Midnight Blue Marmalade Man

A switchblade

Open heart surgery

Without any warning

Stumbling around with

Guts hanging out

(Can you see this picture? We were never full of cotton or feathers

or some kind of poly-fiber stuffing.)

Swinging about with threads

Of ourselves

Of pink, and red, and blue

Yet I have this yellow one

I would use

To sew your heart for you.

A goldenrod middle C

Hertz level to help the hurt levels

Tailoring the hem of these moments

To not drag through past transgressions

Brought about by broken people

Doing broken things

Stumbling like myself on those outside stairs

When you saw how I could dance dance dance only a few hours ago.

It was said,

“You are the last thing I needed and the very thing I needed all at once.”

That is still true.

Complex the complexion becomes

With all this talk of jam and jelly

Writing words in a book

On a table

In The Small Market on Hosea Williams

The light coming through at a just-so angle

Enough to highlight the blue in your eyes

To pull out the strength I see there

(yet you say you are not strong

You are, my darling, you are.)

Fourteen thousand conversations at least

Bated breath waiting to have

But never enough time

to do tosaytoplaytowritetomaketogotoseetolovetohold

This is what I know --

A goldenrod thread

In the needle

Cross my heart

Wherever these times together take us

You are a marmalade man, an enigma,

You are a midnight-blue treasure

Trove of redemption and

If the prize was you

I would buy at least a million raffle tickets

Redeem them all for the chance

To spend another evening tall boy drinking dancing to the blues.

-- Midnight Blue Marmalade Man by Meghan Quinn (that would be moi, by the by. My maiden name is Quinn.)

 

I think it was a conversation with my sister, Erin, in the Spring of 2016 that convinced me to sign up for OK Cupid, but honestly I can't remember. She had been sharing some horror stories of "men" who were contacting her on the OK Cupid app; they were so awkwardly bad and yet simultaneously hilarious I decided to jump on there kinda out of solidarity and kinda out of curiosity. I had resigned myself to the fact that, indeed, love alone was not going to save my marriage. Erin told me that, too. "You need to get over him, Meg. He has moved on, you need to as well." That was a hard thing to hear. If any of you know me at all and my story, you know that the end of my marriage to Zack Arias was truly one of the most devastating times of my life. I loved that man so so much and the fact that it was not returned, the fact that the year before he had already found someone else he liked better, was a blow I thought I would never recover from. 

I summoned my inner Bob and told myself, "Baby steps, Meg. Baby steps."

 

Wading through the craziness of online dating is not for the faint of heart. However, through all of the detritus, I was lucky in that I met a few gentlemen who seemed nice enough, went on a few dates, but nothing sparked really. Mostly I was going through what Erin was going through which was an inundation of men messaging me who obviously had nothing in common with me and hadn't read anything about me at all. I did my due diligence when my profile was "liked" by another by visiting their profile. This was usually disappointing and resulted in me reaching for a bottle of wine.

July 29, 2016. I had just finished reading the profile of a man who had liked my profile. Despite the fact that that he lived in Woodstock, GA and despite the fact that I wasn't too sure what he looked like (his profile picture was of him playing the drums and looking down and another picture was terribly dark and hard to make out) I appreciated his use of the English language and the fact that he seemed to possess intelligence and wit even in his description of himself. Double points went to him as well for not sending me a marriage proposal, a dick pic, or some sort of monosyllabic greeting along the lines of, " 'Sup" or "Hey" or "UR pretty". So, I clicked the little star next to his user name and liked his profile back. 

"You like each other!" OK Cupid told me. 

Great, I thought, we like each other. 

So a day later I wrote him a little note:

"We like each other. So says this app. So. Let this be the first contact."

A day later he replied,

"I shall. This provides a convenient segue to this being second contact. As the respondent I somehow feel as though the weight of substance is on me. Must write something quality. Have I yet? Sorry I was distracted by thinking of something. Besides we all know man was created in god's image which is why god is so fucked up."

(In that last sentence he was referring to something I had written in my profile about religion)

This is promising, I thought. I wrote back,

"And now this is the third contact. I am still mulling over your last sentence. It makes sense and then it doesn't. Do you mind elaborating?"

"There is something altogether disturbing how, if we were created in god's image, every portrayal of god is so man-like. The statement that god created us in his image almost seems to go both ways, i.e we say we are of his likeness in order to justify him being of our likeness. By doing so we are able to sanction and/or justify mutually agreed-upon goodness as god-like and the opposite of an entirely different ilk. Enter Satan. But that is for further discussion. The outcome (in my speculative opinion, of course) is that god must therefore be arbitrary, fickle and subject to the aegis of the moral majority. This the best I can do in informal writing. I'm much better at connecting the dots in conversation."

Jibbers Crabst I'm actually having a decent message exchange with a man on OK Cupid. My interest was more than piqued at this point. 

"I am much better at connecting dots in conversation as well. At least on topics like this. Your explanation was quite good, actually. For the record I am quite good at connect-the-dots as well and am quite the daredevil in that I use an ink PEN. ;-) So...Woodstock, hey? I live in Atlanta -- in Kirkwood to be precise. I think I was in Woodstock once. Do you ever come into the city?"

"When given reason, yes. I saw Swans at Terminal West little bit ago, braved IKEA, etc. I used to live in Home Park area and Cabbagetown before that. Once I lived in a loft apartment on Mitchell St across from the juvie building and the GA Dome. I haven't been around the city much since I moved back 2 years ago. Kirkwood is west of the city, right? Near Ormewood?"

"It's actually east in between EAV and Decatur."

"Ah. That's an area I have little experience in. Went to downtown Decatur a few times to see shows at Eddie's Attic but that's about it. Unless that's not Decatur in which case I'm totally lost. I believe I have seen a band or two at the Earl also. My time in the city is a little blurred unfortunately and it's been almost 10 years."

