On Dogs and Death

Both my dogs 8 and 10 died roughly within a year of each other, tragically and abruptly. Dante the old boy just two weeks ago. I think the cheap food from Wal-Mart, Old Roys, is what killed them, gave them cancer.

Cujo, the younger dog just quit walking one day. Then miraculously started walking again, and then stopped again. We watched him for several weeks deteriorating on our kitchen floor. I would wrap a towel under his back legs and carry him in and out the house. He’d piss and shit all over himself and me. Left me a hysterical, broken mess. Cried like a broken child daily. Finally I took him to the vet one sunny, beautiful spring day, hysterically crying. Like a Stone played on the radio, a devestating, yet significant synchronicity. The song had always struck me to my core, as terribly profound, and songer Chris Cornell had just comitted suicide.

Vet tech, based on my tear filled expression told me it must be my first one (it was). I wanted to spit in her face. Afterwards, I stood there awkwardly trying to compose myself to pay the fucking bill, the absurdity, a hundred some bucks to kill your dog.

Dante was fine until one day a couple weeks ago he just stopped eating, and then got super lethargic. Stupidly, we thought maybe he just had worms or something, so we took him to the vet. They did a bunch of tests, told us his kidneys were shutting down, were at near death levels. Gave him shots to maybe pep him up, took our money, said to call on Monday.

Oh, and this is so fucked up. Right before he went downhill, my wife decided to get a puppy. I have a deep, dangerous love for dogs, but after Cujo’s death I couldn’t imagine getting another one. Time had sort of softened that, but I still wasnt ready though. I punted on the issue, told my wife if she wanted one and was prepared to do the majority of work I was ok and could do my part.

We named him Cash, after Johnny, because he’s all black. He’s a Husky/Lab mix and has different colored eyes. We thought it would be good to introduce old dog and new dog, give old boy a buddy, get him moving again. Then he took that turn for the worst.

After the torture with Cujo we realized we couldnt let Dante suffer like that. That we had let it go on too long for our own sake. And if a dog cant be a dog there’s no point in keeping it going yada, fucking yada. He just got worse that week after the vet visit. And one night while I was petting him, he rested his head in my palm, and told me the way dogs do, that he was going and it was okay, and he loved me and was sorry, but resigned to it.

It’s so messed up to say in a sense, but that old boy was like the foundation of my whole adult life and family. My wife and I got him in the early years of our dating, and during an extra-rocky bit of that, it’s my irrational attachment to dogs which seemed to make separation an impossibility to me (I’ll spare you the tragic explanation of that for now). And now nine years later, three kids, all that life, he was saying it was time to go.

We were gonna go that Monday. I said I would take him, no problem, but really it’s so fucking awful, if she wanted to take the licking I wouldnt fight her on it. She said she would. That Sunday night was bad for him. I laid with him under the kitchen table, and held him, whispering it was okay, that he was okay. That he was a great boy, and I understood he had to go. And it seemed to relax him. Give him some rest.

That Monday morning my two older boys got on the bus to school. And my wife got our little one ready for pre-k and then was gonna call the vet and take him up there. But then he started shaking, cramping up, whimpered and cried. Tried to get up, adjust, but couldn’t. I held his head again in my hands, told him I loved him, and it was ok, just go ahead, go to your rest.

My wife and son scrambled around. And then he was gone. I sat there and touched his now souless body. Felt his heart beat petter out. Had the insane hope that maybe I could still feel it. Knew better of course and nurse wife confirmed. Eventually, I grabbed some more towels to clean up the puddle of piss and cover him up, so my wife could take the lil one to school.

Sat there for a few minutes, crying, laying my head on him. Then I went outside. It was another beautiful morning. An early winter crisp was present, but sunny and clear skies. This time I didnt resent the day for its beauty, but appreciated it while I dug a hole for him at the back of the property. There was something about that dirt, digging it, shoving my hands into it, bringing it up to my nose, smelling it, that didnt make it better, but some how made me understand…ashes to ashes, dust to dust, dirt to dirt.

The hole was dug by the time she got back. I carried his stinking, stiff corpse to the hole and awkwardly stuffed him in there, and we worked together covering him up. We planted a hazelnut tree on top, but some critter got it that night.

I came in stripped my clothes off, showered. Went back to my bed and laid there. We made love later that morning. Desperate, needy love-making, like our relationship itself, something, anything, that could stop the hurt, but it never does. It just dulls it. Makes it manageable in the moment, but worse in the end.

I love goddamn dogs. Too much. Like women and the world itself. I would give up karmic evolution to go back to being a dog. To run, and play, fight and fuck, without reservation. To not over analyze. To be brave and loyal. To be one with the world. One with myself.

