Poetry, Reflections

The Other…

I see you…

I see the struggle you undertake every day.

I see the smiles you fake along the way.

I see the haunted looks you hide

and the tears you haven’t cried.

I see you…

I hear you…

I hear the words you say

and the ones you’ll never speak

I hear the strength that’s gone,

your voice now tremulous and weak.

I hear you…

I feel you…

I feel your pain in the day to day

I feel the joy that slipped away.

I feel your fear that nothing will change

I feel the certainty that we’ve lost this game.

I feel you…

I know you…

I know what makes you different

I know what makes us the same.

I know where you are headed

I know because I’m going that way.

I know you…

My Other isn’t other

Any more than I’m my Self.

Interchangeable…

Unique…

Separate…

But together.

I am Me.

I am We.

I am…

Quite simply

Every thing.

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Essay, Reflections

Lie to me…?

Everybody lies…

Including me.

That being said, I have to wonder why it bothers me so much? Is it the kind of lie that gets to me, or the reason for lying? Or is it merely my pride balking at the idea that you think you’re “getting away” with something because I’m too naive or gullible to question it? I don’t know. Honestly…

I mean, there are simple “white lies,” usually meant to protect someone’s feelings. Unimportant in the larger scheme of things, or so we tell ourselves. And yet somehow they are “important” enough to justify themselves. Because not telling them would cause harm to someone. Or so we believe… (And that is quite likely the truth!)

There are “lies of omission,” when we could tell the truth, but we don’t. We imply things, tell half-truths, but shy away from telling the whole truth. And usually we do that to protect ourselves. Because we don’t want to be judged. Or because we fear the consequences of being judged.

Yeah, I could tell my boss I was late today because I was shopping online, but why bother? I told him I was going to be late, he didn’t ask why, so I gave no excuse at all. Would there have been work consequences if I told the whole truth? Probably not. But he would have thought less of me, perhaps felt disrespected because I thought shopping was more important than doing the job he hired me for. But it’s unlikely I would have faced any “real” consequences. So I left a blank slate between us; no harm done, to the relationship or my sense of integrity…

Lies of omission are good for avoiding embarrassment as well. Could my friend have told me she was headed out for a possible late night booty call with a stranger? Of course! Not my place to judge her, and there’s nothing “wrong” with her wanting such, but still… Is that something she wants to openly admit? Apparently not. Better to say she’s “going out to coffee with a friend.” That way, regardless of how it turns out, there are no awkward follow-up questions, no voicing of concerns or friendly warnings, no attempts at explaining desires, and no fear of “I told you so” if it goes poorly.

And then there are the unintended lies, those told for expediency’s sake, but never meant to be untruthful. Like my boss promising me a different job within the company. He always meant to fulfill that promise. But it’s been more than five years now, a hundred “excuses” later, and I’m no closer to that job than I was when it was first promised to me. I’ve lost my old job, and now they’re making up busy work for me to do, just to keep me around. Still not the job I’ve been waiting for.

Are lies the necessary consequence of living in community? Or is the truth enough to really set us free? I’ve not seen a lot of truth living in communal circumstances, but I have seen a lot of hurt arise from it. Even if that truth is only what I admit to myself…

People call me gullible because I so easily accept people as they present themselves. That doesn’t mean I cannot see what lies beneath the lies they tell themselves. The truth is, I accept the version of reality that someone else chooses to show or tell me because it’s not my place, usually, to correct them. We all live in a fantasy of our own creation. Who am I to spoil your delusion?

Seriously…

I have my own delusions, too. Including the one that tells me you’re lying to my face, intentionally or otherwise. Even if you aren’t. According to you…

So go ahead and lie to me. It’s what we do. It’s what we want. Even if it’s only because I want someone to blame when the truth seeps through, and reality becomes a glaring, blinding, painful thing to witness. Comfort me with an alternative fact, however absurd, so I can tell my Self that I’m ok.

It’s ok… Really.

Everybody lies, after All…

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Reflections, Uncategorized

The Endless, Timeless Now…

As I rev up the old writing machine, feeling the sluggishness of the gears, the stiffness of disuse, listening to the grinding of rusted pieces beneath the surface of things, I can’t help wondering if this exercise is as pointless as any other…? Is there any thought worth sharing here, any voice worth listening to? Is there any part of my experience today that an’Other could relate to?