The fact that he lived in Woodstock did not deter me. I sensed something special in this man. Did I know what he looked like? Nope. Did I care? Not really. My gut was telling me to follow up on this. There is something here, my gut said. I agree wholeheartedly, my brain said. Well, since we're all in agreement I told myself, I'm going to ask him out. 

"Would you like to remedy that? Meet me for drinks?"

He replied that he would be delighted to and after some back and forth logisticating we settled on meeting at Johnnie McCracken's in Marietta Square on August 9th at 8:30pm. He said his name was Philip. I told him my name was Meg. We exchanged phone numbers. 

"See you then," he wrote. And then, about an hour later he wrote, "Happy emoji."

The evening of August 9th I think I tried on about 17 different outfits. 

Okay. Maybe more like 6. I don't even have enough clothes to make 17 different outfits. 

Okay. Maybe I have enough clothes to make 17 different outfits but they'd be comprised mostly of ratty ol' t-shirts and pajama pants.

I digress.

THE POINT IS I WAS NERVOUS.

I met Philip before I realized I had met Philip. When we met I thought his name was Ryan. 

Let me 'splain.

I was driving around looking for parking and messaged Philip to say so. He replied to say that there was parking behind Johnnie McCracken's which is where I happened to be parking at that exact moment. 

"Great! I'm already here and parking!" I replied.

I got out of my car and saw that there was one of those old parking stations with the little slots where one is supposed to stuff cash in according to the number where one's car was parked. I didn't have cash. 

"You don't have to pay for parking after 6pm," I heard a voice say to my left.

I looked over and saw a handsome man with glasses standing there with a PBR in his hand. Black t-shirt with Buddha playing a guitar on the front. Jeans. Converse. Cute. I really hope this is Philip, I thought to myself. I smiled brightly, extended my hand and said, 

"Hi! I'm Meg! Are you Philip?"

He took my hand and said -- well, let me clarify -- I thought he said, "No, I'm Ryan..." at which point I kind of tuned out and went back to my car to get my purse. I needed to reserve all of my energy on the person I was there to meet, not some guy named Ryan helping out women with their parking woes in the back parking lot of Johnnie McCracken's. 

"Well, thanks so much for your help! I appreciate you letting me know about the parking."

I began to walk towards the pub thinking that any minute this man would veer off and join whatever he group of people or person he was there with. I thought perhaps he had been in the back patio area, saw me staring at the parking thingy, and thought to help.

But no. 

He followed me up the stairs and inside. I turned and thanked him again for his help and began scouring the bar for Philip. I wasn't sure what he looked like. Would he recognize me? 

Ryan stood next to me for a bit while I looked around, trying to ignore him, and then he said,

"Um. There's an area up front that's more of a dining area if you'd like to sit there or I've been hanging out in this little room on the couch. Where would you like to sit?"

It hit me then.

This was not Ryan. This was Philip. I had been acting aloof and had donned my polite-with-strangers-but-have-no-intention-of-making-conversation-Meghan persona. This was the wrong persona.

I quickly tried to rescue the situation.

"'Cause you're Philip, right?"

He looked confused.

"Yeeesssss."

"HAHA! I knew that. I was just kidding. I have to pee."

I took off for the bathroom where I did not pee, I just stood in front of the mirror and grimaced at myself and said, "How did you miss that? Great way to start things, Meg. REALLY GREAT."

I walked out and sat down on the opposite end of the couch where Philip was sitting and began the arduous process of making small talk. That very quickly turned into not small talk. He made an Eddie Izzard reference. I fired one back. Our eyebrows raised. We moved closer together on the couch. We found out that we both attended all kinds of shows at Miracle Theater and shows at The Strand in the 90s and that we knew a lot of the same people. We had been standing next to each other at Prayer Chain and Violet Burning and Sunny Day Real Estate shows for our teenage years and yet had never met.

"I do hope you don't think me too presumptuous, but would you be interested in coming back to my place to continue talking?"

I didn't think that was presumptuous at all. I followed him home. We hung out for a bit and then he suggested that we jam. He jumped on the drums and I grabbed a guitar and we played and I sang and I just reveled in the fact that I was having a blast playing music with this man I just met but felt like I had known for forever.

I left around 3am. He kissed me goodbye. It was a really good kiss. A gentleman's kiss. Do you know what I mean? I felt...safe. Concerned for. Seen.

It would be two nights later, when we were hanging out again, that we connected the dots on how I messed up our introduction. 

"I thought you said your name was Ryan!"

"OH. That makes so much more sense now!" Philip laughed. 

"What did you say?"

"I said, 'No, I'm just a random man offering unsolicited parking advice to a lady in a parking lot."

Which, now that I know Philip the way that I do, makes me laugh even more because it makes perfect sense that he would respond in such a dry humor sort of a way.

He wrote me a song. He wrote me words that actually said something. I mentioned him indirectly in this blog post.

Why am I writing this?

Because we've known each other now for one year and two days. We've been pretty much inseparable ever since. Because the moment I let go of something that I didn't need to hold onto anymore my heart was able to heal, and in the healing I was open and able to receive a gift in this man that I cannot quantify. There aren't words. The next chapter of my life started the day I met Philip, or maybe the next book of my life. His voice is midnight blue in my head and he is sweet and bitter and yummy and unexpected. 

There is so much more I could write about his strength and kindness and sense of humor and intelligence and talent and way of looking at the world. So much I could say about how well he loves me and my boys. He is a treasure. He is a gift. 

So. That's all for now, I guess. I wanted to mark this time. 

Life is very hard and very good all at the same time. Sometimes the things in your life you would have never ever chosen for yourself end up being the best things to ever happen to you.

Can you relate?