Confession (On Catholicism and HealthCare)

The modern medical physical is an updated form of the Catholic sacrament of Confession. I went to a Catholic grade school and High School, with a brief sojourn freshman year at the public school.

That decision to jump schools was multifaceted. Priest, principal, and a guidance counselor attempted to press me about the sacrament of Confirmation, the ritual wherein a Catholic confirms their personal belief in the religion, and is official-official in the cult from then on, in the 8th grade. One of my proudest moments, was telling this gang to kick rocks. My true confirmation of Grace, I know now (and then I guess?).

My Mom was divorcing my step-Dad, and our poverty and her clear Jezebel spirit, I believe marked us with that gang. We’d been marked for a while though, I suppose, so it shouldn’t have been a suprise. And yet, it always is, isn’t it? This divorce was partly why I made the jump to public school too. Some self-inflected wound of immaturity, and commonsense. How would we afford to send me to the private school? I’d end up sneaking my way back to the Catholics (non-confirmed) through a “scholarship”‘ for the debate program Sophomore year. Note, the Catholics are great free-lancers.

Anyway, point is, I’d always sensed a lack of flavor, or should I say culture to the public school system, and really the gentile public in general. It seemed to lack a certain something to me, which I know now understand was its cultic, and occultic systems, and accoutrements. The singing and chanting, costumes, incense, drama, and the freak outs.

I realized today post-physical, while strumming my milestone-like Squire telecaster, that the modern check up really does have it origin in ancient ritual and spiritual/superstitious beliefs, just like them Catholics. The whole thing the pregame rituals, the signing in, the attendants, the silent (except for the background noise of the TV, which in these times is the equivalent of the bubbling brook), which allows reflection and excuse making, space for the coming cognitive dissonance, and morever the pre-pregame ritual, of the night and weeks before, what illnesses and ailments will one declare, or attempt to medigate with good behavior. The anxiety and anticipation of judgement. The inherent power relationship and the salvation that comes with it.

Your Doctor can only treat, what you acknowedge and admit. What you confess. We like this. It’s parental. The Dr. is a subsitute, for you and the thing on high, an intermediary. It’s interesting, because I still got that raging spirit to resist. Basically the only time I will go the Dr. are for these “Wellness”‘ check-ups for our insurance, which saves us 80bucks a month. My Dr. today was nice enough. A colleague of my wife, she had insured I would like his style and I did.

He acknowledged that in my case, it was basically just a hello, but that the point of this check-up was maybe to catch a guy in his mid-thirties (me! that crafty fox!), who veins are starting to chunk up with platelets, and get them on something to help them out, before he’s fifty and dead. I smiled with him, nodded along in agreement. When he was done I said, “well hate to a throw a wrench in your plans there Sir, but I was planning on not doing those labs today. Be honest with ya, just not in the mood to be poked or proded.”

These are the moments that give my spirit an invaluable tingle, the moment when that curtain gets pulled back on Oz, busting those lights on mid-ritiual, sitting there right in the middle of confession, staring that priest in the eye, and saying hey man what about all these other religions, what about all of them that never heard of Christ?

The Dr. smiled said Oh, Ok. I explained it wasn’t I’d never do it. And I’d done it before. Actually had high levels, but then I tightened up diet and stuff, and my levels were fine. And really truth was, nothing in them numbers could make me anymore serious about my own health, body, then I already was. So not today. I’d prefer not.

It was all good. He still hit me with the stethoscope, checked my throat glands, pressed on my stomach, squeezed my ankles. Indignities I endured, with small amounts of discomfort. As usual ritual tricked me into confessing a patch of eczema on my leg, but I recovered with the reflection that it was all good, and that eczema was basically an umbrella term for fuck-all, and if they weren’t going to chop it off, I’d prolly be all right. By the end, he thanked me for an interesting conversation and visit.

6-30-18 On The Rooster,

Kept hearing a cockle-doodle-doo (more like oaoaoaoaaaahhh) from chicken island. I ulimately ordered pre-sexed chicks because it was cheaper without the extra couple roosters, and also because we were attempting to take it step by step so the process ofndealing with brooding and pontential baby chicks all the time seemed a little too much this year. We had to get the electric fences up, build a chicken tractor, move the first twelve out, and later intergrate the two generations.

I chose a heritage breed called the Speckled Sussex. I’m really like how the birds look, like Jackson Pollock spent a weekend being ornery with em. I was thinking a rooster was afoot, so I had started staring at them a bit more. One of their bright, irredescent blue-green oil-sheens, caught my attention. There were other signs of a cock, Gallus Domesticus, an erect and bright red comb, overall size, a classical strut. These noticeable detail were improved and confirmed via the internets.

I discovered that a rooster will have more pointed feathers, while a hens are rounded at the end. The male will also have a bushier neck. And of course sharper and larger back claws, spurs.

To discover if an egg has been fertalized one must take a strong light beside it and determine whether it is clear or opaque. I did, but it was hard to tell what from what. Except for one, where it gone cloudier, and there the primitive first place a single lil red dot of cell swirled.

The rooster offeres a real-world introductory dialogue about love-making with the children. The love touch. Male and Female. Like Mom and Dad. Like You.

I wish you could have seen my sunset last night. Perspective through the bubbling hills of the horizon, it wore a crown as it set. Endless beams to infinity. Champagne hues, oranges and blues, golden-yellow, saucer center, sort of like an egg…

11-16-17 Philosophy Through Family (In Praise of Patriarchy)

 

A Musical Accompaniment

I love and hate mankind in portions which may seem unhealthy. That’s the thing, they’ve made the basic human experience abnormal. Normal activity, inexplicable wave like emotions and experiences, which prompt change and growth,  have become negative attributes. Disruption is the critical marker, but then everything is disruptive, isn’t it? The empty fuel tank light, the nutrient deficient belly after dinner, traffic, red lights, bosses, children.

Parenting is the template to understand everything, Nature, God, whatever you want to call it. It answers all wandering philosophical questions, most importantly God’s alleged apathy. It’s not that nature doesn’t care about us, it’s that we are evolving life forms, who begin life dependent, but must be wired to separate from this life-source and function “independently” and keep the goddam wheels on the thing. I guess, cause that’s the problem, there is an element of illusion in that, limits on free choice, limits on our true independence.

Male and female, and they are real things, provide the solution to the paradox. The positive and the negative give balance to the story. Comedy and Tragedy. Adults are rounded out, settled down through parenting. Patience. Principles. Purpose. These are skills you have to have for Nature to flower and flourish.

There is so much illness and insanity in our culture, you can’t help but analyze some of the basics things, food, sex, employment, and recognize these are the problem areas. As a Father, it seems only right that I view these things through often critical lens. And frankly, when I take that position, it immediately draws you into conflict with the world. Power. Patriarchy. Pride. Potential. Dangerous, possibly prohibited words these days.

It’s easy and right to slip into an US vs. Them mentality though, which objectively isn’t historically the best stuff, but frankly in the small social scale is fundamental.

You should hold your family above others. Or even more yourself above the general thing. I remember that demented thought experiment (that’s basically the best of philosophy, imagine nightmare scenarios and make deductions from them) presented in some college ethic course, imagine you’re on the Titanic, shit goes down, and everyone’s drowning, you see your one kid floating away one direction, but there are like twelve other kids close by, drowning on a bit of wardrobe, who you could save immediately, but then your own kid’s gets a seat in Davy Jones’ locker. What do you do?

No question for me. I’m going for my kid. And curse the boat builder and god itself as I did it, and forever. But it can’t be any other way and it isn’t. More or less we all recognize, there’s nothing we can really do about “it”, is there? What’s worse, this problem is what has society at large in the tank. And it’s because from some quarters (rich and familial) has come the argument of over-population, and the value and pleasure in narcissistic mores of life. Which in reality amounts to shitty television, shitty food, and jerking off. But these apparently are enough, until inevitably they’re not, and so we try to drag the old crusty, models, the skeletons now, out of the heap in the backyard, but they don’t stand right, and we don’t have the tools, nor skills to build them again. Shit…can someone get a six-pack, maybe stop at Mcdonalds, maybe pick Grandpa up from the home, he loves tinkering with this shit….

Random Prosetry 

Creation of the World

Go ahead, you can’t hurt it much.
Tenderest phrase I ever heard.
Your memories are dry, brittle things.
A compost pile of self.
Emotions are the needed water, invigorating life, the microbes
Underneath, amoebas to complex structures,
Reinvested in other life forms
Half finished Frankensteins.
Devoid of moisture, fire is the threat to inorganic matter,
A purging mythic Phoenix, more potent, nutrient dense Mater, future building blocks of the Other. 
Born of old men, half baked narratives of a fifty year old alcoholic Sci-Fi writer, loose leafs on the slush pile.

Thought about PKD, the other night. All alone, with a full house asleep, dying to talk to somebody.

He said he felt Rome, experienced it one day, reality flipped, and it was millennia ago in Rome, and then he came back. I tried to conjure that as I sat in bed. I might have felt it for a second, an ocean marinated wind blowing through weathered wheat stock, but the Borg-head of current self rolled on the theater curtain, destroying the illusion. The technological entity of the future, already born, reinvigorated, forever.

