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Archive for the tag “peace”

Ghost Town

ghost town PNG

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

The Warehouse of Brand New Dreams

Urban Lumberjack 02

In my favorite picture of me, I look like classed-up shit.  Or maybe just shit on the outside, and class, invisible, on the inside.

Either way, it’s me.

I’m told I look skinny.  But I must make up for it in ways not seen by the naked eye.  And get your mind out of the gutter, right now.  My kids could be reading this, after I’m dead, of course.

In the thoughts that went through my mind between that last paragraph and this one, I realize how many things I’ve written that I know won’t see the light of day before I’m gone.  Things I’ve written that are so honest, they even scare me when I consider the possibility of making them public while I’m still around to reap the consequences.  And not things that are acceptable between consenting adults, but things that a lifetime of reinforcement cause me to share only with myself and the blank computer screen.

I do hint at them, in poems, mostly.  Sometimes in song lyrics that only have music playing inside my head as I write.  Regrets about the past.  Fears about the future.  And how many people I’ve hurt from there to here.  As a writer, I know it’s assumed that everything is fair game, especially those things that you’ve lived through and survived.  But most of them are an embarrassment to me, and I will probably keep them locked away for safe keeping, until I have made peace with them in this life, or am at peace in the next.

This evening, I had my daily talk with one of the drivers who come in and out of the warehouse with freight and parcels headed from point of origin to destination every day.  I’ve known him my entire time here. I was the one who spotted the heart attack he was having back in ’09 while he sat in a chair waiting for his truck to be loaded up for another run.  There’s a closeness between folks when one recognizes the looming mortality on the face of the other.  Mortality that could just as easily be your own face as his.  On this day, he was stunned when I told him that in two weeks, when I finally work my last day here, I will be leaving just three weeks short of nine years.  Nine years as, essentially, as a blue-collar temp. 

He’s been here for sixteen.

Today, we talked about all the drivers and warehousemen we’ve known, and how much each one ended up hating the work they did.  The same work he and I have done.  By the end of our conversation, he asked me if I regretted the last nine years, on the road and in the warehouse.  I told him that without those years, which seem to have passed overnight, and taken me through a lifetime’s worth of trials that, without it, I would have learned nothing, had nothing, to show for my fifty-some-odd years on this earth.  That seemingly, all the lessons I’ve learned in my life came to pass in these nine years, doing something I hated, just to survive.

And that in leaving I know, looking back, this was exactly where I needed to be to understand anything about where I’m going.

A couple of days ago, I posted something on social media that went like this,

“I used to call this place The Warehouse of Broken Dreams. No more. From this moment forward, I call it The Warehouse of Brand New Dreams.”

I’ve got two weeks to go until I step out of here and into an unknown future that these last nine years have prepared me for.

And maybe then I won’t be afraid of the all the honesty I’ve kept hidden in this life, while there’s still more life to be lived.

More to follow.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Dream Warrior

dream-warriors

“I believe in the power of bad dreams.”

          –random Facebook post by Bill Friday

 

I do. 

Believe in the power of bad dreams, that is.  Once upon a time, I believed, not only in the power of dreams, but in the possibility of their interpretation.  I believed that dreams were granted us to guide us, in the unknown places of our daily lives. 

Interpretation.  Foreknowledge.  Even déjà vu.  At some point, I was open to all of it.  Until those dreams took a turn down a really shitty street, in a bad part of sleepy town.  But then, that was right around the time my life took its own turn.

Same street.  Same part of town.

Just better lighting.

A couple of years ago, I took upon myself an expanded earnings opportunity with the company I have now been with for the last ten years.  That opportunity came in the form of some special skills that I was one of only a limited number of people in my company to possess.  This particular set of skills… and yeah, you have to say it like Liam Neeson… involved warehouses and forklifts, and drives in the middle of the night.  Or the middle of a weekend afternoon.  Or the middle of the night that goes all the way into the next afternoon, and the night following the afternoon.

In other words, I allowed myself to be counted on as an on-call delivery driver ninety-six hours a week.  As in, be available to work at a moment’s notice, any time of the day or night, for ninety-six hours a week.  With all that availability, I still wouldn’t work more than fifty or sixty of those ninety-six hours.  But the on-call nature of the job left me sleep deprived, isolated, and just plain exhausted.

Because of this, sleep was no longer a place of rest after a full day of good things.  It wasn’t respite from a long day of difficult things.  It wasn’t even a retreat from genuinely bad things.  Sleep had become the battleground of my subconscious, where things left unresolved from the day that was, or days on end that seemed to last forever, would try and fight me to the death.  The craziest, illogical scenarios would play themselves out, seemingly for hours, robbing me of the peace that sleep should give. 

And do so in the most knowingly cruel ways imaginable to me. 

As a High Priority courier, I was solely responsible for every parcel in my charge.  From dispatch to pick-up, pick-up to delivery, repeat-repeat-repeat.  100 percent of what could go wrong, and believe me EVERYTHING can go wrong, was my responsibility.  Aircraft parts for planes that sat grounded with passengers still on board, waiting to take off.  Quarter-million-dollar medical imaging equipment going to an ER with a patient overflow because of a bricked MRI machine in the trauma unit.  Harvested organs from bodies, not yet cold in the morgue, awaiting shipment on airline flights within the hour, for transplant into patients on waiting lists for a biological match.  These, and dozens of other scenarios, played out every day, often nearly 24 hours in a day, all on me to complete.

And my dreams had a way of showing me what my conscious mind was too closed for me to see.

In my dreams, I would always begin with the one thing that was my only pride in all this madness.  My control of a nearly uncontrollable situation.  When you can’t miss a flight because someone might die on a table if you do, you exert control over all things to make sure that does not happen.  Best route to and from a pick-up.  Flight schedules.  Parking at the airport.  All flight paperwork filled out perfectly.  All one form of control or another. 

In my dreams, that control was taken away from me, one scene at a time, as I dreamed of situations that seemed like I was living them in the real world, in real-time, one after another.

But in the dreams, what happened was, things would slowly unravel, one detail at a time.

Make a wrong turn.  Park in the wrong place.  Make the pick-up, but not know where I parked.  Find my vehicle, but become lost on my way to the delivery.  Become minutes, then hours late.  And finally, so often that now, it’s laughable, end up hundreds of miles from where my delivery was to go.  Until one night, in one dream, I distinctly remember when, for the first time, my “dream war” became mine to control.  On that night, in this particular dream, when all the details had gone to absolute hell, I uttered to myself from within the dream itself,

“THIS IS BULLSHIT!”

And I woke up.

It was long after that first dream victory, when talking about it with a friend, that it was explained to me just how rare the ability to “call bullshit” on your dreams is.  I know I had never experienced it, until the ninety-six-hour crisis had gone full-blown, and my mind performed an intervention on me.

And for whatever reason it came to me, this gift of calling bullshit on my dreams, it could not have come at a more perfect time.  Because I had been at war with my dreams, as I had been at war with my life, for far too long.  In that one moment, my dreams surrendered on the battleground of my mind.  There was now a truce, through which I could begin to make changes in my life, without which, I would have become a waking casualty.

I was a Dream Warrior no more.    

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

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