 

 

 

P.S. Erin will most likely kill me when she reads this but -- If you happen to be someone who has the balls to be in a relationship with a kick-ass single mom of four kids, who is funny and beautiful and quirky and smart and tough as nails, and who is my sister, Erin, let me know. She has had the WORST luck finding someone worth her time. Oh, and you must love Jesus. She is a very dedicated Christian. But seriously -- she's a lot like me only way prettier and in possession of some crazy strong willpower. Erin sees a cookie? Meh. Probably has gluten and dairy in it and I don't need it, she says to herself. Meg sees a cookie? OOOOOH. COOKIES. I EAT COOKIES. I PUT COOKIE IN MOUF AND GOBBLE IT ALL UP.

Stones of Remembrance

The stories in the scriptures

Where he or she or they

Gathered rocks to build monuments of remembrance

To mark a moment in time

The notable

The painful

The important

The beautiful

Have made their way into my head.

And I know

That if I were to build my own rocks for you

They would be like

The Great Fucking Pyramid of Giza

Figuratively

On par with the Mona Lisa

Mount Everest sized

Too high for eyes.

 

You were my prize and I yours

Outstanding among ten thousands

Light of my life

Knife of my heart

 

Maybe I will miss you forever.

 

Jenny and Cheese Grits and Jiggly Bits and Thinkings and Bad Punctuation

It’s been at least 730 days and most likely a lot more since I have seen sweet Jenny from Michigan (I wrote a song about her called "Atoms" -- maybe one day I'll share it) and yet today, after all those other days that have passed, over her picked apart breakfast quesadilla, she says to me something along the lines of,

“Are you sure what you’re holding out for is because it’s what you want or because of the story?”

I think I stared at my cheese grits. I think I stared at the place above her head.

I think I stared right down into myself.

This is what I have learned:

If you have a modicum of connection with someone; if you have a semblance of chemistry and physical attraction and enjoy being with them, then you can make anything work.  

But what about passion? What about love?

Perhaps it’s impossible to stay “in love” with someone.  It settles down, that love. It burrows into you and, if you forget to choose that person everyday, if you stop remembering that they are another human person who cannot fulfill all the places in you that you thought they could (whether conscious of it or not), if you start thinking that their mess-ups are somehow directed at you, well – then it’s easy to give up.

Even when you’re trying. Or you think you are. Sometimes your very best at the time simply is not enough for your other person. One of you is trying more than the other and vice-versa and it seems too hard to try and synch up the trying.

It’s easy to fall in love. It’s hard as fuck to stay there.

It’s easy to find yourself connecting with another person. It’s hard as fuck to remember the love and the connection. It’s hard as fuck to keep choosing to choose them.

Dirty underwear.

Dirty dishes.

Dirty house.

Dirty hearts.

Dirty hopes.

Everything filtering through

Our separate filters

Of what is right

Of what is wrong

Of what that should mean

Of what they should’ve known

A man was watching soccer on the T.V.

At the bar at Brezza Cucina and quoted,

“If you don’t understand my silence

Then you don’t deserve my words.”

But is that truth?

And then we’re sick.

And then he’s sick.

And then you’re sick.

And then you’re both happy in Paris.

And you’re sad in Oregon

And he’s upset in North Georgia

And you’re crying because you made a mistake

And it’s scary to say you’re scared

And he’s angry because he wants what he thinks you got to have

And yet you didn’t really want it – it was a night you hate.

And then the bills.

And then the calendar.

And the kids.

And then their parents.

And then your anger.

And then his disappearing.

And then your (you’re) trying and failing.

And then his trying and failing.

And then the words.

And then the not words.

And then can’t you see I’m reaching for you?

And didn’t you know how much you were hurting me?

And yet he met you on the porch with the music and the wine and the porch swing and the chair and you could see a way through.

And you thought he could, too.

 

If I could draw a picture of this everyone who saw it would understand.

 

We have all been here. There. Everywhere.

 

Where two are gathered together eventually someone is going to be in a lot of pain.

 

I’m hurting you’re hurting we’re hurting we hurt.

And if a bomb didn’t know it was a bomb

Went off; blew everyone to bits, including itself,

What does that say about the bomb?

Do any of us really know what we are these days?

I saw myself as crawling up a mountain and all you could see were the rocks that were hitting you in my wake.

While you were secretly mapping a new way

I took for granted that what we had was invincible.

I thought we were invincible.

We could still be invincible.

Tell ‘em David,

“We could be Heroes.”

 

And then you meet a person.

And you weren’t expecting to meet a person.

And it’s easy.

And you think to yourself,

“This is lovely.”

And your heart shakes its head and pinches its forehead

And your brain shifts in its seat and looks at you knowingly

And you look back and say,

“What?”

And they say,

“Again?”

And you say,

“What else am I supposed to do? I was easy to love once. He put it in a picture, on a train, in the middle of the night. Perhaps I can be again.”

 

It hits you then, that yes – you are easy to love.

 

You stop waiting for someone to tell you you’re loved and you just decide to love yourself.   

 

THAT IS HARD TO DO.

