Category Archives: on my mind

Get Out Of My Car And Into My Dreams

Last October I rented a car with Renee for a week from the Fiumicino Airport near Rome that we used to drive through Napoli and along the Amalfi Coast. One night, in and around Nerano, a little silly, we went on a search for the ideal place to park the car and sleep. It was VW Golf, not quite a compact car, and the winding streets were often at a 45 degree angle and would barely fit three rugby players standing shoulder to shoulder. We had to fold the side mirrors and inch our way through many of the alleys. Renee completely trusted my channeling of Mario Andretti and although we didn’t find a new spot to sleep (we had already found a pretty great spot earlier in the evening and this was more adventure for its own sake), we managed to escape the labyrinth of barking dogs and angsty graffiti with only a 2cm scratch on the rear passenger side door. Tiny. Doesn’t even count as damage in the rental contract.

Weh-he-helllll, let me tell you. A few days after returning the car and to Brussels I got an email from the rental company, LOCAUTO (Please let this be a warning to anyone considering renting from them. DO NOT!), that said I owed them almost 700 EUR in damages and fees. Clearly confused, I wrote back, the only way, of course, was through a complaint box on their website. I am a bit tired of relaying this story, but to sum up, they tried to charge me for damages that were already present when I rented the car. The scratch that I returned it with was not even shown on the report. Because I was getting no where with their damned complaint box I turned to my credit card company to investigate. They reversed the charges and I hadn’t heard back from them for a few months. Done and done!

Not done. Last week I received an email from a collection agency in Italy informing me that I now owe 869 EUR for interest and fees. Ha! War. I filled an application for a small claims suit against them on Monday, but decided that since I now had a contact, despite that it was a third party and a collection agency, I would make one last attempt at resolving this before filing. I sent an email explaining my case to the collection agency, encouraged by a friend who had good dialogic experiences with these agencies (albeit in Belgium, and not the mafioso). That was Wednesday morning and I still have not heard back from them two days later.

Now yesterday, while waiting in the office of my unemployment syndicate I was reading an article in the SUN magazine that Renee had left me. It was titled “What Did You Dream Last Night?”. Great interview with dream specialist, Marc Ian Barasch. He speaks about how we need to pay attention to our dreams, that our subconscious is smart and catches things our conscious brain misses. Last night I fell asleep early. Around 11:30 PM. That is my early. I woke up to a dream:

I was returning to my apartment where a friend who was staying at my place(forget who) was packing up and leaving to stay somewhere else. She was afraid because two men had busted in and taken all my books and my computer speakers. They, interestingly, left my computer and everything else, and had left me a desk, which they placed the computer on next to my couch. It seemed they wanted the shock of seeing my wall shelf completely empty, which was actually kind of pleasing to my senses to see. Ha! Well, this friend was certainly rattled and I understood, but I simply knew I had to prepare for their next visit. It was clearly the collection agency trying to bully me.

It was 3:30 AM when I when I woke from this dream. I laid in bed for a few moments. Then I got up, returning with a heavy frying pan, my Bear Grylls Survival knife, and scenes from Deadpool rolling in my head. I think I’ll file that suit on Monday.

Ancestor (there will be)

Ancestor (there will be)

I know that it is time
I feel it all the time
Built into my design
I give it all to you
All of it can go
All the face’s glow
the evening of the show
The dream is our feed
A cut and pasted breed
dying to reseed
Again the crowd will drown
the faces on the ground
Blinging on their knees

On Saturday night
We gathered to the light
The casts of past felt right
The current disappoints
The streaming leads to streams
of seaming scene to scenes
The never-ending dream
How will we evolve
the apathy dissolve
Round and round and round revolve
My calling card is lost
in the coming holocaust
and its sounding trump exhaust

I close the shades, try not to breath
I call my mom, try not to see
I fold my hands, I cannot hear
my ancestor inside of me
telling me, “Dear, that’s not fruit
hanging from our family tree”
Drowned out by the wisdom of an mp3’d
“Let it be, let it be, let it be”
Fucking humanity

My sister wants me to stop
Turn myself into the cops
I pop back the pop pop pop
The gun feels natural in my hand
Let freedom ring from the farm
over anxiety’s alarm
We chugalug the lucky charm
There’s a pill for everyone
Pass the cup down to your son
the barrel of monkeys in your gun
Shoot out into outer space
Insure the human race
a universe to displace

I close the shades, try not to breath
I call my mom, try not to see
I fold my hands, I cannot hear
my ancestor inside of me
telling me, “Dear, that’s not fruit
hanging from our family tree”
Drowned out by the wisdom of an mp3’d
“Let it be, let it be, let it be”
Fucking humanity
There will be an answer…