Forget the old, its technetronic back teeth chatter. We can built whatever world we want. I see it squid like in the subconscious, dangling a long, notched vertebrae. 

My friend brought it up at dinner on Sunday. The black web of the future, great unknown, the future of true novelty; we have no clue what’s coming next! We try to rationalize, sure everyone throughout history feels like that. In a way, that’s worse though. That everyone has felt this way, adrift, without harbor, quantum sea monsters rattling against the bottom of the boat…

On Father’s Day 

Perfect night to perfect day. Seventies, clear, clouds like warships marching through the sky. Dad came out, went in on a rant about the curse of the family name, showed a big gash in his head, which he got after a pack of unconscientious gals at the coffee shop got him all riled up and he bumped his head on his car getting in. I don’t like when he says that, that we got bad luck, bad mojo, seems a self-fulfilling prophecy to me. 

Why can’t our genes be associated with victory, success, fortune? I smiled though and listen, even joke in a similar vain, accounting my own similar and recent bad luck, AC went out on Honda, needed new rooters and breaks on the truck. There’s no point, and its negative to fight it. Instead I hijack the genes on my own time, the story in my own mind. We have to accept the darker undertones of the tale, a bastard’s journey to kingship, return of the prodigal son. But what does Promise Land look like? I’ve been forced to consider. 

There’s irony in my Dad’s dark outlook, it’s the other side of over confidence. He was always pretty successful socially, friends, girlfriends. In his high school senior picture he looks like Super Man, Christopher Reeves incarnation. Tall, handsome, full head of hair, stylish white bell bottoms. The caption says he’s helping a younger student. He was class President, Captain of the football team, scholarship offers for wrestling. He idealized those times. His Mom and Dad divorced his senior year. I think this is what got him. Grandpa went a little wild, was an alcoholic. I’m convinced Grandma Gene,  Grandpa Pete’s mom, was a witch, a good one. She made little piles of rocks all through out her yard, stacked up at night under the moon and stars. I feel her in me when I stand in the field at dusk; we are happy, at home. 

Britney cooked huge steaks and veggie packs on the grill. Ran a notable grill, orangey grey charcoal stack. Grandpa played ring-leader with the gang. They teased and provoked, debating how the water balloons would be dished out after lunch. I feel and realize my clone like nature watching it all. How we are the same just slight variations in time and space, even my wife, and how we put up facade of separateness, but it doesn’t mean anything. My Mom had a falling out with her Mom, didn’t talk for years. But I realized later they probably thought about each other more cause of that, obsessively and neurotically probably. 

After lunch we had the water ballon fight and then jumped my rider mower, my Father’s Day miracle. I thought it was done, but we pushed it to my Dad’s car while the boys took turn steering. I could tell the old man had the itch to mow, he’s recently moved from his big yard, but he let me have at it, and went inside with the boys.

I checked in on them later, sat there in a row yucking it up and playing video games. There’s something here that transcends the tawdry, and cheap word “love”, but that’s what it is. It makes my cells ache, yearning to make it permanent, imprint it on the over-soul for eternity. But true success is only when you let go, praise and love, but don’t grasp. I finished my mowing. The farm is looking great. I’m happy like kid. Blessed on a perfect day, so lucky. 

Snippets 104 

Gipsy Fortune Teller
Houdini-Gresham 

Washington, D.C., the nation’s most beautiful city, heart of the democracy, hub of the forty-eight states was in 1926 also the city most infested with palm readers, astrologers, message mediums, slate writers, crystal workers, and “rag head rackets” generally. In the shabbier residential neighborhoods their shingles, showing an upraised palm, were thick; sometimes almost every brownstone house to the block had its prognostication parlor. (264) 

Snippets 103 


Source

Houdini-Gresham 

Vaudeville tempo had changed mightily during the time Houdini was away, selling Liberty Bonds and making motion pictures. The country seemed to be marching to Georgie Cohan’s “Over There.” Autos were faster and roads were better for them to be faster on. Pioneer Station KDKA in Pittsburgh had begun daily broadcasts and America was in the grip of a new mania soon to replace the Ouija board–sitting crouched over crystal sets with earphones clamped to its ears. The big build-it-yourself radio boom was just around the next corner. And to a generation that had gone through the First World War, the sight of a man jumping of a bridge and getting out of handcuffs under water created no hysteria. (227) 

You have nothing to fear!

