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Archive for the tag “writing”

The Theory of Tears

tears

Tears don’t scare me. 

I know people hate them,

in themselves and in others,

depending on just how manipulated

tears make them feel. 

Manipulated,

not by the tears,

but for the reasons they flow. 

There is a theory of tears,

known only by a few. 

Not by the ones who cry,

but by the ones who hold it in. 

They have learned

all the reasons for them,

and choose not to give them away. 

Unmanipulated,

and unmanipulating. 

They hold onto the tears

as tightly as they do the theory. 

Tears don’t scare me,

they say,

as long as I don’t have to see them.

At least that’s what their theory says. 

But the truth about

the theory of tears is this;

that tears are only scary

on the inside.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Starting and Starting Over

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Starting, and starting over, is not the same thing.  They are as different as walking forward, and walking forward, backwards.  Not as clearly different as starting and stopping.  If it was, then you would have no trouble telling them apart.  But make no mistake; people do have trouble telling them apart.

Starting is that thing we do at the beginning of some something we have not done.  Starting over is that thing we do when some something stops us, but just long enough for us to think that maybe we have not really stopped at all.

It is understandable when those who have never really started a something, and seen it to its end, don’t know.  Most books don’t teach it, and most folks have never lived it.  It’s a mystery, on the lines of accepted but incomprehensible things like the laws of gravity, and thermodynamics.  But whether or not someone knows what those names are names for, ask them if a satellite or even a shooting star could fall to earth, and they nod and say, of course those things are true.

And this is where I say that, because those laws say that a body in motion tends to stay in motion, and a body at rest tends to stay at rest, the very same thing can be equally true about the path of a human life, lived in this human world, often at the mercy of the most human of circumstances.

Speed bumps are formed.  Detours are made.  Shit happens.  And sometimes, those obstacles stop the beautiful movement of a body in motion, until it becomes a body at unintended rest.

Have you ever tried to give a falling star a shove to get it back on its course through the heavens?  It’s not as easy as it sounds.  In fact, it’s damn fucking impossible.  Yet when a very human body, with all its complexities of motion and emotion, loses its path through the glory of this world, it is no more easily shoved back on course than the star that fell from the sky.

But we still ask of those who lost all their momentum, sometimes well-intentioned, sometimes with a critical intent, why can’t you just start over?

Maybe it’s in the way they’re walking.  And maybe you’ve been fooled, because you haven’t noticed that they’re walking forward, backwards.  And maybe in walking backwards, they are slowed by looking at the past that was; their past, lost to the speed bumps, the detours, and the shit of something that no longer is, and not the new that waits behind their back, right over their shoulder.  Not in starting over, but in turning around and starting brand new.

So in the same way you would look into the night sky and at the stars within it, look closely at the shining stars before you, and understand.  Because starting over is never easy, and they are doing the best that they can.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

If a Tree Falls

tree falls png

I have never been a successful writer.  I’ve never won a single award for writing.  I’ve never been a best-seller on any list, anywhere.  I have fewer than a thousand followers of my blog.  I don’t drive dollars, pageviews, or likes.  My words have never been found on a shelf in any library.  As writers go, I have not been quoted in another book; I’ve not spoken at a conference, or given a talk that was recorded for play on anyone’s YouTube channel.

If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone know I’m a writer?

I once asked someone who knows me well, “What if I just stopped writing?”  They answered, “Better chance of you becoming a woman.”  Okay, if that’s true, what prompted me to ask that question?  Then I remembered I also once asked this person, “Can’t I just be a posthumous success?” 

And no, I didn’t like their answer to that question, either.

Pausing as I write this, I remind myself that only 20 to 30 people will ever read these words.  But I’m still writing them.  I just don’t know why.  I’m hoping that one day, before I stop for good, I will.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Like a Grocery Store Trout

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Sometimes, we are handed a life.  Cleaned and cold, gutted, like a grocery store trout, bones in, with all the skin and scales still attached, knowing nothing of the frying pan, and hoping only to avoid the fire beneath.

