The Older We Molder

The climate in which I travel

Disguises my true intent

Fact of the matter unravels

What I said I never meant.

Using booze for a muse

Twist a fuse for ignition

Light a writhing machine

Write to keep my vision

Delight in the battle

to not dwell in discontent.

Shake The Etch-A-Sketch

I ain’t trying to run away with this bombshell.

Just want to gently hold the beautiful explosive, gazing on it, admiring it, hoping it won’t go off. It inevitably will (it always does) and its wreckage would be a booze-drenched, smashed-pill powder mushroom cloud, a broken piñata eruption of blood from enormously poor decisions. So goes the fiery past preventing the impending embrace of the present.

Captured like a fresh faced beast, prey to corruption but unmolested and shackled in quarantine to thin headboards or cheap apartment plumbing pipe, these new days in the East Bay are a soft respite from the rainy Portland nights of laying in chaos while the world spun every day farther and farther away.

Nothing is more heavy metal than when she subtly shows you how much of a helpless child you are despite your best efforts to exhibit otherwise. A good woman will impart her smarts while keeping a cool head about it, pride is unimportant, her mere knowing is enough of a statement and your actual listening is her satisfaction.

Nearly all of 2020 was blown up in smoke. Each memory, handshake, embrace, the 6 foot perimeter surrounding and dividing us all, the countless hours plunged into the television, every motorbike ride down a strange, new road or the long, blurry daily car commute all became plumes of restless isolation lost in the far corners of my hazy, braised amygdala.

Shhh.

(Boom).

California Coalescence

During the waning days of my existence back home I was constantly either in the corner or in the dark, just outside the topic of conversation and secretly snickering and silently running my mouth. Now, in this new, boundless and beautiful place there is rarely a second guess or any reservation about a damn thing I am doing. The fierce freedom of a clean slate in my newfound home has my undying gratitude. Bet.

Benedict Arnold Palmer

Turncoat. Pleasure seeker. Sun peeker.

Ferns grow like boys go sweet into the reaper.

Life changer. Weather lover, new stranger.

Burn down what prevents us from diving deeper.

After my first day of learning how to surf, I laid on the stiff bed of an Oregon coast hotel and right then decided to move to California. Carrying years of desire to escape the Pacific Northwest, I made a break for it on Thanksgiving 2019. Wrestled the ol’ Yamaha into the back of the ol’ Ford, threw the dog in with a handful of important things and hauled that truck due South.

Nearly a year later and it feels like I just arrived yesterday.

Penal Gland

There is a direct and precious relationship between this magnificent moon and the way my lizard brain skips its way across this big backyard. A soft edged crescent barely above a deadening body of fog over the bay, hanging elegant, a dark, subtle jewel humbling fears, quelling all the outside noise.

Wayward we roam, run between places before we’re imprisoned. Later we’ll know why we machines explore these wild visions.

Matriarchal Uprise

I was born just another boy by whatever standard used to determine such things back then. Being a boy and then strangely becoming a man shaped me in a society that determined what I was and wasn’t “qualified for” or expected to do because of my gender. Case in point, the first thing we learn as little boys is that we can pee standing up.

I cannot imagine the war a woman must battle every day just to accomplish everyday activities. Cat calls and rape whistles, indentured child marriages, old men dictating laws regarding women’s bodies, the constant objectification, the oppression across dozens of societies, there is no shortage of the sacrifices women have made just to exist. Mentioning the continuous physical horrors that are fueled by both religion and revenue, I often wonder when will mothers and daughters rise to shed the blood of such awful men.

Growing up I learned that the role of a woman is exalted for a small handful of things: physical beauty, child bearing capability, and the ability to provide for everyone before themselves. Universally and historically women have been relegated to domestic duties and sequestered in the shadows, whose roles in civilization have primarily decided by groups of awful men. The same awful men who have warred and destroyed everything in their path just to clear space to place their own pile of trash to put a flag on.