A Time to Comb

I comb my hair just for you.
I pull out the twists.
The grease left in the tines,
the black fuzz from my sweater.
I listen to the jazz music and comb my hair.
My hair is not even wet
and it hurts a little.
But my motion is smooth,
my stomach grooves at the thought
in wavy waves.
I’m smiling combing my hair
and wonder why I haven’t done it sooner,
why I keep the comb in the shower.
Watching a movie, then with the bathroom light on
and walking through the house.
I brush the comb clean with tap water and soap
and then pull my dark brown black hair back like a gangster.
My beard can almost wag, a guru, and catches.
The bass twinges, the piano swangin’.
I am happy to live in the flurry minute,
the bright light in the bathroom.
I wish I was more hairy. Where you couldn’t see my skin,
Sweep my body from head to toe, from toe to head.
Sigh, a stringed instrument. I probably have red
marks down the back of my neck, don’t I?
I smell the comb.
It is the right thing to do.


Boom! Cried the falcon passing the speed of sound.
She forgot her place in the chain,
not concerned with mice
but with the holiness of falling and flight
she breaks from her thunder.
Shout back to those now looking up
that you’ve found only death in the form of blood
before you dive beneath the earth and feed from the sun!

But don’t pass far from the bulbs buried beneath the moss,
the Rose of Charon. Dear, helps your soul
back from the dead!
You’ve found you can’t be a prophet if too concerned with loss.

Bald bird! Can you hear it, now?
Your song is polyphony,
your song is our bees!
Chase, until we give in
to your sol-sense soul!
Shake the air with your humming
so that we put our heads to the roots
where we find the bass line,
replaces our violent heart with rings.
Many, many strings with stories to let go like balloons.
And with free hands we dig to fold fingers with the oak.
And the blades just sway,
the blades sway, dull.”

There comes problem with blood.
A horse eats the grass
as his blood pumps hind legs to kick teeth out.
Blood flows and moves and violence.
The goose will chase, too, a game
children play in a circle. Until blood turns around, cuts off
head, eats and drinks blood ’round a table. Betrayed!
Life for life for life.

And the martians won’t come until we look like them;
They don’t take to complements well.

I used to sit in trees a lot as a kid.

I just re-watched  Benny & Joon! I am still so enchanted by it after twenty years. There is the nostalgia, of course, but the thing I keep thinking about after watching is how much more I love and relate to the relationship between Joon() and Sam(Johnny Depp), than I do to the one between Benny() and Ruthie(). Yes, the movie glosses over the difficulties and seriousness of mental illness, but I think I’ve always been drawn to ‘crazy’ despite its baggage, rather than normal. Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to be someone’s caretaker, but I tend to fall for women who are a bit on the nutty side. More interesting, better story. Also, the crazy one’s seem to appreciate me for me more. Which reminds me of a really good story I just read. Cool woman!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I will go find a tree to sit in.
Yzarc er’ouy fi em nioj, emoc!!!!!

Wisdom from Rainer Maria Rilke

Both from Letter to a Young Poet. I need to read this.

“Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away… and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast…. be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…. and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”

“The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”

Checkpoint, Call

Just listened to a Radiolab episode, Rocked by Doubt. It’s a super close hit to home because one of the deciding factors of the end my marriage to Heather was my backing away from Christianity. It is important to me to stress that it was/is a backing away because I am not turning, or “repenting” from Christianity; the things that brought me to it (i.e. selfless love and empathy) are still, for me, at the heart of spiritual health. I imagine myself panning back, like that American Museum of Natural History video I saw years ago. Moving out from earth, then our solar system, then our galaxy, to behold the known (even uncharted) universe before rubber-banding back. I don’t know where I am on this journey (maybe somewhere around the Voyager 2!!! ) but I know I have to do this. I have been abducted, Close Encounters style, by my doubt, my experience, my lack of experience, my desires to go deeper, my knowledge of religious fanaticism, human psychology and tendencies, etc. But more than anything, steering this ship is the tug I feel inside my chest when…. I look into the night sky, for example. This excitement and magic that I know is out there but links up in here.

I walked out my balcony door last night and saw the bright moon and venus and a few stars, and I felt it. It called. This is not my imagination. This is why I cannot and will never give up my spiritual enterprise. It is in many other things, too. Often nature, but also people. I always find the biggest deterrent to moving forward spiritually is myself, never demons or the devil or Facebook.