This is how I think most of us exist.  Unaware of our surroundings, except what directly affects us, and that, only if we ever are in actual contact, and hopefully with the right combination of tastes and smells that allow all to forget that we, in the big picture, are really nothing more than the stink of low tide and death.

Pick a metaphor.  Sardines in a can.  Lemmings on a cliff.  The people of Soylent Green.  Fast forwarding our way to an inglorious end, unaware, for the most part, what we are speeding toward.  That end always in sight if we only think to look.

This was me, until it wasn’t anymore.

I work a job that, in the couple hundred times I’ve tried explaining it to folks over nearly a decade, defies description.  And it’s not even the job description that defies it.  It’s not the job of Freight Runner, Certified Forklift Operator, Warehouse Night Manager, Inventory Control Specialist, Bookkeeper, and Small Parcel Courier that confuses people, it’s how the job gets paid.

The bottom of bottom lines is, I am not an employee.  I am a contractor.  This means there is no salary, no hourly wage, no insurance and paid time off.  There is only the job, or NO job.  Pay, or NO pay.  Don’t come in?  Don’t come back.  Every day for the last 8 years, 8 months, 13 days, 23 hours, and a handful of minutes and seconds, I haven’t taken a day off that didn’t cost me in docked pay.  That includes two major surgeries, bookended weekdays around weekend getaways, sick days, dentist appointments, family birthdays, national holidays, you name it. 

If I took it, I ate that day’s pay.

This also includes regularly adding duties to the job description at no additional compensation, four double-shifts per week at one flat rate, hours worked for free one night a week, as well as… now THIS is where it gets interesting… back pay stolen by the third party job broker who held my contract with the warehouse, and finally, intermittent pay cuts, just to be allowed to keep my job.  All that, and however many hours I find between the cracks to write and publish two books, and maybe mix in a nap.  Then today, one more demand for me to spend another $500 for additional licensing and commercial insuring, just to keep my job.  As I write this, I have less than three weeks until I pay, or get out.

Sometimes, we are handed a life.  Cleaned and cold, gutted, like a grocery store trout, bones in, with all the skin and scales still attached, living in the false comfort of the frying pan, and hoping only to avoid the terror of the fire beneath.

On this day, I see the frying pan for what it is, and no longer fear the fire.

Today, I decided to get out.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

End of Shift

end-of-shift-pic

Counting down the minutes till

the end of shift

is a lot like counting down the

minutes till

the end of life. 

Except you know where you’re going

when your shift ends,

and how to get there. 

You’ve planned for it. 

You even have things

waiting for you for

when you arrive,

like macaroni and cheese

and a cold beer. 

Unlike the end of your life,

when you hope there’s

a nice place for you to settle into,

that the fridge is stocked with

all your favorite things,

and that the

building management isn’t blasting

‘70s pop songs from

the speakers in the elevator

headed for the basement,

where you know the air conditioning is

sketchy at best.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

The Gift of Universe Song

the-gift-of-universe-song

Give no love to the poet. 

This frail,

flaming human,

is not the gift of

universe song,

sent to rain life down on

all who thirst. 

Nor the giver,

that he might interpret. 

Flawed,

the object of the

world’s affection,

nothing more than a

splintered leaking bucket in

the rain-eternal. 

Well-placed in

time and space

to hold for a moment,

that which all

who thirst,

find. 

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

The Accidental Prophet

the-prophet-chuck

“A wish is not a goal, and hope is not a plan.”

I have a friend, a very close friend, who says that whenever I speak of the future, I already know what’s going to happen.  One year.  Five years.  Ten.  Every step and every stage, all mapped out, in my head and then, into words.  Thoughtful.  Methodical.  Concise.

Except I swear that, every time it happens, I have no conscious idea that what I’ve just said is, in fact, a plan.

So unbelieving am I that, after my friend who hears recites my future future back to me, I am left scrunch-faced, my head shaking, saying, “What are you talking about?  That wasn’t a plan, that was just wishful thinking.”  And yet, in the two years of our friendship, apparently, I’ve never been wrong. 

And it pisses me off every time.

It would seem that I hate being right.

