My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

Archive for May, 2014

Tattoo #77

May 17th, 2014 | Category: Creative Flash,Life,Opinions,Tattoos
Tattoo by Colt, Doc Dog's Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor City

Tattoo by Colt, Doc Dog’s Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor City

So, this tattoo, number seventy-seven, is from an Aimee Mann song, Little Bombs, which is off of one of my top ten favorite records, The Forgotten Arm.

As I’ve mentioned around the blog, I died once, in some violently bright trauma room, but it didn’t stick. It was spectacularly dramatic though, my heart quit its post, a team of doctors and nurses beating the Hell out of me, trying to wake me up before all the beating in the world wouldn’t matter. My girlfriend, Sara, crying. Sara telling me not to go. It was like a movie. Had it stuck, it would have been quite something, a big, theatrical death, but it didn’t, and here we are, almost a decade later. I don’t think most death is all big and flashy, it’s slow and subtle and certain.

One of my favorite writers, K.J. Bishop, has this total badass character, Gwynn. Gwynn lives by his own set of morals, he kills for cash, he kills for justice, sometimes he just kills because it’s his whim and it feels like proper etiquette to do so. He drinks hard, enjoys all manner of narcotics. He dresses impeccably, plays the piano for eccentric old ladies at swanky parties. He has fallen in love, HARD. Though Gwynn could die pretty much every day, in some grand fashion, some way that he would personally find spectacular, he doesn’t. His hold on life in the midst of combat borders on preternatural. He takes kill-or-be-killed to a form of high-art. He is death in the theater of killing. Unfortunately, even though your profession is snatching life from others, and you do it well enough to see your gorgeous, flowing black hair go gray, you’re going to have to retire. It comes time to hang up your weapons and just be. In a later short-short story, She Mirrors, we see Gwynn as an old man. His recreational narcotics are replaced by medicines for his creaky joints, aches and pains that are the cost one pays for pushing a body past its limits over the course of a career that isn’t usually lengthy. His doctor has vehemently warned him against alcohol and cigarettes. His great love is now just a memory. He’s not dying as a mercenary in some great war, he’s not dying by sword or gun. He’s dying the slow death inflicted by time. He doesn’t go quietly, at the story’s end he’s off toward one more adventure, an adventure that might not go the way he wants, that might be the last his body allows, but to Gwynn, it’s the possibilities that are exhilarating.

She Mirrors is such an honest story, it resonates with me, and scares me, scares me because it’s so true. Our stories aren’t guaranteed to end how we want, or even with a quick bang. Time is what kills us, usually slowly, softly, over minutes, hours, years. The story shows how we’re all fighting against a force that we can rail at, furiously, and still, we will not win. She Mirrors brings to mind my favorite line from William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. I know the words by memory, “…Christ was not crucified: He was worn away by a minute clicking of little wheels.”  We’re all worn away by those clicking little wheels, the clock makes us all equals, we all get too little from time. Our clocks stop and we end. Gwynn, Christ, me, nobody gets out of it, time quitting our company.

Life just kind of empties out, less a deluge than a drought, those words resonate too, those words have been important to me ever since the first time I heard Aimee sing them. I got the words permanently etched into my leg because the idea that time is slowly, but inexorably, wearing me away drives me. It could have happened way back in that trauma room, it could happen tomorrow, but probably, it’ll happen years from now, tediously and maddeningly. Still, one way or another, or another, it will happen, which is why I have bouncers carry me up two flights of stairs at the goth club, or fly to Boston during a blizzard, my antiquated breathing machine powered by an equally unsophisticated battery, with the woman I love just to see Aimee Mann play. It’s why when Sara asked, “So, would you ever go swimming?” I said, without a blink, “Yeah!” I’m terrified of being in anything larger than a bathtub, but she only got, “Yeah!” The reality that that slow drought will come is why I once told a woman I love her more than air, why I asked if she’d wake up with me tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. It didn’t go how I wanted, but I did risk it. I’ll risk simple failure, I’ll risk my life, anything, because at the end of my drought, when time has shoved me toward death’s enfolding kiss, I don’t want to feel like I let time wear me away without fighting with everything in me to experience everything I want. I can’t not fight.

The tattoo reminds me that my life is emptying out, and I can’t just sit back and watch it go.

