My Pain

My pain is not political. It isn’t hypothetical. It comes from a place deep down in the soul. A soul that I don’t even believe in. See. My pain is self righteous. It tells me to be afraid and to survive and to limit risk with every action that I make. My pain is tyrannical. It controls my every thought, and when I fight against it I am lost. My pain isn’t like a firefly. It doesn’t burn out after a white hot flare in the night. My pain isn’t like a satellite, orbiting the earth in vacuum. See. My pain is shared among the rest of you. My pain is one of want and greed and poorly given salvation. My pain isn’t a shooting start that has burst in our atmosphere. My pain lives in this atmosphere and when I say that I mean my body. My pain isn’t like a supernova. Nor is it like a black whole, and this just might be the worst of it because I can see the light in front of me and my thoughts can’t escape the pain that I feel today and that means there is hope. My pain is hopeless, but it likes to tease me all the same. My pain is the vision I have of blocking away my biology, my humanity, and becoming something more conscious than my neighbor and the rest that line the streets. My pain is the coffee I drink in the morning, and the teeth I brush at night. My pain the solar winds–the deadly radioactivity that obliterates life if not for an atmosphere born by chance, just like my body, my sad ecosystem of humanity. See. My pain is my whole life. Waiting. Pain is waiting and this long day, this never-setting sun, this is our unfortunate condition. And my pain isn’t unique. It’s shared with you, this long dark. It’s shared with each person I meet and I scan their eyes and look for the consciousness they may have of the pain. But in this, perhaps, I am alone.

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6/13/15 Love Is A Deep Root

Love is not an unknown.

It is just buried deep inside.

Love is not mysterious to the heart.

It is mysterious to the mind.

Love, it is true, is a deep root.

It is something we all must dig to find, choose to tug, and pull up from those depths (and many of you will know), this is sometimes a messy task. Not always pretty, but the dirt and mud on our hands, if we pull enough, is more rewarding than any taproot too painful to explore. For when the hands are washed love is clean and true, if only we accept it.

We come here today to celebrate this capacity.

The love for our friends–the love they have for us.

And, most of all, the love they have for each other.

11/17/14

“That’s a lie,” I said.

Sally was looking at me, her small, tapered nose was like a rabbit’s and her eyes were a hazel I’d never noticed before. I’d never looked at her in the way I was now. Imploringly and defensively.

“Whatever you did to her,” said Sally. “Tore her up.”

“I didn’t do anything to her,” I lied. “She just wanted something I couldn’t do for her.”

“Tuck!” somebody shouted from behind me, in the marble countered kitchen.

I turned and Ricky through me a canned beer. “Shotguns!” he yelled and I was just fast enough to get my hand up and block the beer he had thrown and then tabbed it before it hit the ground.

“That was stupid, Ricky,” I said.

He was already grabbing a knife and slicing into his can at the bottom side, holding it at and angle.

He passed the knife to someone else who did the same with his bud lite, then handed the knife to me. I looked up for a moment a Sally. The knife was poised, tip pressed to metal as if the beer had a neck I was about to puncture. Her eyebrows were nearly tied together, her lips a single sad line. The thought of Elizabeth’s lie came back to me, despite my distraction. It made me angry. A pressure in my head, but also in my arms and tongue. It made me want to lash out not only at Elizabeth, but also at Sally for believing her.

“I’ve got nothing to say to either of you,” I said, and pressed down on my beer, creating a whole. “ONE, TWO, THREE!” I yelled and Ricky, the other guy, and I all popped the tops of our beers, through our heads back and chugged.

My brain was fuzzy. The cool spring air bit my skin. I’d shed my sweatshirt, but I’m unsure where I might have put it. I was standing by the keg when the castle started going up. Despite the forecast of rain some stars poked their heads through the breaks in the clouds.

People congregate around kegs more than a church or a grave, and I was pressed, arm to arm with Tommy and a tall girl I didn’t know. She had braces and I could hear her suck the saliva from them every so often. It made me want to gag. On the lawn an electronic air pump was running inflating the giant bouncy castle the seniors had brought. No idea where they might have got it.

I grabbed the hose and Tommy pumped as I filled. Yeah, a rookie mistake. But the beer came out fine.

“Yeah, I think Derek is coming back soon” said Tommy. “You know, to visit and stuff.”

My interest was intensified. “It’s been some years hasn’t it?”

“Yeah, he’s be at UCLA, you know.”

“No,” I said.

“Yeah. There and with his mom.”

I wondered if Tommy knew what kind of pain it would be Elizabeth in if she had to see Derek.