If I were to put it in terms that I could understand, I would call myself, “The Accidental Prophet”. 

Over the last year alone, I called my shot about creating a job out of two other jobs so that I would have all the time in the world to sit undisturbed and, on company time, with the boss’ blessing, write another book.  That happened.  Before that, I called my shot about taking ten years of chicken-scratched poems, and publishing a first book.  That happened, too.  Somewhere in between the first book and the job, I said something about creating a publishing company and, yeah… yeah… whatever.

Now, says my friend, I’ve been saying things again.  Future kind of things.  The kind that, if you were to ask me, I wouldn’t call anything more than a few nice ideas.  A wish here, a hope there.  Just spitballing into the wind.  And if I didn’t have the big-eared friend with the over-developed sense interpreting irony in all its forms, I might dismiss these, too. 

Except now, I can’t.  Because I know better than to argue with a plan, even when I don’t know it’s a plan until comes true.

And all I can say right now is, if it’s true, 2017 is going to be a hell of a year.  And if none of it comes true, well like I said, I hate being right, so I’ll be the first to tell you I was wrong. But if by accident I was right, I’ll be writing another one of these next year. 

Complete with the “I told you so” from my friend who hears.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Depending

 

dissociative_identity_disorder

I am the one who

harms,

heals,

hinders,

holds,

hurts,

everyone he touches,

depending on who

you are to me,

and who

I am to you.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Life Gets In

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Life gets in.

It is not always beautiful, but it knows that.  It cannot be hurt by your words, but it does not stop you from speaking.  It will not be surprised by your actions, right or wrong, and it will encourage you to be stupid, or gloriously brilliant.

It is rarely fair.  It does not ask for your permission.  It goes where it is not invited, and it does not tell you why.

It blows you back, like wind off the sea in winter.  It burns you, like the desert sun on bare skin.  It falls from the sky, like rain. 

It grows under the hedges you plant to keep it out.  It bursts forth, one day like weeds, the next, like wildflowers.  It shows you its colors, and it does not judge your choices of them. 

Only the choices you do not make, after life gets in.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

You Can’t Say Bad Things about the Good Things

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Some people keep a journal.  I keep notes.  No, literally, I keep things I’ve written… short things, sometimes super short things… on my phone, in the notes app.  Things like the title of this post,

“You can’t say bad things about the good things.”

Well, you could.  But that would make you a real dick. 

At least that’s what I tell the voices in my head, when I’m mocking them.  The voices can be, and often are, real dicks.  Which is why, as I said in my previous post, I mock them.  Because, while these voices deserve to be heard, when they’re done, they deserve to be put in their place.  Most often, that place is in a roaring dumpster fire of mockery and ridicule.

But sometimes, the voices find their way into the notes.

About a third or so of the poems I’ve written for publication began in the notes.  Like I’ve told many people on multiple occasions, I write my poetry NOT on paper with a pencil or a pen, but from beginning to end on my laptop.  I have no idea why.  I just remember the first… okay, probably not the first, but the most memorable… time it happened.  A flash of really shitty emotions, and the worst burst of lying voices I ever heard, and the moment those 15 seconds of hell had passed, I opened my laptop, and wrote.

 

“Brains on the bathroom floor,

gloating

Consciousness above me,

Floating.

Despair at life,

Unlived.

Responsibility,

Relieved.

Bucket made of bone,

a sieve.

Whispers of all doubt,

believed.”

 

In the time it took me to say, “fuck you” to the lying voices, a poem was born in the place of sorrow.  And from then on, at the very moment the voices, good or bad, speak, a note gets made.  And yeah, maybe an angel gets his wings.  I’m really not completely clear on that.  But the point is, whether bad things or good, for this reason, I make a note of it.

It’s these notes, including that almost ten-year-old poem, which became a book.  Notes that are about to become a second.  And so, whether or not the beginning of these notes began as a bad thing, they turned into a very good thing.  And that was the point of all this history.  To remember the good, and make notes.  Lots of them.  Because you can’t say bad things about the good things.

Well, you could.  But that would make you a real dick.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

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