8 comments

Feeling uneasy

May 16th, 2014 | Category: Life,Random Thought

So, Monday, I went to the hospital for a typical, boring, old-hat trach change (getting a fresh plastic tube in my throat). One trach change became four, and by the end, after eight hours in the hospital, I was fucking exhausted and uneasy. Just getting so tired makes me nervous, I don’t bounce right back anymore, it can easily take the whole week to feel even just kind of normal, if everything goes sideways enough.

I feel weak, and small, it scares me a little more every time. I still get back up, I fight it, I’ll never just willingly stay down. After seven years I know that much about me. I’m not trying to come across like I’m complaining, I’m just saying what’s what. I get tired, I get scared, and that’s that.

Doing this alone is getting harder. Not having someone to hold me close, and kiss me slow, to love me and be there when I look like Hell, and tell me I’m still me. The lack of her is the hardest part. She made the bad stuff not really so bad. That’s how I feel about her, have always felt about her. My nebulous her.

2 comments

Upgrades, perceived downgrades (probably more like side-grades), thoughts…

May 11th, 2014 | Category: Life

So, I haven’t written in a really long time…

First, we’re now running WordPress 3.9, then 3.9.1. The updates are totally automated after 3.8, so it won’t be me who destroys the blog with an update gone stupid. As for WordPress 3.9, I really love it, everything keeps getting more polished, sophisticated, yet easier to use. I just have to practice the use part.

Next up…

I moved. My purple/red/black gothy sanctuary is no more, and I really do miss it. A lot. Being here feels like that time I was in the hospital for two months. I had familiar stuff from home, my girlfriend was there, but it obviously wasn’t home. Here feels like that, just clearly less extreme. I mean, I’m not hooked up to forty-seven machines, I’m not scared of dying at the drop of a hat, but still… Everything’s totally white (and painting isn’t allowed), it’s smaller, it’s not a “master suite,” so there are lots of doors in/out, no attached bath. My other room felt separate, like my own little apartment.

Technology-wise, it’s pretty fabulous. A fellow came in, hung my tv on the wall, my iMac from the ceiling, my surround sound, around.  It’s not a bad house, a bad room, it’s just..

Okay, pictures before I elaborate.

I wide view…

I wide view…

Crazy shelved closet door…

Crazy shelved closet door…

Art…

Art…

Charmer, transplanted…

Charmer, transplanted…

As you can see, it’s very different. I mourn the old room because, it was a symbol of independence. It was a symbol of what I could accomplish with words and sheer will. Originally, that room was a really hideous pale yellow, with anime art on the walls that I collected when I was twenty-four and astonishingly lonely.

Three years later, I was madly in love with a girl, Sara. We were apart after being there a year, after I died but didn’t, after I got the little plastic tube in my throat, after I quit talking forever, after all that, we were apart. Back then, the only thing I was truly scared of wasn’t dying, wasn’t not talking, it was being apart from Sara, which is exactly what happened. So, after I recovered my strength and my wits, winning Sara back was everything. I knew I could, I knew that so long as we lived in the same city, I could remind her why we got lost in each other’s eyes, why we danced. I got crazy face piercings, more tattoos. I flew to New York with my life-saving breathing machine powered by a boat battery. I road in a boat on Saranac Lake. I had my picture taken at the very top of the Olympic ski jump in Lake Placid.  I wanted to show my Sara everything we could be doing together, that all the bad changes were nothing but temporary. While on my journeys through upstate New York, I met the head of a production company who worked with Ira Glass on the tv version of his radio documentary show, This American Life. They ended up doing an episode about me, Sara, independence. Even so, I hadn’t totally convinced Sara that I was the right bet, but the night we had dinner with Ira and the TAL crew, she gave me the last bit of inspiration needed to sway her. She said to me, “Look, I just don’t think I can be with someone who’s twenty-seven with anime all over the walls of his room.” I didn’t have to capture a unicorn, slay a dragon (I’d have done both if necessary), I just had to redo my room, something I always meant to do, but never really tried. That weekend I ditched the anime, went out with my assistant and bought art I genuinely loved. By week’s end I picked out paint, hired a painter. I created a space that was beautiful, that reflected the me in my head. I did it without my family’s help, or approval. It was me, a crazy act of independence, building a path toward the life I wanted with someone I loved. Sara and I would end up waking up together many mornings in that room, so close, so in love. Then she left, for good, for Boston, someplace I couldn’t follow.

Still, I’d spend almost ten years in that room. I’d find love again, I’d lose it, and find it again, and lose it, again. Though, we’ll save all that for some other post, maybe for post one-thousand-and-one.

For now, I just want this feeling to pass, this just wanting to go home.

4 comments