On Thanksgiving (Alternative titles: Grouchy and Stuffed, We Are The Turkey, How to Violate a Turkey, Beware the Bad Puns and the Food Baby)

I realized I was trying to be nice, but not nice. That’s what the holidays are like around here. I offended all when I cancelled the party. But to me, it seemed like the proverbial cart before the horse scenario. Didn’t you have to have the family first, and then the holiday? Wasn’t there something wrong, that it took all that effort to corral everybody. And what about the people you missed? Maybe I was with them. Maybe I was a missed person.

Here’s the key to the Turkey, violate it. Make it the thing that it’s not. It gobbles (fuck yeah) up all flavor, a willing dry, white drawing board of the proteins. I filled it with a spiraled and squeezed lemon (zested as well), apples, celery, carrots, onions, rubbed it with chunky lard, spices, poured a beer on it, one in me for the effort. Kept a gravy pot going the whole day with its neck, heart, liver slowly boiling, would pour the juices from the roasting pan in all day, letting it cool a bit, and then starting it again. Then baste the whole thing with this concoction. Poured a fresh pan of beacon grease on it, added that subsequently to the looping gravy pot.

I was sick by midday, soured mood.  Felt tricked and weak, gluttony had snuck in the back door. It’s the rolls that get you. Sliced into acceptable portions they easily mislead. Beware the rolls. Tortilla roll-ups, creams cheese, sour cream, black olives, green onions, jalapenos, shredded Colby-Jack. Began the feast the night before, the chef’s delight; you must try the food to make sure it is good. Company was spare, burned bridges make it hard for people to get to you. Those that arrived were agreeable, admittedly reserved. Felt Step-Dad Joe was brought as back up for two younger sisters. Maybe not. He was welcoming and kind, offered me more bacon. Gave me a dignified hand shake, pat on the back as he left. It felt okay.

Sigh. I can feel it sitting there in my gut, like the stuffing sat in the bird. We are the bird. We are stuffed in sweaters, sweetened, marinated propped up to one another as sign of our continued thanks, our self. I’m not buying it. Feel like I’m carrying old, dusty sumer-camp props, and its sort of embarrassing everyone, embarrassing me. And I try to change it, but that only means I’m the one holding the hot potato (it just comes naturally). Key to mashed-potatoes is to forget the boil. Steam them in hole chunks, get some melted, real butter, in your mixing bowl, add sour cream and chive chip dip, salt/pepper, use a fork or knife and you can just broad chop/mash the spuds with the butter and dip, garnish with roasted garlic and herbs, and slow roast for a second time.

Food coma, four to five. It was a beautiful day though. Sunny, clear skies, forties. I managed to carry my bowl movement around the large yard a couple times. Zombie like, watched a 6 month old Daphne punk our 12 weeks old Cash. Wanted to stop it, better to work the two young beasts properly, but the food baby wouldn’t allow that. The year was at peak gestation. I had to sit in it and let the chips fall (purposeful and terrible double puns there) where they may. All you could do was suffer under it. I apologized repeatedly for my lack of social skills, energy, overeating, like I was injured or elderly.

After the swim in the darkness, things got back on course. Bowel movement, shower, some crying, yelling at my wife for her culinary arts, a Dr. Phil session, a walk under a brilliant full moon (it was like the moon was its own street light, painting everything with its white-ish blue) and I was basically back to normal. Going to do push-ups the rest of the night. NO FOOD WILL TOUCH MY LIPS UNTIL TOMORROW, AFTER 10ish, WHERE I WILL LIKELY OVER-EAT AGAIN…Leftovers come on! I’m going full ninja-mood on Monday, full ketosis diet, no carbs for month, my wife gets to knee me two times in the crotch a day, and I have to shove Jerusalem Artichokes up my glory hole or something , so don’t be judgemental And think what it could do for the writing!

These holiday are fucked, reconsider. Alternative suggestion, be thankful everyday.

 

 

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.

On Writing (My Only Refuge)

It’s been a spectacular month or so (life-time really). I’ve burned so many bridges recently. And at the end of it all, I’ve come back to what I’ve always known, that writing is my only hope. I wish I could say I felt bad for burning all those bridges, but the exact opposite is true. I felt more alive then I have felt in years. I found the flames beautiful, loved the sound of crashing concrete, huffed the smell as it rebounded back on me. And more then anything I loved that the people on the otherside finally looked alive, were moving again, scrambling, often with flashes of a sly lil smirk. Admittedly, that both infuriates and thrills me.