 

But then Jenny is sitting there, all aquamarine eyes and talking of the Good Book, and making you laugh and the cream in your coffee is still swirling and waiting for a spoon and you think of the man with the drums and the glasses and the big big heart who sends you songs he’s written who uses “ameliorate” in a sentence who does better accents than you who suffers from a Catholic-like contrition who makes benches for an animal hospital who tries to roller skate and shares his nachos and who tells you you’re beautiful and tells you you’re amazing and tells you he likes you a lot and yet you realize he knows nothing about you (does he really want to?) or your broken broken broken heart and your mangled mangled mangled life and you imagine walking up to him, holding a shoe – maybe one of your favorite red boots – and saying,

“I am a complicated literal bi-polar woman who loves hard, fucks up a lot, night owl who suffers from insomnia, who suffers with out of nowhere migraines, who feels too much and thinks too much and imagines too much who used to be so so angry about all the wrong things and is learning how to not be angry and be grateful for all of the right things and yet who is TRYING SO GODDAMN HARD TO DO THE FUCKING BEST I CAN. I have jiggly bits and not so jiggly bits and nice tits that sag a little and blue eyes and I can sing and I like to dance, maybe not well but I like to dance, and I like to make things out of bits of paper and I like to paint googly-eyes on thrift store paintings and drink cheap beer in the wee hours of the morning and sometimes I cry and then get mad ‘cause I cried and I don’t sweat in a pretty way, mostly I turn red and just look weird, and I snore and my hair turns into really bad art installations in the middle of the night, and I’ve made two people in my life – one out of youth and one out of deep deep love -- and I’m stinkin’ proud of both of my peoples and I’ll most likely be a really adorable old lady and I can tell a good joke and I don’t laugh I cackle and I’m smart and I read and I start things I don’t finish and I finish things I didn’t mean to start and I am the villain in someone else’s story and a hero in someone else’s and I stand in the middle of this doorway between when I was born and when I will die and I AM JUST TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW NOT TO FUCK MORE THINGS UP.”

 

This is where you imagine dropping your red boot on the ground and then you say,

“There; the other shoe just dropped.”

 

Jenny is watching the video of him playing the guitar and I say,

“Watch, he’ll smile at the camera in a bit; I love that part.”

 

I will be 38 in five days.

What have I learned?

We are all just walking each other home. We are all doing our best to survive. We are all trying.

$50 that I do not have...

...and so therefore I still have this website.

Great.

I had forgotten I had it. 

I suppose there was a part of me, somewhere in the back of my mind, the part of me that creates and writes and has things to say, that part of me still knew this was here. The me right now, the me that is doing my darndest to merely EXIST, had forgotten. Right now I think about things like, "How old is that deli meat and if I eat it will I die?" or "Ramen noodles four nights in a row is an adventure!" or "Let's turn this 'how in the HELL does MARTA work for anyone in real life?' into a game!"

So, when the $50 annual charge from Squarespace showed up in my bank account I thought, "Well. There's that. Now what?"

This time last year I was blissfully unaware of what was about to come. There had been trouble in my marriage but I thought, like all marriages, that we were going to come through it. I was terrified of the fact that I was turning 37 soon. I really thought I wasn't going to make it.

I was preparing for my play, "The Vitreous Humor." I had scratched most of what I had written and was starting over. I was crawling out of my skin. I was a wreck. But I had my family. I had security. I had the love of my life. I was going to be okay. We were going to be okay.

I am sitting on a front porch in Kirkwood, a neighborhood in Atlanta. It's the front porch of a house where I have stayed for eight months now. A little apartment in an old house. The people who live downstairs rent rooms by the month. My brother, Asa, and I are roommates. We just recently found out that there is a coin laundry in the basement that we can use. That was a happy day -- we had been going to the Medlock Laundry to wash clothes. What a luxury it is to be able to walk downstairs and wash clothes in the same place where one lives! 

My youngest son, Hawke, right now is inside with Asa. They are watching something on YouTube and laughing. I can hear them. Laughing. 

I do not have my piano here. My soul carries that like an anchor. I play my guitar but it is still foreign to me, even after 17 years of playing. My piano is where I think. My piano is where I go.

I do not know how to stop loving my Beloved. I love him more than I have words for. Even now, after all the hurts, after all the "time to move on's", the sight of him lights me up. Everyday I send him all the love I have. I imagine it shooting up out of me and making its way to him, wherever he is, and misting all around him.

Happy. I want him to be happy. If that is without me, then so be it. I love him anyway. I choose him anyway. My husband is the best person I know. He outstanding among 10,000. He is my favorite adult. I love him no matter what. Ever and always.

Throughout all of this though, I have also learned to choose myself. I know that I am strong. I know that I am more than the mistakes that I have made. Somedays, like today, days when it feels like life can't get any worse, I breathe deeply. I hold gratitude close and closer. I pick up each little joyful and beautiful moment and I dwell on that. 

I was never taught how to do that before. I am teaching myself now. I spent too much of my life allowing my pain to control me. Allowing my fear and my anger to rule me. No more.

I can feel the tension in my brain. The tension of the stress and the hurt and the pain and the longing for my family. I feel that I walk a tightrope of just barely making it. That there is an abyss on either side of me that would be so easy to fall into. So I will myself to keep my eyes on the other side. 

I believe in myself. I must. When I am old, I will be able to look back and say, "Shit was fucked up. In my pain and ignorance and pride I ruined so much. But I did not give up. I did not lose hope. I hung on."

My friends, we are more than our mistakes. We are more than what people say or think we are. And when someone who knew me then walks up to me with the old clothes I once wore and tries to put them on me again, I will smile and decline and I will love them anyway. I will choose to love myself anyway.

And if, when you see me next, and you ask how I am doing, and tears spring to my eyes unbidden, don't worry. You see, I have so many tears I spent so many years trying to hide, that I give them all the freedom in the world now. 

It's not you; it's me. And I'm okay with me.

 

What about you? Are you okay with you? Is there a someone, or people in your life, who are still trying to put you in your old clothes?

 

 

(Quite a few of you have written saying that you'd like to help. Two months ago, when I was laid off from my job, I started a GoFundMe campaign, which was/is very humbling. Friends and family rallied around me and raised over $3000. Now with my car breaking down with a $2800 repair bill AND my expensive electric bike being stolen this past Saturday, any little bit extra can help. All money is going towards my car repair bill.)

https://www.gofundme.com/248hz6c

Homesick

Slit myself from the base of throat

Right where five initials rest

All the way down to where you used to kiss me.

Peel the skin off, strip down to my very bones;

If you look closely

My love for you

Is etched on every one.

 

The joke that I was too happy

To write sings to song.

