, “Unbreakable”, and see the train wreck scene at the beginning of the movie… the one where Bruce Willis Is the only survivor, and walks away without a scratch on him, I remember that day.  Today, forty-two years to the day from when it happened to me, the movie was on TV.  And I watched.

Then I wrote this.

And after, in my journal, I wrote,

“…anyway, forty-two years ago today, I almost died.  And forty-two years later, it’s time for me to live.

Let’s close out the remains of ’17, and take ’18 like it’s a Giftwrapped Best Present EVER.  Tear the wrapping paper clean off, rip open the box, and GO!  Shouting all the way,

‘It’s exactly what I WANTED!!!’.”

2017 was a whole lot of dark, light, dark.  Asphalt, sky, asphalt.  And that makes 2018 a present. 

Giftwrapped. 

For me.

And it’s exactly what I wanted.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Advertisements

When an Empath has no Empathy

nano poblano photo 26

I undergo profound changes every November. 

Cataclysmic, visions-of-a-personal-apocalypse life changes.  It’s happened three Novembers in a row now.  Sure, it’s only a blog challenge, but I’m generally blog-challenged, being a poet and not really a blogger at all.  So when November rolls around, it seems like I’m just not allowed to ignore all the seismic emotional upheaval that something of this creative magnitude rips open for 30 days straight.

See, here’s the thing, because you knew there’d be a thing, right?  The thing is, I’m kind of an empath.  Not the ‘I shake your hand and know where you’ve buried the bodies’ kind of empath.  Just the ‘I feel things deeper than most people’ kind. 

My feelings. 

Your feelings. 

Friends’ feelings. 

Strangers’ feelings.

Hell, I even feel your dog’s feelings.

Did you ever see the movie “Species”?  The original, where the government assembled a team of previous strangers with varied skill-sets to capture and/or kill the Escaped Sexy Female Alien Hybrid, on the loose and looking to mate?  Then you remember the soft-spoken empath, played by Academy Award™ winning actor Forest Whitaker.  This version of the B-movie empath wasn’t a psychic, or in touch with the spirit world, or whatever other way B-movies portray the empath.  This version could simply feel what others around him were feeling, and tell you what those feeling meant

I liked that interpretation. 

Because at the roots, it’s the closet I’ve ever come to being introduced to mine. 

And then there’s the downside. 

The thing is, I’m kind of an empath.  Not the ‘I shake your hand and know where you’ve buried the bodies’ kind of empath.  Just the ‘I feel things deeper than most people’ kind. 

My feelings. 

Your feelings. 

Friends’ feelings. 

Strangers’ feelings.

Hell, I even feel your dog’s feelings.

Especially my feelings.

Which in the past, I could ignore for my own sanity’s sake.  But last November, after writing a super-concentrated month’s-worth of feelings, I lost the ability to bury mine.  No more clearly-marked boxes for emotions.  No more handy compartments for feelings to go.  No more mindless default ways to ignore them.  They were, for the first time, all on the same great big plate like a 64-box of crayons melted together in a microwave oven, and it was a fucking mess. 

My fucking mess. 

And I had to choose my path before it killed me.

The title of this post is, “When an Empath has no Empathy”.  It comes from a random thought that popped into my empath head a couple of days ago, about someone from my past, equally gifted with the ability to ‘feel all the feels’ like I do.  A random thought that goes, “What if you were an empath with no empathy?  Wouldn’t that just make you a sociopath?” 

And after reading everything… okay, a few things on Reddit… my non-clinical, non-scientific answer is, “Yeah… I think it would.”

But is that how I want to live the rest of my life?  Just surviving like a spiritual grifter, living off the feelings of others instead of feeling all the feels and helping those who need whatever it is I can do with all the messed up feelings.

My feelings. 

Your feelings. 

Friends’ feelings. 

Strangers’ feelings.

Hell, I even feel your dog’s feelings.

Especially my feelings.

So this November, I was left with a choice.  Do I want to spend the rest of my life finding new ways to shut off all the feelings and face the consequences of knowing and not caring?  Or do I stay on the path, as I suppose was originally intended, and learn how to be who I am?  Feeling, and dealing with my choices.