And the laughter moves within, like gas bubbles in my intestines, swelling and growing, eager to be released in a fit of uncontrollable hoots and giggles… For Now has finally arrived for many of the masses – the endless, timeless Now…

Late last summer, I finally moved. Living with my daughter now and her two children, in a house we can call our own. A “dream” come true – a multi-generational living space I can call my “forever home.” It even included a chair, the one thing I’d yearned for more than any other; a place to sit on the main floor, away from my sleeping space…

At the same time, I started training my own replacement at work. The first attempt was a dismal failure, resulting in conflict, and firings, and worse. The second attempt hasn’t fared much better, though the threat lingers on, temporarily on hold while the economy shuts down…

But the changes within Me ran even deeper than that, reorganizing overnight in a profound way I could not articulate. Nor did I want to, as there seemed no point. I had nothing of value to share, and no voice volunteering to speak. I unpacked only enough to resume the daily grind, then sat back and watched my new life unwind…

Took me months to realize I wasn’t even driving the vehicle anymore, content to sit back and silently observe. Rarely engaging with any outside force, I became the Watcher of all things Me; amused, frustrated, compassionate to a point, but virtually emotionless at my core. Or perhaps dispassionate is a better choice of words. I felt things, to be sure, as deeply as I ever had, but those feelings were not sufficient to move me anymore. I watched. Things happened. I thought, briefly, casually, without embracing any causes. And more things happened, while I watched them conform…

It no longer mattered whether the thoughts created the things, or the things generated the thoughts; I was caught in a cycle of “in” mirroring “out.” And I named it off-handedly as us language people do: the endless, timeless Now. For that is exactly how it felt!

Only now, with the world on pause, and the people feeling lost, have I found a common cause to relate with you all. For so many others at home and abroad are reaching out to describe this state of Nothing-ness while Time marches on.

It is really quite peaceful when you stop trying to stir the pot and muck it up. Thoughts and feelings wash over me in waves, impersonal but moving, indistinguishable as they roll away to lose themselves in the warm seas surrounding me. An ocean ever-changing with the motion of the tides, but monotonous as far as my human eyes can see. And all I need do is think thoughts that ignite activity somewhere near me. A brief visit from another denizen of the deep, or a storm washing over its surface will shake things up for me.

No time to be bored here; no need to be scared. A simple experience of day after day. And suddenly seasons have changed, sort of anyway. (There was, after all, that snowstorm this May!). I’ve watched moon after moon cycle through, aware that Time passes without carrying me, too.

Welcome… a voice whispers. Welcome, my friends…

… to the Endless, Timeless Now that I’ve been living in.

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Reflections

I Think I’ve Been Trolled…

… but not necessarily in a good way. Lol! I mean, I’m almost always up for an enlightened discussion, but this felt like a stroll through the Twilight Zone.

I was contacted on Facebook messenger by a friend I haven’t really spoken to in years, who dropped the name of our only mutual friend to get my attention. It worked enough to get me to respond though I was quite surprised by the contact. And then it immediately went off the deep end. From links and questions about conspiracy theories to overt attempts to get me to declare my allegiances, my suspicions were aroused. I immediately asked if he was joking, though he assured me he was not. Still… so many links and stories supporting Trump and his evil cohorts, so many lies and misdirections, so many side trips down hate filled alleys… and all from a gay anti-religious male I once knew…

I had to laugh out loud. Literally…

Was I supposed to believe that I was really talking to my friend? When he refused to commit to any path or answer any question? Or am I to believe he’s still my “friend” if he is trying to entrap me as he is? From hinting at revolution to implying Trump is our savior? From promising relief from debt to threatening me about the coming changes? And when I told him I believed that we are more likely to reenact the fascist regimes of the past, with many joining in while others quietly sacrificed themselves in pursuit of something moral, the conversation stalled a bit. Until finally I asked if he was a man with moral standards and integrity or a supporter of the evil rulers? And the conversation petered out…

He would not answer that. Nor would he even respond to thoughts of an imaginary world free of predatory practices…

So, yeah… there’s that. And I think that I’ve been trolled. Question is, did I pass the test and pay my toll, so I may safely cross into another world? Or did I lose my way and play the game, and so ensure my captivity here?