Something to write about now,

The went-ings of wrong.

Music box heart;

Open it up

Watch the dancer there.

Say, “I am enough.”

 

The lights are floating in the glass

Outside

You are floating in the sky

Outside

Homesick hearts, both of us,

So lonely

Not so far apart.

 

 

Back is bruised, literally,

From flipping upside down

Clinging to fabric

In an effort to push

Into and then out of fear.

Would talk to you about it

If you would listen.

You are in there peering from behind bars

Put in place in secret

While we were both looking the other way.

 

Smash the examples, any one you want,

Into powder and I will

Carefully cup my hands

Pour it all into a bowl

Called Love

Watch:

Add water,

add honey,

add love,

add tears,

add whiskey,

add wine,

and hope,

add years.

Mix it all up

Put it on the wheel,

Spin it into a new thing,

Fire it into a new thing.

No matter how many times

We might break each other

You will always be the one

I will want to form anew with.

 

How many different iterations will we take

On this journey together

Around this star?

Every morning

Waking up

To meet each other again

And every night

Holding close

And choosing the other

Again

Again

And

Again.

Starbucks on 14th Street (a ramble of my brain)

Am I a sociopath?

Would a sociopath wonder if they were a sociopath?

Do I process the world the way I ought to?

Is there something wrong with me?

What is that beeping sound?

 

I hate bad jazz.

 

Blinking cursor.

Blinking cursor.

Fucking cursor.

Fuck.

 

Why didn’t I bring any headphones?

 

That man is burping.

 

That lady is chewing her fingernails.

 

Melanie said she thinks that the inside of my brain

Must be full of rainbow slides and crazy colours.

“I am amazed at how your brain works,” she says and I laugh.

“Actually there are a lot of thunderclouds and lightning, too.”

 

Thanksgiving.

Time with family.

Will they still be my family this time next year?

 

The man I love tied me to them but,

if he cuts me loose from him,

if he chooses to give up on us,

I will lose more than just him.

My beloved.

 

God. I love my husband so fucking much.

 

Am I a genius?

Why must I care?

Why do I compare myself against others so much?

 

Writing.

 

Writing to write.

 

Popping in my ear.

 

My hands are shaking a bit.

 

Tightening my butt muscles while sitting down.

 

Kegels.

 

Pause for Snapchat.

 

All the art I want to make.

All the time I want to create.

All the words I want to write.

All the love I want to make at night.

All the hurt I want to heal.

All the trust I want to build.

All the walls I want to scale.

All the seas I want to sail.

 

Catch up. 

Catch up If you can.

 

Don’t worry about the grammar

Whether the words are right

Just write and it will be right

Just write and what is left

Will be your empty brain

And the sound of a heart at rest

 

No pen in hand.

"The quaking and popping," he says,

Off to my right,

At a table in the night.

St. Arbucks a safe haven

The McDonald’s of caffeinated

Over priced espresso.

 

Sit here.

Sit there.

Staring staring staring in to devices.

She remarks about something.

He rests his head in his hand.

And GODDAMN what is that sound?

Is this really the time to ground

The beans

For the caffeine?

 

I can feel my knees through the holes in my jeans.

I just spent one hundred eighty-three dollars

And change

On bras to hold my tits up.

Jayna always hated the word, “tit”.

Tit for tat.

Tat for tit.

Bit the bat

But the bat won’t bit.

Photography

Photography

Photography

My photographer can’t see me.

 

My brain won’t stop.

How to slow it down?

How to slow down the clown?

What is sown in the rest

Of my life in a space

Full of tragedy and comedy

And every kind of waste

Full of nonsense

And every kind of chance.

I am not my evil words.

My temper.

My face.

When it falls into disdain,

The face that masked pain.

Your pain.

So real.

I expected too much of you.

You wanted too much from me.

But I love you all the more.

I love him all the more.

He is my person.

You are my person.

He and you are the same person.

I’m getting my pronouns confused.

Because there is only one you.

You

You

You

You

Me

Me

Me

Me.

 

Sips hot tea.

 

I have flashes of moments where I know – I just know – that I’m great.

That I’m amazing and lovely and worth it and worth the wait

But then I fall back into

Feeling ashamed of feeling worthy as if

How dare I think I am worth any of this?

 

Where does that come from?

Where can I make it go?

So far from me

So that I can finally grow?

 

 

I will become the better me.

I will learn how to be

Radically accepting

Wisely in mind

Not ruled by emotions

Or just my logical side.

 

I wish he could see me

Loving him here.

I must learn how to see myself.

Let that be enough.

Learn to love myself.

 

I must love myself.

 

No matter what.

Volcanoes and Poisonous Trees :: I Was An Abuser

I was emotionally abused for years.

Years.

For as long as I can remember nothing I did was ever good enough. The mental and verbal abuse was awful. 

Nothing about me was right.

I felt all the wrong things and never at the right times.

Sit down and shut up.

Who the hell do you think you are?

You’re never going to amount to anything.

Nothing you say is worth listening to anyway.

You like to perform, huh? Why do you like to perform on a stage?

Probably because you’re a narcissist or something.

What the hell is wrong with you wanting to be on a stage?

You think you’re smart but you’re really not.

You’re just an imposter and everyone knows it.

You’re fat and you’re ugly and you’re not worth loving.

Sure. Real nice idea. It’ll never work.

Oh great, pulling your hair out again. You're so gross.

Oh great, biting your nails again, what are you? Five?

Oh great, playing with razors again. You're so weak.

People don’t actually like you. They just put up with you.

You know, they’re just too nice to say so.

They just put up with you.

Life would be better without you messing things up for everyone.

Your life could’ve been great.

Your life should’ve been awesome.

They just put up with you.

Everyone puts up with you.

They just put up with you.

 

 

On and on and on.

 

My abuser was -- is?—me of course.