Like I said, I undergo profound changes every November.

And I can’t wait until December.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Black Friday

nano poblano photo 24

I don’t go near Black Friday anymore. 

The last time was in ’08,

or maybe ’09. 

I left the headlights on while I shopped,

didn’t have Triple-A,

and had to find a tow that would take cash.

 

Today, I don’t have cash.

 

But that’s okay,

because I got Black Friday out of my system. 

After the split. 

Before the long hours to pay for what I needed to dig out. 

For what I still need to dig out.

 

Today, I don’t have cash.

 

I’m still tying off the loose ends of my life. 

I’ll see the grandbabies for lunch,

kiss them,

and pretend that everything is good. 

My own little girl will look me in the eyes,

and my eyes won’t lie to hers.

 

Today, I don’t need cash.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Even If I’m out of Time

nano poblano photo 22 png

This is a throw-away post. 

It was bound to happen sometime this month.  I just didn’t expect it to happen like this.  To be brief, my computer and my phone are working.  I still have the internet, and I’ve been good physically.  I haven’t run out of ideas, and I haven’t run out of words, either.

What I’m out of is money.

And because I’m out of money, I am also out of time.  I’m out of time to sit and contemplate what to write over the last week-and-change of National Blog Posting Month.  I’ve been busy chasing the money necessary to keep the creditors at arm’s length while I complete my comeback from the work-related depression that forced me to quit my job last June.  Yesterday, I sold my pickup truck to the highest retail bidder.  Sold it for a couple grand less than it was worth, just to get the cash.  The cash that won’t be in my hands until after some bills go to collection. 

I’m not bitching about life.  On the whole, life has been pretty good to me.  For now, just not THIS part of life.  I’ve been told, repeatedly, that life… God, the Universe, whatever floats your philosophical boat… takes care of me.  But today, I can’t say I know that.  Because today, I’m writing a post saying that I could be living in a twenty-year-old Dodge in a couple of weeks.

And the downside to all of this distraction is, I’ve got no time to sit and contemplate what to write.  Not what to write for myself, because I do that every day, but what to write for you.  Because some of you read me every day. 

And I don’t want to let you down.

So for the rest of National Blog Posting Month, I’ll keep trying and meet you here, every day.

Even if I’m out of time.     

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Long Beach my Long Beach

A post, in pictures, of my adopted home.

Long Beach, California.

nano poblano photo 21 1p

PALM TREES HOLDING UP CLOUDS… Pacific Coast Highway near 2nd Street.

nano poblano photo 21 2p

HALLOWEEN MOON… Redondo Avenue near 20th Street.

nano poblano photo 21 3p

CITY LIGHTS – LONG BEACH TO DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES… Signal Hill.

nano poblano photo 21 4p

BACK ALLEY… 4th Street near Cherry Avenue.

nano poblano photo 21 5p

THE PHOTOGRAPHER… Home.

 

 All photographs © Copyright 2017 William S. Friday 

 

For as Long as I Remember

nano poblano 19

I got burned

for getting

too close to fires,

but I won’t end up

one of those

sad-ass liars. 

 

I’ve been a sucker

for as long

as I remember,

I’ll be a motherfucker

before the

first of December. 

 

Because only

two things happen

when you’re unguarded. 

You’re either loved

or you’re

brokenhearted.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

This is Really My Life

 

nano poblano 18

Saturday 11/18/17

 

On the day someone takes my truck off my hands…

…some Pablo Neruda.
 

“That’s how I am,” I’ll say, leaving this pretext in writing: “This is really my life.”

-From “Those Lives”                                                     
 (Five Decades. P. 287)

 
Let’s get the best offer, by day’s end, and take it. In trucks for sale, as in everything else, this is existence.  Choices and choosing.  “Make me an offer, already!  I got shit to do, what with the living and the dying and all that.”

What with the living and the dying.

This is really my life.

#LG

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Spanish Ladies

nano poblano photo 17 png

“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

Affective

nano poblano photo 16 png

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

nano poblano photo 15

It’s not

a matter of

how little

or how much,

but only

of how well

we touch.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: