State of the World (and I feel fine…)

I hope the end of the world lands on a Saturday. I can’t afford to skip work.

January 2009

Television grows louder, yelling at me through paid advertisements offering me everything I don’t need. Tell me what I want to hear, the end is near, we’re in the clear.

Farewell to dwellers of the northern land swimming out of sight, out of sight out of mind, I’ll take to the underground before I watch my mother die.

My friends who still consider Yellowstone home may have noticed a series of tremors a couple of weeks ago. About 300 to 400 small tremors, the strongest being about 3.6 on the Richter scale occurred around the Yellowstone Lake area in the last 2 weeks of December. Very unusual activity. Yellowstone usually experiences about that number in a 10 year period. The alert level is still at green, but scientists are still conducting researches waiting for the next disruption.

This past week California had an earthquake that measured 4.1 on the Richter scale. A day later, Costa Rica experienced an earthquake of 6.4 on the Richter scale.

The Middle East is still in upheaval as Israel and Gaza are still at war and extremists in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq still reign terror. What are we doing here?

80,000 dead in China from an earthquake measuring 7 point something on the Richter scale, and Hurricane Ike kicked Houston right in the TexAss.

It’s hard to say what’s going on here: climate change, Armageddon, business as usual – who knows?

There’s a belief that the world will end on 12/21/2012. This is the last date on the Mayan Calendar, and Nostradamus himself predicted a major happening in the year 2012. Astronomers have predicted a Galactical Alignment will take place on 12/21/12. When this occurs, the center of the Milky Way, the earth, and the sun will all line up. I don’t think anyone really knows what that means. We humans are still pretty ignorant when it comes to space. The Mayans were the exception. If they’re right, we’ve got about four years left.

I followed behind and in line as daily struggles turn into years of discontent mixed with complacency.

I have my excuses like we all do, but the storm took me by surprise and the flood was unexpected – as unexpected as my failed spirit. Trees are still stripped of their bark and I still can’t fathom how they survived at all. A surprisingly strong root system must have stepped in the way, a miracle for this day and age.

I need to find something else. A dream to believe in again. Aspiration. Where is my motivation? If I could be so blind as to try again, perhaps mend these trappings of the mind mechanically wreaking havoc. That storm that I faired in my prime, now shrouded with time, but not so long ago I felt the second coming, a witness to The Rapture where I was left standing alone and the world collapsed on itself – only to start again.

A man I once held very dear in my youth showed me the silver lining, and I believed 100 percent in everything he said, but secrets sometimes seep through the cracks revealing truths, unexpected, un-planned for, even psychics were caught off guard. I stand by my decisions, and my beliefs are mine alone. Silver linings are only produced when the sun penetrates rain clouds, this I believe 100 percent.

It’s been a bad week. I got a frantic phone call from a friend today who lives in the neighborhood. She was screaming that her house was on fire and needed me to come over. I felt panic. I grabbed my smokes and my purse, made sure everything was turned off, carefully blew out my candle, and ran outside to the car with my slippers still on, I had the thought that I should grab our fire extinguisher.

March 22, 2009

Half-finished and undone, but isn’t that always the way. All those things we never said, words held back are progressively losing their chance for release as the years go by. I have chanced my confessions in the wake of family functions, birthdays and weddings. I found my voice but continued to go on ignored. The truth is so seldom welcomed. Isn’t it strange the way things never go the way we imagined, and if they do, it’s always a bit of a disappointment. I guess I need more, but I don’t know what that would be, I only know that there is no room left under the rug.

I need a break today. A forced effort combined with a hungry dog got me out of bed this morning. On such a beautiful day when “spring is in the air” with the birds chirping and all that jazz, I’m trying to stay positive, but before the clock stroke noon, I had already smoked some weed, and now an hour later, I’m almost done with my first beer of the day. Sundays are always a work in progress.

It’s an easy, breezy day and I’m trying to suppress my inner Cover Girl one gray hair at a time where life is sustained by Post-It notes and all the dogs have free reign.

Let it rain all day until the skyline is smeared into abstract and I can once again see clearly.

The beach houses have looked better. Christmas trees line the shore and gray skies seem to stick around like an unwanted memory. Boarded up and abandoned, un-sturdy and off balance, these dwellings are in no shape to face another hurricane season on the Gulf Coast. It’s been a couple of years since I last graced the sand of Surfside, Texas, but I had to get away and see the ocean and pay no mind to my sunless day. It’s been so long. Waves still call as their energy rolls toward me, but I decline this time as inviting as they may be, I decline on a cold April day with clouds threatening every inch of the way. Still, I’m glad I came, if nothing else, to wash away the hate.

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Ike: Coming at Ya

September 12, 2008 (afternoon)

Galveston is being overtaken. Ocean waters litter her streets slapping the seawall violently with the storm still 12 hours away. On a calm, normal day the ocean usually rests about 20 feet below the seawall. Islanders woke up this morning in shock to find water surrounding their homes. The decision to stay home and “hunker down” instead of evacuating proved to be a bad one. It’s daunting to think that the flooding in Galveston isn’t even from the storm surge. Again, the storm has yet to arrive, the flooding, which is already about 3 feet deep on the strand, is from the bay waters, but Ike is coming and unlike recent storms before, this one doesn’t look like it intends on turning – this one will be a direct hit.

Late Afternoon

I have a very bad head cold and my menstrual cramps have me doubled over, but the storm is coming and there’s no time to be sick. My roommate and I have stocked up on food and water that should last us for about a week. We also have batteries, a radio, and a limited supply of ice. We’ve filled the bathtub and the water filter and our cars both have full tanks of gas. We’ve brought all the lawn furniture inside and taped up the windows, but after watching the most recent news coverage on the coming storm, I now wish we had boards to cover the windows. We’ve only been in this townhouse for a year, but the complex has been around since the seventies, also, the San Jacinto River surrounds our neighborhood, but officials say it’s not supposed to flood on the north side. I hope they’re right because it already looks higher than normal, and the rain has yet to come. My grandfather is here with us. We evacuated him from his house in Bay City yesterday because it was looking like Matagorda Bay was going to get a direct hit, but it looks like we just brought him closer to the storm. Right now, Ike is a category 2 storm, but with sustained winds at 110 mph, it’s a strong Cat. 2. In fact, category 3 storms start with winds at 111 mph. The eyewall of the storm is supposed to hit Galveston at around 2 in the morning. I guess I’ll just stay in bed and watch the news repeat itself until TV is no longer an option. I’m pretty sure I’m running a low grade fever. Maybe I’ll try and get a nap in.

14 Days Nine Hours…

And then there was light.

How Much for a Gallon of Corn?

June 15, 2008

Midday, under a scorching sun where children play down by a distressed river, waste piles higher than record-breaking temps and an old black dog lays restless on browning grass. Gather up your heels, these waters will rise again, in the shallows of the city sky stained by misuse and neglect, we saunter on unsure of our unfamiliar land.

Fifty dollars got me to the beach and back. A long drive to take on a Saturday afternoon with the sun bearing down, the air conditioner leaking on my foot and last night’s birthday bash wearing me thin, but I went, intent on enjoying the day and shaking off a bad mood.

Just Keep Writing (what I’m trying to say)

It’s been nearly ten years since I’ve really placed importance on my creative outlet. I figured, if you go long enough without doing something you once thought you loved, and it’s still eating at you, and gnawing at the back of your mind, you must love it enough to give it another try. What I’m trying to say is I miss writing. It’s my therapy. It keeps me aware and stimulated. It keeps me grounded and focused. It keeps me sane, and right now I’m drowning in the mundane worries and catastrophic predictions and prophecies of life.

