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Archive for the tag “writing”

Please May I Have a Coma?

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“Please, may I have a coma?”

 I said that in a conversation with a friend the other day.  There was no correlation to any one thing I remember talking about.  It was just a stand-alone thought.  This sort of thing happens often with me, seeming, usually, completely disconnected from whatever train of thought or flow of conversation I’m having in that moment.  Most people, even those closest to me, miss it.  That instant when my consciousness gets invaded by my subconscious, and my Freudian Slip starts to show.

I used to miss it, too.

But a lot has happened over the last year so that, on this day, I didn’t miss it at all.

I, and most of my nearest and dearest, have had a hard year.  I can’t explain why.  Okay, maybe?  The same way people try and explain how a half-a-dozen women, in regular near-proximity to each other, seemingly sync their periods.  Or how, when you buy a make and model of car you never really gave much thought to, and then it seems like that same car is on every street, and in every parking lot, everywhere you go. 

The collective unconscious, manifested.

And no, I don’t believe for one minute that, like periods or late-model cars, any of my friends and I wanted our collective shits to happen, but maybe there’s something equally invisible going on that drew us all together before, so that we could be here for each other in the during, and rejoice with each other in the after.  Because that’s why human beings have friends. 

“Please, may I have a coma?”

Now that the end of another November is here, and with it, the end of another National Blog Posting Month, I think it’s time for a re-examination.  Priorities that held this priory together last month, last year, last life, no longer belong in my life.  Things that once felt important, no longer feel that way.  And I’m educated guessing that the same is being said by many of my friends.  But human beings are nothing if not creatures of habit.  One of those habits is holding onto to things we’ve outgrown, or that have outgrown us.  I don’t know what you’ve outgrown but, like a closet full of last decade’s fashion disasters and fat pants, for me, it’s time to make room for something new, or maybe for nothing new at all, but only for what’s most important. 

Because a closet full of winter coats does you no good if you live the rest of your life in the sunshine.

“Please, may I have a coma?”

Okay, but only for a little while.  It’s time to empty out my storage, give away what I won’t be needing, and decide where the sun shines brightest for me.  But don’t worry.  You’re ALL my friends.  And I’ll leave breadcrumbs on the trail, wherever it is I go. 

Thank you for reading my words these last 30 days.  And thank you for allowing me to spend it reading yours.

Till then. 

 

Always,

Bill

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

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Black Friday

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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

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

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

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.

 

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

31 Nightmares… day 30

Hey everyone!  This is NOT the usual post you see here from me, but an invitation to click yourself over to Card Castles in the Sky and read my brand new short-short tale, “A Ghost Story”.  It’s day 30 of “31 Nightmares”, Card Castles’ annual Halloween story month.  

No comments here, so go on over and read, comment, and make yourself at home!

See you there!

Rollercoaster

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Love is a rollercoaster. 

It wasn’t made to go in a

straight line,

and the turns are unexpected. 

Sometimes as you ride,

you can’t breathe,

and you feel like

your bones will break,

and at the worst moments,

you don’t even believe the lap bar

will keep you safe. 

But there is the hand of the one riding next to you. 

Squeezing your hand so tight

you think your fingers will pop,

yet you never want them to ever let go. 

Because it’s in that hand that

you feel the only safety there is. 

Not the safety of the lap bar,

but the safety of love. 

Flying, falling, twisting without warning. 

And with it,

the unbroken knowing that

as they are squeezing your hand,

you are squeezing theirs. 

Neither of you with any

plans for letting go.

 

© 2017 William S. Friday

Circus

circus

I would

run away from home

to join

your circus.

 

© 2017 William S. Friday

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