whirlpooled topics unbackspaced. streams of consciousness. blurts. scribbled notes. outlined ideas. velocity waves. snatches from icloud. because self-editing is a writer’s cowardly way of preventing a reader from fucking the writer's confidence. dates don't matter. memories and moments aren't chronologically marked on the soul.

Indefectibility

I’m sitting near my window and feeling the sunshine scented breeze on my face. I have a large tree that shades my front yard. Oh it’s small. A yard not a lawn. If i twist my neck I can see a squirrel gnawing on a branch. He’s sending leaves and shavings to the ground. But you know what? He can’t destroy the tree. There are so many trees and so many nibblers. But they can’t destroy a forest. Remember that. I remembered it. I remembered it while I watched the leaves fall and touch the grass.

Be Headers

How many times did your boss tell you to do something - and you didn’t do it? How many times did your mom or dad tell you not to do something - and you disobeyed? How many times did you not finish your homework? Skip school? Smoke pot? Drink before it was legal? Tell a lie? Break your vow? Cheat on your spouse? Pad your expense account? Take too long a lunch? Take candy out of a co-worker’s dish? Did you listen to the doctor when he/she told you to lose weight? Quit smoking? Cut your cholesterol? Floss? 

And who was culpable for your infractions? Was your boss fired? Were your parents beheaded? Was your teacher terminated? Did your spouse leave you? Did your doctor lose his/her license? 

We’ve all broken rules. 

And for those who lead others - what do you do when no one keeps the rule? Starve him? Evict her? Terminate her? Imprison him? Assume the consequence for them? 

How large much each infraction be? Who judges the breach? 

So the “leadership has failed.

Did it? Did each subordinate keep each rule? Follow each order? Honor each vow? 

The leadership has failed. They've got to go!

That’s quite a beheading policy. Well, I’m not going to pick up a stone and aim a pelt.

Here’s a thought: we make laws and we hold each human being responsible and culpable for his/her infraction. 

Apparently, even an eye for an eye wasn’t strict enough for your sense of justice. 

Apparently, justice will only be served when we’re all blind. 

But don’t you see, we’re already there.

Tongue Lashes

My previously close friend from high school looked up at me and said he felt I suffered from “mental illness” because I still believed in Roman Catholicism. Seriously. By the way, he posts daily about the inhumanity and vileness of republicans. The man needs a mirror.

I don't know when men of faith were reduced to the punchline or to the special bus stop.

Theology is similar to math. I cannot prove mathematical theorems to someone who doesn’t understand an equation. (Note the root of the word theology and of the word theorem.) There are humans who have a greater understanding of God and His wonders. I don’t understand dismissing some of the greatest minds in history (Saint Augustine,  Saint Thomas Aquinas,  Kierkegaard,  Saint Teresa of Ávila) simply because one can’t grasp all the aspects of their thoughts.

The notion that men and women of faith are limited, naive, daft, or foolhardy is as venomous as racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia. Only a fool dismisses and hates and persecutes those he cannot understand. 

You perhaps don’t speak French, but that doesn’t mean Parisians speak gibberish.

Seen From A Marriage 2019

3 times a day - sometimes 4 - my 81 year old Mother sits across the table from my Father and reminds him to turn his head while he swallows and wait 5 seconds between the end of the swallow and the beginning of a new spoonful. My father aspirates. The food goes down his windpipe instead of his esophagus and contaminates his lungs until he has pneumonia. At 85 he sometimes forgets between bites to turn his head. So with each bite my Mother gently places her palm on his forearm and says, “now turn your head. Swallow. 1,2,3,4,5.” Every day. Each meal. Every time he drinks. Always. Patiently. Kindly. Lovingly. 

Every night before he goes to bed, my 85 year old father takes three tissues out of the Kleenex box, folds them, and puts them on the nightstand beside my mother’s side of their bed. And then he bends over and arranges her bedroom slippers so that the toes point away from the bed and my mother can slide into them. My father uses a walker and he walks in sort of a shuffle/slide/sigh rhythm. Moving is difficult for him. But we have hand rails on the bed and he negotiates around a double bed in the middle of a 9x10 bedroom. He puts his oxygen on and lays down holding a flashlight. He holds the flashlight in case my mother needs to get up in the middle of the night. He lights the bathroom door so she can see in the dark. Even when my father was in the hospital, he would remind us about the slippers and the Kleenex. Marriage. Exquisite and heartbreaking. Family.