It infuriates because I wonder why didnt they just join me in the first place, if they wanted it like I did. And thrills for the same reason. The thing in me is in them. We will all dance joyfully at the bonfire at the end of the world.

About a month ago, I finally let loose on my absentee Father. Called him names, expressed my outrage and frustration with ranty blocks of texts. Decimated every excuse and rationalization he tried to roll out. My decades of analysis, in his absence, had over-prepared me in this feat. In the end, he was just a puddle of apologies. The only thing I felt bad about was that I didnt sponge that puddle up and incinerate it, that I let it crawl away and recoagulate. But the proverbial gloves are off and there’s something beyond liberating in that.

Now I hunt for new meat to chew on. But it’s hard to find. An old friend was delivered by God today, but he proved much softer and less substantive then he had always boasted. And his weak punting on the whole thing, only inflamed the spirit more. Which as the smoke settled, and I stood there under the black sky and the stars dangled, I was reminded that words are my only refuge.

Here I will make my stand. Scream into the great abyss, until that thing finally wakes up and addresses me directly. And finally I may have something to chew on.

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.

On Learning to Write Your Name

The “K” is a man kicking and punching. The “e” is a wave, that’s rolling this way (counter-clock wise). The “i” is a line that makes a torch. See the light on top there. The man grabs it and makes his was to the “n”, the inn. That’s Kein.

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…

6-20-18 On Chickens, The Rain, 1997 Honda Odyssey, Stephen King Netherworlds

If I don’t get out early enough to feed the chickens, they start coming out of the electric fence. We must be grounding out somewhere, but all the fiddling hasn’t seemed to fix it. They all sneak back in though, once the food is out, but having 30-some chickens squawking at ya, chasing you around the yard every morning can be anxiety inducing.

There’s been a bit of civil strife in chicken land. Early in spring, we moved the original dozen chickens out to the field, in a chicken tractor, to let the twenty-or-so teenage birds have the coop. Eventually the new chicks were big enough, and it was hot enough, so it seemed best to bring them together in the coop, which was shadier and easier to do all the chores together at once.

The OG girls were happy to be home, but not happy with what they deemed to be the squatters in their spot. I had to play rooster to the bunch during some early feedings, to discourage pecking. Some general state of equilibrium had set it, I believed. Yet some on both sides, show signs of tussling, nicks in their crops and such.

Routines are interesting, how they build up so much momentum. I realize that every morning, that it’s my unavoidable habit of feeding them, after they’ve run out, that ultimately reinforces the unwanted behavior. And then I’m able to step back and say, what’s really the harm? Rather, could I calm down in the moment? Let go of the absurd resentment of a creature foraging for their food. And just allow myself to let the moment be as it is.

They stop yelling when the food is finally distributed. They’re eating good on kitchen scrapes, cabbage Leaves, and all the weeds and things they can forage, or are tossed into them, so I know the morning swarm is unwarranted anxiety. I’ve developed the ability to identify a number of wild edibles, dandelions (easy one), nettles, lamb’s quartets, purslane, etc, and the chickens tear through all stuff too.

Two days of rain have it way cooled down, an ideal late stage spring day. And instead of watering, I got to weed one of two large raspberry patches, 50 new plants total, that we just started this spring. I collected and spread compost for those and some pepper plants, while Britney and the kids burned our papers. There was a moment there, with the orange fire coming out the side of the barrel and the setting blue sky, I thought to myself, this is paradise. I couldn’t ask for anything else. I don’t deserve this. Grace made this.

Stayed cloudy til dark. All those blues and whites. Dark spots of the storm. Swirling whites cloud, thick lines of the painter’s brush.

The skies went that ominous grey-green last Thursday. Got caught out in it, picking the boys up from reading group at the library. Our 1997 Honda Odyssey, is an archeological phenomena. Mostly Mechanically reliable, yet defrost remains one of its greatest flaws. The rain, hail and four anxious breathers had us in a thick, Stephen King-like netherworld, at sixty out on the deep country highway. Had to demand the oldest boys shirt, which he struggled with in the thick milieu. Making it to our turn somehow, we found our gravel road deteriorating with thick rivers in the ditches, rolling with glorious and destructive tan water. This rain is everything. Even in the danger zone, we were grateful.