Halloween in June

June 13, 2008

If I think too much, nothing comes to mind. These days and years keep flying by leaving unfinished goals and discarded dreams at the wayside of another time when I was unaware with blind confidence. Tonight I see with lazy eyes, pick up the pen, turn away from the television trance, tonight is the night to begin again and put things right, fill these pages, get back on track, and then it subsides, what was the point anyway? Maybe another day, I’ll start again, when the time is right, when the time is right, when the time is right.

I’ve seen them in thoughts, when silence cancels out noise and focus remains inside, they come back to me as they were in childhood when family was a simple concept and friends were easy to find. Ghosts of the living haunt more frequently than the dead.

Where’s the Ocean?

The last great road trip unravels and comes to an end as quickly as it arrived. A nuclear waste land mingles with cloud covered mountains waiting for snow as we travel through White Sands wondering what the government is up to.

I had a dream last night that I ran into you at some desert oasis lost somewhere in Arizona. I was drinking a beer when you walked up surrounded by a hundred strangers and looking as beautiful as ever. We hugged like old friends do after years apart, uncomfortable yet familiar. You asked me to stay a while and so I did, a little apprehensive but happy to see you alive and well. It was the kind of dream you hate to wake up from, and once again you’re on my mind, now more than ever.

A late afternoon moon sits just above a sleeping mountain, full and ready to take over where the sun left off. Desert sand dunes rest behind me now as the last resort rests in my grasp unaware of the downslope we must follow, but tomorrow is miles ahead and I’m depending on snow to delay our final descent.

I can say, with a heavy heart, and a rejuvenated spirit, that this was much needed, and so life carries on, unplanned, somewhat predictable and always way too short.

It’s been close to fifteen years since I last graced these grounds, but here I am at the Inn of the Mountain Gods watching snow pile up and praying for more just as I did all those years ago when life was new and youth was fresh.

You’re never in the wrong. All these years to rummage through and pick apart, and consider for a moment how you really played out, your errors and faults, misjudgments, miscalculations, but I don’t think you’ve ever looked at, I mean really looked at the other side. One of the main ingredients needed for any kind of enlightenment or wisdom is an open mind void of preconceived notions and, above all, opinions. I don’t think it would ever be possible to see both sides of anything without first admitting ignorance, and then discarding judgement altogether. Sometimes this friendship feels like a bad marriage.

I spilled my coffee twice today: once on my desk at work, and again on my new white shirt. Monday’s blues are hard to shake. At week’s end they finally wear off only to start again.

Here we are on the other side of what used to be a faraway tomorrow. My shoes are prematurely worn out, where tread used to catch my step, replaced by a slippery surface. Now with the threat of collapse looming large in our rear view mirrors, mass produced distractions are hurled at us through our filtered media. Tell me it’s not as bad as it seems in these approaching days of dwindling luxuries. Take us back to the time of the pioneer where life was simply survival void of the add-ons we’ve grown accustomed to.

One Week (into the red)

November 2007

I must stay pure of thought. Manipulated by guilt and contaminated with insignificant irritations.

I used to prepare days in advance for a simple trip like this, but now it seems like I’m just jumping into it and my excitement level is muted. It’s been so long, and I’m more pre-occupied now than I’ve ever been before. It takes a lot more to get me going than before. With age comes experience and wisdom, but we also have the tendency to become jaded and all too aware of consequence, insignificance, and time. Don’t get me wrong, my impending vacation is much needed – six years have passed since I’ve seen a mountain peak pierce the clouds – I just seem to have a reluctance to do anything these days.

Inspiration is on the way, just like back in the old day. The return of the red rock reminds me of how far I’ve come since my first visit here on these desolate roads. My ears clog and then pop as “operation: vacation” officially gets underway. Sagebrush and mesquite grass cover the landscape, and a lone mountain can be seen far off in the distance reminding travelers that there is life beyond this depressing stretch of nothingness. We’re barreling through the desert at 90 mph, fighting off Hunter’s bats and getting deeper into the bowels of New Mexico.