Not Gone Yet

Oh the ipad. I‘m sprawled under the covers and tapping out my velocity wave. I rewatched "Gone With The Wind." Helluva film. I‘d forgotten how exquisitely beautiful Vivien Leigh was. And yes, it's problematic. But anyone without his head up his ass knows the characters Mammy and Pork are the only two morally pure characters in the novel. GWTW is the only novel that became a great film (I'm looking at you Owen Meany and Bonfire of The Vanities.) I remembered tonight the first time I saw it. 1967. I know 1967 because I researched and found it was rereleased that year. I was 5. My parents took our family to Manhattan Kansas to see a matinee. We lived in Junction City so it was an event! I vividly recall the burning of Atlanta scene. And the massive movie screen. I think it was the first film I saw in a theatre. 

Memories. 

Someone recently accused me of having mood swings. Well, he doesn’t really know me. I do not. I don’t have moods. I have emotions. I accept my emotions. I’m comfortable emotionally reacting to a kaleidoscope of situations. As a man, I’m not embarrassed to express my emotions. As a writer, I’m gifted with the ability to describe each emotion. These last three years. They've been frightening. They've been sorrowfilled and joyful. I’ve intimately and fully experienced a vast array of emotions. Now, my health has improved; my parents have not. I am their caretaker. They're not tucked in a room or on a floor or in a facility. They're in our home. Each day we inch closer toward our endings. Each moment is jammed with heightened emotions. We’re saddened. We’re frightened. We’re worried. We’re relieved. We’re anxious. But we’re not hopeful. 

It’s a privilege to be present. It’s a privilege to share, to give, to take, and to FEEL. My closest friends are leaving me. We’ve been in a relationship for 57 years. I try to spend each moment of my life marking each aspect of it. I write my emotions because I want to mark those moments. Because it’s how I process my losses. Because it’s how I expend the sorrows. At this juncture of my life I’m experiencing the greatest lessons and emotions possible. And I’ll be goddamned if I don’t conjugate every verb and experience every adjective. 

I just had a thought I wish to tack to this end: true stress is in the adverb. Do you understand that? As a Roman Catholic, I’m trying with the depths of my immortal soul to perfect each adverb. That’s the most difficult challenge of all.

Markings


Mrs. Cunningham died. I read her obituary in today’s newspaper. She taught political science at my high school. We ran into each other quite frequently over the years. We lived near each other. We saw each other at Catholic functions. She frequented the same bar I did. A fine lady. May she rest in peace. The rumor in high school was that she’d been a nun and quit. I asked her. No. She had not. Her words: just a broad from Brooklyn. All her life she retained her accent. 

Now. This book: she told me two high school teachers were previously nuns. One - Mildred Hemmelgarn - had quit the convent and married a man who quit the priesthood. When Mrs. Hemmelgarn heard I intended to join the seminary, she attended my graduation party and gave me this book. Oddest part - I read it again last night. Marvelous book. Marvelous. 

When I read Mrs. Cunningham’s obituary this morning I thought of Mrs. Hemmelgarn. If you ever want to delve beneath the surface of contemporary literature and want to nourish the soul, this is a great read.

The Sync

Each morning as I head to the bathroom - I give my ass a good scratch, I tuck myself, I wash my hands, and I decide. Will I lift my head and reflect? Or will I refuse introspection and bow my head and tend to my teeth. I reflected this morning. 

I don't see myself in contemporary culture. I'm as absent as the back teeth stolen from my smile by diabetes: my place remains but the space merely marks the missing. I'm out of sync. I don't fit. 

And as I gaze into society, I don't see my beliefs reflected. I don't fit emotionally, spiritually, politically, or ideologically. I haven't felt like this since, oh hell, high school? No. College. In high school I didn't fit the mold of masculinity. In the seminary I didn't fit the mold of spirituality. But I soothed myself with the notion of subsets. I was confined in a subculture of anachronism. And I dreamt of a bigger set. I envisioned inclusion in a global catholicism. So I remained set in my ways; my beliefs set in a stone: solid, spherical, secured. 

I remain in a subset. I don't feel unfit. I just feel alone.