You have nothing to fear, the worst has already happened. It’s true. I won’t bore you with a list of atrocities, but I’m sure your heart can name a few. More of the worst is sure to come, but you shouldn’t fear that new batch either, because the worst has already happened and passed and come again. It’s probably happening right now, now, now.

I could challenge you to think of the worst fate for a human, and you would not be able to come up with a torture or torment which hasn’t already been accomplished, or one of equal value. My mind can’t think of one, except for exaggerations, like a billion flesh eating fire ants, giant planet destroying meteors, things like that, but of course a short study of the universes, galaxies or whatever will tell you those things probably happen all the time too, like right now, now, now.

So the smallest seemingly trivial aspect of life is a profound accomplishment when it is put in its proper context. Breathing. Calm stream of consciousness. Sip of water. A place to sit. Consequently, most of our worries in this light seem sort of small. Being broke, or single, or overwhelmed by a career or family, is really nothing compared to a planet teeming with life and the possibility of life being annihilated by a giant rock, or nukes, or whatever.

I think most people in life go through this sort of fracturing of self, as bad things happen, until your optimism muscle and sense of self is ruined, and you end up broke, wicked, burned out. That’s why positive people are so special, and usually young, like a raging fire in the blizzard of the cosmos. This truth is why we love Art and Sports, anything that allows us to see passed the true state of things, to a fantasy, for a moment.

But I suggest another way, some days. Stare it in the face. Each moment remember, now, now, now. Each breath, the worst has passed, and you’re still going, and that thing you love is still there. Now. Breathe. Pause. Still there. Now. Breathe. Pause. Still there. Nothing to fear. Now. Breathe. Pause. Still there….

AJM 3:01PM 9-17-16

8-30-16 (Reflections on Dreams, Goals, Executive Function)

My kids are really the coolest thing ever. I don’t brag about them much. Not good when you got a banshee tracking ya. You learn it’s good to be humble. Hell, be down right superstitious. That’s a good word, isn’t it? Knocking on wood, that’s one I got heavy. Can’t make any self-positive prediction of the future without knocking on some real wood. Keep your filthy jokes to yourself.

I don’t want to rant, whine, add to the din as it were. I think that’s why I haven’t posted much here lately, this impulse to go on a rant, and be negative is too strong. I’m tired of it. Tired of talking and analyzing. Tired of thinking. There’s this overgrown path in my front yard. A couple of crazy invasive tree, limb things grew like twenty feet high. The forest of these invasive saplings provided the perfect frame for this crazy beautiful vine thing, so we just let it all go wild. I realized though that maybe it was blocking my afternoon sun, casting a shade on the pepper patch. I liked the privacy it offered, an organic hedge blocking the view of the neighbors, but then I have a hard time keeping tack of my kids in the jungle, and the hedge is just another giant thing they can hid in. Also, I want to reclaim the space for the garden too, so for the last couple days I hacked it up, shoved it into the compost bin. I loved that, just hacking and chopping, thinking minimally, sweating, doing work. That’s how I feel like handling things.

For the last month or longer this vision of selling our city house and going full country became an obsession. The urge to run, to restart, to reclaim a “simpler” life had us hunting properties, and talking to realtors, bankers. When you’re poor everything becomes a numbers game, get the whole feeling of robbing Peter to pay Paul, and that adds to the confusion. We began to realize that our current house is probably our one strong financial asset (as opposed to the crippling student-loan debt) and its didn’t really make sense gambling that on a country life, which would be a crazy amount of work and resources. We have a two year plan to get out of all credit card, and other short term debt. That was always a priority in our mind, but as we got right down to it, as in listing our house, we realized that it just wasn’t smart. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. We have a life right now that works, pretty well. A place of employment that’s close, bills payed, school the boy likes, big enough yard and ability to urban homestead. Another huge point was the fact that staying on our current path allows us to put any extra funds towards fun activities and travel. That became the big final realization, it’s not about things, but about experiences.

Using my “executive function” that’s an idea and phrase I’ve been using frequently in my rants to Britney. Point being that as a parent, a leader of the family you have got to think in this emotionally detached, best outcomes approach. In the familial enterprise it’s not just your dreams or wants that matter. For some that probably reads obvious, but I think being part of the divorced kids generations the problem of egos and values was something I’ve had to give a lot of thought too. Moreover failures in both, are patterns I’m still really working hard to develop out of. Having honor, self-control, dignity, these almost feel like outdated, or even mean words. I think that’s a problem.

I got to stop it there. The force of the rant is just too strong, and the keys make it too easy. I think that’s the problem. The journal format works when you have to push all this drivel out by the force of your own hand. The technology takes the real work and punishment out of it. Thanks technology.