Foothills are coming into view like shadows of a promise well overdue. We are in remote territory where the locals seem a bit off and my big city characteristics seem a bit harsh for these simple folk, but we are just passing through, me and my travel companions, heading for bigger and better sights. Our altitude is rising and so are gas prices. The open road is much too expensive to sleep off and so we plunge ahead red-eyed and weary.

Drained

I don’t really know what to do or say. Drained. Sometimes I picture myself at your funeral imagining what the family might say, or coming face to face with your crazy ex-wife and your abandoned son. Then I feel guilty for letting such a “fantasy” enter my mind. I feel guilty for feeling so much hate towards someone whom I’m supposed to love so much. I think about a future when we are looking back on these days of now and asking ourselves, “What could we have done? We should have done something. How could we have just stood idly by?” Hopefully we will understand then, when you’re gone and we’re left with whatever’s left, that we did try to help, but in the end, what really can you do? Our hands are tied, my dear brother, your friends and family are maxed out. The vomiting, and yelling, and cursing, and stealing, and lying, and drooling, and crying, and begging have proved too much. We cannot handle any more wrecked cars, or suicide attempts, or court dates, or jail fees, or second chances, or false hope. You are selfish and inconsiderate, to say the least, but even as I write these words down in an effort to just GET IT ALL OUT, I’m fighting off guilt with a blunt stick and trying to remember our childhood that keeps slipping farther away. Anger and resentment constitute the majority of feelings I have for you, but when all that hate looms large in my heart, I remember the little blonde-haired boy that fed his little sister a snow cone on the outside stoop of their house in a photograph faded by age.

Inch by Inch (acre by acre)

March 30, 2007

In mourning for a close friend who never stood a chance. Left behind to watch the world die, “right before our eyes,” she is cleared away, her remains left to burn in the sun, hotter now than days before.

There’s nowhere left to go these days. Those monsters follow like evil puppets controlled by some untouchable force. As the ocean crawls closer, civilizations remain preoccupied. Pre-warned.

The little that you see is gone, plowed over and concreted just in time for spring. She is coming, inch by inch. I can’t keep my thoughts together, even in the clarity of morning, I have too much to say, and my feelings and emotions are too strong to dissect, there is too much to convey with only words.

I woke up this morning to booming thunder, the loud, angry kind that sounds as if it could cause damage without the help of lightning, the kind that shakes walls and has the sanest adult resorting back to childhood fears and anxieties. She is coming, inch by inch.

Every other house is for sale in any neighborhood you see, but developers are buying land and putting up houses anyway. They follow the same blueprint in any city visited. Slash, burn, let’s kill it all – little pink houses for you and me. There will be nothing left when it’s all said and done. My voice is my only weapon, I don’t have enough money to save the world, but I can get the word out for what it’s worth, I can let them know they’re killing the earth and plowing over the source for their own breath.

Maybe this year is the year our words will come back to haunt us. Put it off like a household chore, not yet important enough to take any action. Maybe this is the year we’ll see it all come undone like a breached levee not worth fixing. Resources are almost extinguished. Our renewables are too slow for the taking, but we have it under control. It’s okay and under control. My backyard looks like it’s been bombed, and as mud gathers under my shoes and birds fly frantically around dead trees looking for the one they call home, the rain came again in a mist, veiling the stagnant open air. My mini-hike was not a good one, but with my disposable camera tucked under my shirt, I approached the destruction of my once wooded community. Twenty-seven pictures taken from a cheap, throw away camera are my proof that the earth is dying. Will there be enough room on Mars for all of us?

My brain is dead so I think I’ll just stay at work.

I can’t shake this mood. No remedy to be found. The outside air is way too bright for a weekday night. Obstacles standing in light’s path are wiped out in a day’s work, and sounds from a new visible freeway reign free.

The wind is in full swing tonight. Clouds speed past in the sky reminding me more of speedboats on a lake. The porch light flickers every minute or so and surrounding buildings are dark. A flash in the distance lights up the early night and the air cools off just right. No thunder to be heard, she dies down a bit, and wind chimes fall silent again.