 

Myself.

 

Years of this and I didn’t know how to stop it. On top of this was my endless rumination on past hurts, past moments, past regrets. I ruminated on what I could never change instead of focusing on moving forward.

Rage would build up in me and, like a volcano, I would blow.

My fire raining down on my husband first. A torrent of abuse towards myself that grew into a torrent of abuse towards him.

It was never intentional. But. But. But -- instead of learning how to stop the eruptions, I wasted time trying to build channels to direct the heat away from him, away from our kids. It was exhausting trying to keep from erupting and then furiously digging channels when I did.

 

I was, and still am, so ashamed of myself. I had grown so accustomed to the heat myself, my “skin” so scarred, that I could not see how badly it was burning them.

 

A leprosy of the heart.

 

Our home became one of eggshells. Everyone, including myself, stepping around gingerly, to not cause a crack. Do not cause a crack because then the whole thing will fall down.

 

One night my beloved husband, Zack, with tears in his eyes said, “I didn’t kill your mother. I wasn’t there when your life was hard as a teenager. I wasn’t the one who abandoned you. But I’ve become your punching bag.”

 

“Beautiful; talented; intelligent – and as mean as a snake,” he said another night.

 

I could not hear him for the roaring in my ears.

 

He was right, of course.

 

I scared myself with how easily I could turn on a dime. My Hyde overtaking my Jekyll. My Hulk taking over my Bruce. Never knowing when all hell would break loose.

 

It was a night in early July when the eggshell house finally broke. Where all the channels I had been building turned to dust. Where the ash of my own fucking pain was wiped away enough to see how badly, how very badly my husband was burned. How hard he had been trying to love me through the lava.

 

And so here I am, almost five months later, and I am trying to rebuild the house I burned down.

 

I am an emotional abuser. I am an abuser.

 

I was an abuser.

 

Learning how to forgive myself.

 

Hoping that those I love can forgive me.

 

I am hopeful and scared and joyful and terrified all at once.

 

You see, I have a way forward. The poisonous tree I had been trying to cut down with a proverbial butter knife is now being laid waste by the proverbial chainsaw I have learned (still learning) how to wield.  

 

Volcanoes and poisonous trees. Channels and chainsaws.

 

My friends, I fear I have lost everything in this burning. The house that I turned into eggshells is gone. Nothing but a place full of rubble now. Now to clear it.

 

But what will be built in its place? Will we survive this?

 

I am hopeful. 

_________________________________________________________________________________

 

She started shooting herself first.

With a silencer

Round after round

Into her stomach

Where the bullets piled up

And weighed her down

Scar tissue growing around them

Till the hardness felt normal

Became a comfort

To feel the numbing

Of mental bullet verbosity.

 

She started shooting herself first.

With a rocket

Round after round

Into her head

Where the thoughts rattled off

And flew around the rooms

Till the shrapnel felt softer

Became a blanket

To cover the bleeding

Of words running silently by.

 

She started shooting him next.

With a love letter

Round after round

Into his heart

Where the missives stacked up

And paper cut-ted his aorta

Till the slicing felt subtle

Became a caress

To wipe away longing

Of ever being a good enough good enough.

 

She started shooting him next.

With an armament

Round after round

Into his hope

Where the missiles laid waste

And covered the land

Till the soil grew weary

Became a desert

Too parched to find meaning

Of fighting without much life.

 

She started shooting the children last.

With a projectile

Round after round

Into their lives

Where the worry grew wild

And covered their eyes

Till the light made them wary

Became a blindness

To stave off the hurting

Of walking so as not to tremble her earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Violets (Live in my Dining Room)

In going though old recordings of mine from years ago I stumbled across this song that I recorded in the dining room of my little duplex on Clairemont Avenue the summer of 2006. I wrote this song nine years ago and it feels oddly applicable to my life now; I am a prophetess.

It was sometime in the wee hours of the morning that I sat down and recorded myself singing and playing a new song I was working on. I rarely write songs on the guitar and so I was particularly invested in getting the song "captured" as it were. I used GarageBand and only the internal mic on my laptop. Afterwards I went back in and added some accordion (badly), backing vocals, and some piano. I love the ambulance in the beginning; I almost stopped the recording to wait for it to pass but decided to plow on. I'm glad I did.

It's best listened to on headphones.

I love this little song and I just thought I'd share here for posterity. 

 

Here are the lyrics if you're so inclined:

You are no closer to better

Look at the tumbling

Ground is broken

Please don’t come any nearer

You burned up in your leaving

 

Careful, you might not get better

Just ‘cause you moved

Your location

Still you will write all your letters

And hope for change

But don’t change too much

 

We tried, we tried

But those violets died

 

You only see me in fragments

Bits and pieces

Under your lens

How could you even have noticed?

When you only

Saw everyone

Else?

Everyone else.

 

We tried, we tried

But those violets died

 

I tried, I tried

And now you hide.

Kintsugi Airplane

Nights with lights strung around bars

Ashes of smoke in a burned out jar

One point five liters of Woodbridge reprieval 

Upheaval in a heart gone wild.

 

You say Patty sings and speaks for you

While her words hold so much truth

There are meanings found in everything

When searching in the dark.

 

We fought too hard to end up here

You sitting there

And me sitting here

Both in the air

One hundred miles apart

You within and

Me without

 

Let's build an airplane; fill in the cracks

With gold from the stars and grace for the past

This is a story that belongs in a song

You are the Johnny to my June.

 

We fought too hard to end up here

You sitting there

And me sitting here

Both in the air

One hundred miles apart

You within and

Me without

 

Maybe you'll forget to remember to forget me.

 

 

 

The Vitreous Humor

Allow me, if I may, a bit of an explanation, before I give you an explanation.