Is it true that only time will tell?

Hmm…

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Reflections

Evil has won…? (Celebrating Independence Day!)

An interesting discussion occurred in my life on the 4th of July which is still haunting me. Without rehashing the endless details, I began to accept (?) that perhaps “evil” has already won, and that whatever acts of “good” still occur in the world today only serve to delay and disguise the truth…

Certainly evil has shown itself to be more powerful and far reaching than good, if only in the way that good has to be actively and consciously propped up in our thoughts and lives, while evil endures and thrives there. Need some examples? I think I can come up with a few…

I believe that few people besides Trump really wanted Trump’s parade, but no one could stop it from happening. I believe that most Americans disagree with the policies and criminal activities of the right wing extremists in this country, yet they continue to shove their disastrous ideas down our throats in spite of being a minority. Mega wealthy people are stepping forward to say, “yes, we agree we should pay more taxes,” but tax cuts for those few continue at the expense of the many. Members of the auto industry who lobbied for deregulation are now asking Trump’s cronies to back off, and are being ignored as completely as the rest of us. Hate crimes are being celebrated as political statements, and lawmakers are supporting the haters rather than the victims; an approach so overt, cruel and disgusting that even formerly biased and out of control law enforcement people are beginning to object…

But you know all this, so let’s look at something more personal…

I get together with my daughter and grandchildren every weekend. Since her work schedule changed we can only do dinner and a movie (rather than a whole day of family time), but we do it consistently, every week. Including last week when I was suffering from a mild concussion. I made my daughter drive, but I was there, and happy to be there. And once a month my daughter brings them to my work for Coloring Club, a bonus couple of hours we all look forward to.

But yesterday, Coloring Club day, my daughter cancelled because the other grandmother had tickets for the whole family to go to an amusement park. No problem, right? Except that after driving for an hour to get there, and paying the $20 parking fee, the other grandmother did not show up. Nor would she answer her phone when they tried to contact her; actually, she would answer, then immediately hang up. After waiting almost two hours, trapped in their car by a massive thunderstorm, the family left with angry parents and heartbroken children.

Now… Which memory do you suppose will take precedence in those children’s minds: that grandma Lisa showed up with a concussion last week for dinner and a movie, or that the other grandma left them sitting in a miserably hot car on a rainy day for hours with parents fighting, and never showed up? And you can spare me “the long run” scenarios, please. Because evil doesn’t require special conditions, attitudes, or allowances to be memorable; it simply takes over one’s entire consciousness.

And which parent do you suppose will have the greatest impact on these young ones? The mother who sacrifices time, energy, principles and common sense to try and keep the promises she makes, or the father who repeatedly lets them down, by not being home when promised, or playing with them as promised, etc…? Be honest with yourself, here. What memories compel your adult behavior – the good ones or the traumatic ones? Even if the good ones were more common and routine than the evil ones?

We can, as adults, choose to focus on the positive, but the fact that we must actively do so is answer enough for me…

I learned something else of value on the 4th of July: that I am incapable of harming another with my thoughts, no matter how much I might wish to do so. I am not proud of the experiment I conducted that night, but being rigorously honest with myself is necessary to my journey, so I freely admit to doing it. And I admit it was a conscious choice to try it.

Having spent all day contemplating this question of whether evil has already won, and whether evil is naturally more powerful than good, I willingly engaged it. I have always been at least a little afraid of the “beast” which lurks within me. I am aware of its existence. I consciously seek to control its influence in my life and my actions, “fighting the good fight” almost every day of my misguided adulthood. So I have never truly tested its power to influence to world around me.

It’s true that there are times in my life when I tried to place myself first, often at the expense of others. That guilt and shame at my actions would eventually win out reversing my course. That I’ve had to accept that, at my core, I am basically “good,” and therefore destined to lose. But this night was different…

This night I fully embraced evil. Claimed it. Made it mine! This time I opened the floodgates and let the fiery acid of hatred flow freely through my veins. Had I been physically armed and mobile, I would have eagerly gone on a killing spree. But I was neither, so I sat, and rocked, and let the hatred consume my being, wishing with all I am for violent retribution against all who were near me! For hours I sat and sent my vicious thoughts out into the world, eagerly awaiting the bloodcurdling screams announcing my success…

Nothing happened.