May 4, 2007

Which way to the hill country? I’ve taken off time to let the world in and let myself out. Sycamore trees mingle with juniper and all those worries I carry everyday retreat with the dimming sun in my horizon. These moments take me back some years ago when I lived with society’s unknown drifters, walked with vanishing footprints, and slept in the mouth of a volcano. It’s hard to get away these days and too many lost opportunities have invaded my road map. It’s easy to get sucked in when a year becomes a day and cubicles feel more like home than home itself.

*Bad News Follows*

Reluctant to actually say what’s on my mind and falling into some kind of a walking coma.

We’re all waiting for you to die, a last resort, the inevitable end to a story known all too well.

Faded out, time’s premature arrival looms large and weighs heavy in the path of things to come. As jaded as the last man standing, realizing he’s alone. Let’s go back to where we began, all those years ago.

May 29, 2007

Strained by boundaries, life’s tiny grains counted out one by one until the pile grows larger than myself and larger than truth.

June

I feel sick. Laid out and prepped for another year, a new decade of my life is served before me and I wince at the thought of it.

A severe feeling of defeat hangs low prompting me to wave a white flag, but I ain’t no flag waver, and it’s still too early to take that road.

The big 30 came and went with enough family drama to last me another 10 years. I hate birthdays, but besides the drama (which I won’t get into) and besides turning 30, I had a pretty good one. My best friend got us really good tickets to the Astros game, which they won, 9-4.

July

Rain clouds threaten tonight’s festivities.

One By One

Suffer fast and suffer well for it’s just the two of us as far as I can tell.

Coat burning party. January wasps. Chasing away winter. Will there be room on Mars?

An old man, uncomfortable on his death bed, lets insight slip from his lips and linger as he makes his exit. “It goes by so fast,” he said. “It goes by so fast.”

It is almost here, where dreams take over and fool the weakened and desperate mind, “the big change” is inevitable and much needed. I am not looking forward to what lies ahead and question whether I’m reading into the right signs.

My ten year crutch is no longer serving a positive purpose, but in this day and age, a substitution had better be in place. I have one in mind, but it provokes so much longing that little reminders pop up uninvited, and attempts to come clean fall to the whey side.

Today the rain came instead of snow. Our arctic blast lasted about a day and a half. The ice melted as fast as it came, and flood warnings return without skipping a beat.

What do you believe in now?

We have been beaten into submission by fear. Are we capable of change?

Gear up for the season in bloom. We need something to believe in, maybe this year will be our year. Pull away when addiction grows stronger, easier said than done, easier said than done.

The middle of the week will be my undone. Smile now, when needs are met and time is fine, but hours are passing and resources are scarce and tomorrow it will only get worse. Save a spot for me wherever that may be, get it right, get it right, get it right in spite of me. Gear up for longevity, no choice but to grow and accept what has already come to be, I’ll repeat everything I’ve already said at least a hundred more times. I’ll keep it together this time, I’ll make it work this time, I’ll make it stick this time.

I’ve given in again, no surprise in that, relaxed now and fighting off the crud that killed my Friday.

One by one, row by row, acre by acre they fall and are left behind, a constant hum of traffic – I want to run away with the coyotes and leave this place to the bulldozers. I can’t watch the final massacre.


I’m sitting here listening to Buddy Holly puppy sitting for my mom while she’s out of town for the weekend. My eight year old terrier is curled up next to me and a one year old lab mix keeps dropping slobbered toys in my lap. She’s obsessed with fetch. My terrier is more my mother’s dog than mine, but I’m second in command. The Buddy Holly album is mine. It’s his greatest hits album. I found it at Half Priced Books for five bucks. I also ran into an old boyfriend whom I didn’t even recognize until he mentioned we used to date. He asked me if I was still writing. I was amazed he remembered. It’s been almost ten years since I last saw him, Ole Blue Eyes, unrecognizable to me now.