Quite a few years ago, eight years to be exact, when Zack and I were still dating, we were lying on his couch listening to some piano and vocal tracks I had recently recorded. 

"You know what you should do?" Zack queried, talking into my hair. "You should write a book with a song for each chapter."

The idea intrigued me. What would I write about? The more I thought about it, the more it thought about me, if that makes any sense at all.

Alternatively, with the joy of my marriage to Zack in July 2008, and then the birth of Hawke in May of 2009, my life, for the first time in a long time, was truly settled and secure. That is when the ghost of my mother began to haunt me.

By haunt I mean she began to invade my thoughts more than ever before. I was rapidly approaching the age when she passed away; I now had four children -- roughly the same ages my siblings and I were when she died -- and I wanted more than ever before just to be able to talk to this person I never really got a chance to know. Woman to woman. Oh, my heart still aches for this. I began a process of reaching out to every person I knew who knew her, to try and get an idea of who she was when she wasn't being "Mom" and their recollections around the time of her death. A fascinating trend began to emerge: some key points of her personality were consistent, but a lot of people remembered her and her life, and how it ended, very differently. Which was the truth? 

Then, in my dreams, I would see myself walking out onto a stage; I could see the set up perfectly. Every time I would walk down center, to the front of the stage and begin speaking to an audience.

I began to realize that this reoccurring dream, along with Zack's song for each chapter idea, and the longing to know my mother we're all coming together into one thing. It terrified me, which, as I am beginning to learn, is exactly why I knew I must do it.

So what is The Vitreous Humor? Literally it is the jelly like substance that makes up one's eyeball. It is also the title of my one woman play. Well, a play with music, too.  It's a play about childhood and the blind spot children have for their parents; it's a play about how no one sees anything the same and memories aren't to be trusted, even though they're all we have; it's a play about my family; it's a play for my mother.

Never got a Manual (or Perceiving is Detrimental)

Wants me broken; Wants me burned.

Washes my mouth out

With the script of right words.

 

Yet...

I am a wild thing;

A cataclysmic song.

Break apart in earthquakes

When the perceptions are too strong to belong.

I'd be a super-hero.

You'd want me on your side,

If what I felt wasn't measured out

In so many wrongs and not enough rights.

 

Gather together

All ye manual laborers!

Ye students of the calm!

I never got the notice;

I missed the trumpet call.

When you feel too much is precisely when

You're to show nothing at all.

Be broken.

Be burned.

Memorize the script.

Memorize the words.

These Are A lot Of My Favorite Things

(in no particular order and by no means exhaustive)  

In a nook in a bookstore near Notre Dame
In a nook in a bookstore near Notre Dame

Margaritas On the Rocks with Salt

Multiple Orgasms

Jeni's Ice Cream (Brown Butter Almond Brittle. Brambleberry Crisp. I could go on.)

Freshly Bleached Kitchen Sink

Rufus Wainwright

Perfectly Ripe Avocados

The Smell of Books

Clean Sheets After a Shower & a Shave

The Popping & Cracking of a Fire (contained, preferably, although I like 'em wild, too.)

Four Syllable Words

The Oregon Coast

Vincent Van Gogh

Salt Water Taffy

Laughing with Erin

Pianos Brought to Even Temperament

3D Scientific Models

Ravi's Butter Chicken

Headphones

Zack's Lips & Eyes & Other Things As Well. ;-)

Red Wine

Word Games

Passport Stamps

Lamplight

Maps

Acronyms

Hot Air Balloons

Thick Socks on Slick Floors

Butterscotch

Film Cameras

Danny Kaye

Imagining Being Very Very Small

Paris in the Fall

Paris At All

Stretching

Triscuits

Stephen Sondheim

The Scientific Process

Words

Words

Words

A letter to Glen Hansard (or the person who checks his email)

I sent this as an email to info@glenhansardmusic.com today in an attempt to surprise Zack. Zack is on a social media sabbatical right now and so he doesn't know I'm doing this. I even logged onto his Twitter account (I changed all of his passwords) to see if I could get people to help me get Glen and his people's attention. I decided to put the email into a blog form, too, to see if people would share it. Hopefully if enough of you share it, maybe we can get Glen's attention!  

Hi there!

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you — you anonymous person, you. I mean, I don’t think you’re anonymous intentionally, and you’re not anonymous to the people who know and love you, but currently you’re anonymous to me and so I shall have to muddle through my greeting to you. However, I do hope this finds you well and in lovely spirits.

 

I surprised my husband, Zack, this Christmas morning with tickets to see Glen play in Birmingham, Alabama on Feb. 2nd. It’s the closest Glen will be to Atlanta. A few years ago, for Zack's birthday, we flew to NYC to see Glen play. Around that time Zack got ahold of Glen via Twitter and asked if he could take Glen’s portrait. (Zack is actually a well regarded photographer, and while he’d never say it himself, he’s a kick-ass photographer, but I digress.) From what I remember Glen was totally down with the idea, and even gave Zack his number, but something happened (I can’t remember now what it was) and he didn’t get the chance to do the portrait.

 

So, I’m writing to see if I could surprise my husband EVEN more with the opportunity to take Glen’s portrait in Birmingham?

 

You can vet Zack here and here and here to be sure he’s not a creepy weirdo. Check Twitter, ask anyone. They’ll tell you, “Zack is awesome! He should totally take Glen’s portrait!”

 

What do you think, anonymous? Can you help me out? I adore my husband and really want to make this happen. Pretty please. He’ll poop his pants. Not literally. Well…I hope not.

 

I’ll bring him a change of clothes just in case.

 

Thanks for your time.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Meghan Arias

Two Birds

Made two people with two people. Out of youth, one; out of love, two.

("The clouds look like mountains or castles or both and I just want to be with you.")

Carried them both in the same little room; a space in my body

Universe filled with atoms collecting, it all coalescing

Into bodies brand new.