6-16-18 On Hearing Animals

It was about six months ago I began hearing people’s animals. Happened out of nowhere, at the grocery store, I believe. It sounded like a squirrel was right behind me, chittering from a tree. I looked around awkwardly, and tried to recover with a smile at the cashier. When she smiled back, the crackle took a slight uptick in pitch and stopped. As I walked away, she went back to staring around the store absentmindedly, churring all the while.

There’s an uncomfortable amount of mosquitoes. It makes large places like the mall impossible. Zet. Zet. Zeeeeeee. Lil choirs of families, buzzing down the cold geometric floors. Talking to them it can be innocuous at the surface, but the whole time you can feel their teeth on you chewing. Zet. Zip. Zee. Off for the next thing.

A lot of bears. They live in the throat to the belly zone. Heavy breathing, and loud steps give them away.. Lots of these bears seem off though. Like old deranged bears, on a farewell, narcotic induced walk to hibernation. Generally harmless, unless startled, then there could be trouble. One layered mass of a lady bear half grunted to my kids today as their floaty wandered by. Some mushy attempt of help? I lay belly down in questionable 3feet lake water appraising the situation for alarm. The invisible bear of her true self right behind her, breathing heavy in the heat.

Plenty of dogs and cats, as expected. They make up a reassuring majority, but frankly a good chunk of them are prone to the common failure of their respective spirit animal. Impulsive, thrill seeking dogs types, aggressive breeds of pit bulls and St. Bernards, rabid hungry street mutts. Always working, always problems, but determination all the same.

With cats, the majority are calm and isolated, a pleasure if willing, purring. Stand off-ish if a request is ill received. Some cat-shit crazy, hyper focused on an confusing task, like finding the right bottle of bathroom cleaner. Bigger wild varieties of wolves, lions, tigers, occur rarely, and are obvious to everyone, unless they hunting. Then, you’re in trouble…

2-8-18 (a brief sketch of self, on the failure of language, and irony, reluctantly released, too much slip showing)

And it’s all just words, empty phrases and utterances. A man struggling not to drown, is what a writer (person?) is. But all that verbal flailing seems to be the core of the problem. All these extra words are just bad techniques which have to be abandoned in the next attempt. Just an endless sowing of existential angst, a tone which escalates in feverish pitch, but never hits that ceiling, never climaxes.

I’ve been learning Spanish. Do it on duo-lingo on my phone. It’s fun and I can just tear through the exercises, the same strength and weakness of intuitive ability at play. . You can feel the shared history of words from the morphing collective feel of them. Peace, Paz, Pax, Pace.

You know about the Tower of Babel? Ah, fuck it. Point I was going to make was about how language fails us at its critical task, namely talking to one another. Because there’s always this gap of language and inner psychology, that obscures shared understanding. You don’t know what the words mean, objectively or subjectively to the other person, or really to yourself either.

What attracted me to words early on has soured and now often repulses. I was trying to figure “it” out. The whole pie, in and out, and the words were a safe and more importantly available way to get at the thing. But now they’ve not satiated, yet left their remnants, and they’ve warped the vessel.

Not broken, note, just warped. To the point they can just pour and pour and fill and fill, and the original hexagonal spout, from having been turned so many times, has worn round and in the flood it can be hard to find and grip it. What’s worse (better?) is you’ve grown amphibious, developed gills and you can make it work underwater, but other can’t, and they start to pull away for air.

1.15.18 (a brief sketch of self, across the space time continuum, two paragraphs, mittens) 


Woke up from the strangest dream. My family and I, are on an adventure, through some unknown city, a walk back to our vehicle, a familiar, yet different, older van. Chay and I are in the middle seats, and we drive for a mundane moment. Until, we pull into a building and a dream becomes a dream. 

We’re in a tunnel, and before I know it we’ve blasted off, through some worm-hole time tunnel thing. I open my eyes for a second, and it’s a glittering kaleidoscopic other world, seen in yesteryear, too beautiful to stare at. I close my eyes, losing my breath, and reach for my boy’s hand. It’s there I can feel it through the mitten, so real, how soft the loose material is, how it slides on his little fingers in my grip, so real.