As I walked around last night there were so many voices in my head drowning out the one I went out to hear: “Go right.” “No, left.” “But what about straight?” “Maybe you are called out here to prevent that woman from a possible mugging and rape.” “Maybe you are supposed to take out 20 EUR from your bank account and give it to the first person who asks you for help/money.” “Better that you use your judgement if they really need it.” “Why do you always think how you can be the hero!?!” “Just walk.” “No, let’s walk under the trees with the lights.” “Dammit, I don’t want the police to think I am going to break into these cars.  Also, the dog shit.” “You aren’t even listening!” “Where did the woman go!” “There she is. I am being ridiculous.” “Does that graffiti signify a secret meeting place for ‘free thinkers.’ I should see if I can move that panel of wood and squeeze into that empty store.” “Nope. It’s nailed.” “Maybe I am supposed to talk to that guy who’s just…” “Too late! Just walked past him. He looks fine anyway.” “Oooh, the moon!” “Oh! Some abandoned lottery tickets.” “Aaand, nothing. At least I can put these in the trash.” “That’s really beautiful street art that I never saw before, I wonder….” “I wonder if a hot and thoughtful woman is watching me right now from her apartment window and we will meet and she will remember me walking down the street appreciating the moon and graffiti…” “Stop it! Stop it!” “Just walk.” “In the middle of the street?” “Ok.”

I will keep trying to quiet my head. I will try to remember the old proverb:

The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.

Anyway, here is a poem I plunked out before I left for that moon walk. It’s a bit Frostian, but whatever.

January 14
Something calls me in the night.
Over rooftops, whispers
under wind and blinking light.
Gentle moon, what’s this that keeps me looking
in corners, among roots?
“Put on your coat, your boots.
Come out, press close to my petals.”
The city gate beyond is black,
the wood’s of whistling nettles.
I’ll tell you when I come back.


Two more from ESSAYS IN LOVE

Just read the last pages of Essays In Love. Quite an amazing feat for a book published when he was 23 years old. Chock-full of good insight and wisdom. Here are two final quotes I want to highlight (fyi: they aren’t really spoilers, but they come from the final chapter):

1. It is the confrontation between wisdom and wisdom’s opposite, which is not the ignorance of wisdom (that is easy to put right), but the inability to act on the knowledge of what one knows is right. […] knowing we might be fools had not turned us into sages.

2. I realized that a more complex lesson needed to be drawn, one that could play with the incompatibilities of love, juggling the need for wisdom with its likely impotence, juggling the idiocy of infatuation with its inevitability. Love had to be appreciated without flight into dogmatic optimism or pessimism, without constructing a philosophy of one’s fears, or a morality of one’s disappointments. Love taught the analytic mind a certain humility, the lesson that however hard it struggled to reach immobile certainties (numbering its conclusions and embedding them in neat series), analysis could never be anything but flawed –  and therefore never stray far from the ironic.


It shouldn’t amaze me how closely my spiritual quest parallels my needs for love, but it does.

Been thinking the last days on the train.

Things are unstable. I feel this in my life. My emotions are all over the place and I am not consistently good when I’m alone too much, which has always been a sign for me that I need to get my shit together. I am in one of the loneliest times of my life and my spirit house is getting a total overhaul. For the good, I believe, but this hall of mirrors is killing me. I don’t have the the regular Christian check-ins that say, “You’re doing good! Way to be working for the kingdom.” Man, sometimes I just want to feel like I’m not a bad guy despite the shit I’ve done and that “at least God loves me.”

And then I have this part of me that so badly wants to share the wonderful things in this world with someone. To sit on a tall wall and watch the sun play on the parallel lines the planes leave in the sky as it sets. And to kiss and to hold and to make love and to dream and to eat yoghurt out of the jar together. And here’s is the craziest part. I have never in my life had so strong the desire to have children. I still want to hold off for a few years(which won’t be too hard given my current state), but I am sometimes very near tears from the thought of the love I already have for them. The love I am SO ready to pour into them. I want to be the Giving Tree. Not sure if it’s just my physiology of my age or what.

But then I remember that I need find my grounded-ness again. I need to let my compass settle after this astroid I called out of the sky. I need to find again how to be ok with lonely. And lonely in another country.  Staying off Facebook these last several days has helped. I do remember last time I was single for a long stretch the animosity I would sometimes feel for happy couples. I’d come back from tour and everyone else would have a boyfriend or girlfriend to pick them up from the airport. I’d take the tram and haul my suitcase into my quiet apartment and try to take advantage of my time.