And lest you assume my desire to harm others was not real, please understand that I had spent hours (from 10am until 3:30am the following morning) trying to rescue a traumatized animal, while these humans around me placed their own wants above this animal’s genuine needs. My motivation to harm them was both real and deeply sincere! I would gladly have destroyed all of humanity, including myself, if it could bring one moment of peace to this poor, suffering, innocent creature!

But I could not…

In attempting to process the results of that experiment over these last couple of days, I’ve had to own up to some other hard truths as well. If my thoughts are incapable of harming others, even when deeply motivated to do so, then it’s even likelier that my thoughts are unable to heal others, knowing now that evil is truly stronger than good. Perhaps better to say evil is more powerful, thriving as it does when given the least of expression, while good struggles to impact events even when full focus is brought to that intent. Any battle between good and evil is inherently imbalanced. And pointless…

Depressing? Oh yes, most definitely. Yet ultimately freeing as well. For if it’s true that evil has already won, and that it will naturally (and eventually) consume all that is good, then why continue to fight the inevitable? Why not simply accept, and surrender, and welcome in the newest dark age with a smile of understanding. Let us hasten to the finish line, where all good ceases to exist, so that suffering ends. For it is the struggle against the inevitable that causes “suffering,” rather than the inevitability itself…

Happy Independence Day my fellow Americans! A country founded upon evil can only end in corruption. There truly is no other way…

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Reflections

Movie Dreams…

Rough night last night with movie dreams. Dramatic scenes, like out takes, removed from context, but clear nonetheless…

With sound tracks playing in the background. Snippets of songs on endless repeat…

A happy scene living with my daughter, sitting on the couch with a couple of cats and the dog asleep at my feet. The kids are spiraling out of control, and with a quiet voice, I speak their names. “Can you feel those waves of irritation coming from your mom?,” I ask. They both nod. “That means she’s had enough. For real. Settle down now…” And little one comes to sit beside me.

…our house. It’s a very, very fine house…”

Suddenly my daughter explodes! Ranting about how I stole her animals, and now I’m stealing her kids away from her! And after all she does to take care of and protect them…

I don’t know what to say, knowing no words can heal that self-inflicted pain…

***

I’m at work, encouraging my replacement to look at boxes and paperwork to try and get a sense of what’s ahead of us. “You’re going to have to learn how to prioritize,” I tell her. But she is dawdling and slow to pick things up…

“We have to step this up!,” I snap. “I’m not going to be here to hold your hand much longer, you know!”

“…turning the inside out…”

***

And here, in the waking world, things are stranger still…

Standing outside in a misty rain, watching the streams of water fall in the light from the deck spotlight. All around me the world is wet. Except me and my cat. Holding my hand out in the stream, I feel no water, though I can still see it falling. But I am not even damp, nor is my cigarette…

***

Later, and all is quiet outside. Too quiet. It’s eerie. No traffic, no factory sounds, no slamming doors. Nothing. Not even the bats are flying tonight. What is going on?

And I realize that every time I come downstairs, nausea nearly overwhelms me. Along with that sense of everything being… just totally wrong

***

Co-workers are reporting strange dreams to me. Significant images they feel compelled to share. White horses rearing in the clouds… A tiny car with removable covers on the windows. And my friend who is driving must keep shifting perspective from inside to outside the car, changing window covers, seeking the best combination that will allow her to see properly…

…talk to me. I can’t seem to speak now… talk to me… the words won’t come out right… what are you thinking?… sometimes I wonder… what are you feeling?… where do we go from here?”

And another reporting anxiety. “You know, the kind that precedes a full on panic attack.” And I can feel it all around him like a dark cloud, but none of it infects me…

***

And every time I touch my phone, my remote, or any electronic device, I can feel the electricity coursing through me. Tingling. Numbing. Uncomfortable. I must put it down…

***

Rough energy going on with movie dreams and reality. Dramatic scenes, like out takes, removed from context, but clear nonetheless…

“the ringing of the division bell had begun…”

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