I cannot fathom the professional pitfalls or the hypocritical social dynamics that women have been enduring since the days of these incredible ladies. There is unsurprisingly, very few facts about women in power but that may be because I live in 21st century America where history, geography or politics ain’t really on the forefront of what we like to talk about. Watching rich housewives or toddler beauty pageants are more our speed. Sadly, these television examples are some of the worst archetypes of women. Not coincidentally, the majority of these programs were produced by one of the worst archetypes ever: awful men.

I am writing about something I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT (not shocking) but I have had enough experience with astonishing women who have faced such harsh systemic sexism that I realize that this world can be an insulting, violent, and horrible place to live if I were not a man.

I don’t know what to do! Seems like there is little I can do. By unpacking this from my bristling brain I am still facing this issue merely as a man. Which, by design, disables me from empathizing with what women experience daily to any degree. However, me clutching to the idea that humans are inherently good animals encourages me to continue to write about things I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT.

I pee where I want. My pants have plenty of pockets. I have been told to “man up”, “be a man”, and reminded that “boys don’t cry” and have been absolved from bad behavior with “boys will be boys”. All of which are colloquialisms of subtle abuse and gender inequality stereotypes that are so ingrained in our culture that I feel overwhelmed with helplessness, sadness and guilt for being born just another boy.

Ugh.

Either Way, Win Win

What is the risk? No kids, no wife no tether to twist. Raise some kids or raise a fist, have a stable future laid out or be free like a kiss in the mist. I gamble on many things, one of which is what tomorrow means, because, like the past, I don’t exist there. I choose to float firmly in the present and as the ground is always changing, so should I. Whether we do this or do the other, it will always be the correct choice if determined with our heart.

Brain is best when engineering with logic for a sensible decision.

Impulse is ignorant, hungrily searching for love, beauty and truth.

Delusions of Candor

The day begins beautiful, soft like a newborn, eyes squeezing open and mouth ready for feeding. Songbirds gather in front of the pane glass as lawn mowers run in the distance, the warm sights and sounds sending me back to childhood.

An election is coming, possibly the most significant decision this country has had in the last 100 years and its outcome could determine whether or not many of us remain stateside.

Recently America has seen major social unrest, new diseases and innumerable natural catastrophes. There are demonstrations in the streets protesting racism and oppression, police shootings are sadly customary, a widespread illness killing our elderly and our homes are being destroyed by fires and floods. But countries outside of the United States have endured every one of these conditions plus some for decades. Even centuries. Never would I speculate that perhaps many of these places are exploited so we Americans are able to enjoy the extravagant resources and lush lifestyle we’ve grown to love. We call it freedom. They call it something else.

Famine and pandemics have torn through Africa and Asia and the political suppression of the vocal masses by way of universal sexism, racism and brutality throughout Eastern Europe (and the Middle East, Africa and Asia) has already been a way of life for millions of people. An everyday dark existence for those who live outside the American line of vision. We now have a leader who literally acts like a child-dictator, we are now wearing masks like they have been in China and Japan for forever now, and we now have our own crowds of dissenters who continue marching the streets despite being harangued by, who are surely, quite conflicted soldier-cops.

Those who bemoan and wail about how this year is such a tragic dumpster fire fail to realize that supply chain shortages, medical mandates of quarantine, rampant unemployment and poverty are a constant way of life every day around the world.

We should remember to enjoy the beauty we do have, love the ones we do have and share all the things we do have because that’s what others suffering around the world do to weather such sadness.

The day ends beautiful, like a bear cub yawn or a slow, fiery sunset over water. The air will carry voices laughing and telling stories through cool alleys and apartment hallways. The soft lights in bedroom windows and passing music from cars bring us together as always, fortunate, wealthy, unaware and comfortable in our wonderful American bubble.

Best Day Ever

Trying new things has kept me alive this entire time. Being exhilarated and intimidated is important to keep my blood red. My blood Reid. Learning by grappling, thinking up some cunning strategy or inventing a new perspective, this universe is brimming with beautiful things to know. For the first time I now understand the violent vastness of the sea and the zero limitations of a determined human body. I have so much gratitude for these unexpected enlightenments.