 

Thirty-six moments (A.K.A. thirty-six years)

Out of time, three; out of sight, four.

(Caught up to the age of the death of a girl who was so old to the people she'd made.)

And what about them?

How would they know that she was just one flake

In a whole lot of snow?

Where we are all falling

We are all falling

Yes, we are all falling

So where do you want to go?

 

Birds, if you need a people, a person to blame

Hold out your wings and I'll give you my name

Out of words, five; out of excuses, six.

Can't make amends for all that was battered and bruised yet

I shall always carry you

'Cause we are all falling

We are all falling

Yes, we are all falling

But what do you have to lose?

Robert G. Ingersoll said it best...

I came across this today and wanted to share because it beautifully says what I feel and have yet to be able to formulate words for.   "When I became convinced that the Universe is natural – that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts, and bars, and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf or a slave. There was for me no master in all the wide world -- not even in infinite space. I was free -- free to think, to express my thoughts -- free to live to my own ideal -- free to live for myself and those I loved -- free to use all my faculties, all my senses -- free to spread imagination's wings -- free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope -- free to judge and determine for myself -- free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the "inspired" books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past -- free from popes and priests -- free from all the "called" and "set apart" -- free from sanctified mistakes and holy lies -- free from the fear of eternal pain -- free from the winged monsters of the night -- free from devils, ghosts and gods. For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of thought -- no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings -- no chains for my limbs -- no lashes for my back -- no fires for my flesh -- no master's frown or threat – no following another's steps -- no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously, faced all worlds.

And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers who gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain -- for the freedom of labor and thought -- to those who fell on the fierce fields of war, to those who died in dungeons bound with chains -- to those who proudly mounted scaffold's stairs -- to those whose bones were crushed, whose flesh was scarred and torn -- to those by fire consumed -- to all the wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons of men. And then I vowed to grasp the torch that they had held, and hold it high, that light might conquer darkness still."

- Robert G. Ingersoll

 

Well said, good sir, well said. I only wish you were alive today so that I may shake your hand.

 

July Twelfth Two-Thousand and Three

I find that I fade out of moments and struggle with words I fear are wrong.

Caught up in upheaval,longing for the ability to keep my eye on the ball.

My dreams disturb me, the players never right, all the wrong characters coming and going, kissing my mouth and I blush, turn around, and close my eyes.

Where is the even-tread?

We stare into mirrors lovely, tired, worn, and console ourselves with pots of colours, with notions, with idealism run rampant born from a magazine.

I see a girl. Reciting words to her mother, "This means family, this means love."

She calls her mother a bitch, stares hard to hurt, her mother withdrawing in pain.

I watch that embrace.

I hate that girl, these girls, those girls with their mothers.

They do not know how good they have it.

We have the smoking gun.

We have so much to lose.

We have run hard to ignore.

We have our projections to share.

My revenue is dropping.

My profit is waning.

My status is under review.

My outlook is revised.

Here is a sprinkling of words that mean nothing to you.

I toe the line, I dive right in but without the optimism he tends to pretend.

You light my fervor

You stop my waning woebegone Sundays on fire.

You tickle my fancy maybe

you speed up my heart, a low-battery jump start and a Pop Pop Pop of my love is jumping out at me.

I would write you a song we all could sing and hope you'd remember me but I don't have it in words, just love.

Mitch and Manda

While driving through Alabama or Mississippi, (I don't remember which as they sort of blend together a bit) I looked up at a bridge that I was passing under, a small one, nothing fancy, just your typical ol' overpass. And there, on the side, in blazing, blue letters was: MITCH AND MANDA

I immediately began to wonder about these two. Was it possible that they were the Romeo and Juliet of their bit of the world?

Was it a mean joke that some guys pulled on their buddy, Mitch, linking him with the local, hirsute laundromat owner?

A hopeful youngster pining for the town prom queen?

Or maybe it was her? Maybe Manda herself walked down the aisles of the local Wal-Mart and picked out the just-right perfect shade of blue.

I thought about these names a lot over the weekend.

First off there's the glaringly obvious point (at least to me) of why?

Why, and how.

I remember when I was little wanting very much for people to know that I existed. I would write messages and send them off in helium balloons, my own proverbial messages in the bottle, not even hoping for an answer really, just putting myself out there.

I did get a response once from a lady in South Carolina.

"Dear Meghan,

Your poem was very nice. Thank you for sharing. The bit about the clouds was sweet. Your Mother must be very proud. You should know however, that it's not a good idea to let balloons go into the air. When they pop, birds and animals sometimes try to eat the pieces and then they slowly choke on them and die.

Take care,

Mrs. Something or another"

So, I didn't do that anymore.

 

I think I do understand what would compel someone to, for instance, write their name in the sidewalk or to declare their love on an overpass. It's being able to go back to a specific place and say,

"Look. I was here. I did something. It was stupid and badly done, but I made a mark. People will see my name for a long time."

How silly we are. I am very guilty of this. I know that those I love see me, and know me, and think that I'm great, and yet I want to see a tangible something that I have contributed in one way or another.

I don't think I'm doing a very good job trying to make my point. If I ever had one.

Can't you just see it, though? Mitch with his paint can, slightly drunk, perhaps Manda is with him, and they're staggering out of the car and across the road to the other side and he's yelling,

"I'm gonna show ev'ry one that we's goin' out!"

She's giggling and saying,

"Miiiitch, you're sooo crazy..."

Or maybe Mitch and Manda have been married five years already now and on the morning of their five year anniversary Mitch awakes and thinks,

"I know just what I'm going do to surprise her..."

Every times Manda drives to town for milk she sees her name linked with Mitch and gets just plumb tickled at how "romantic that man is and all..."

Was it hard, I wonder? Was it tricky? Do you need a lookout to tell you when cars are coming? What if a police car came by?

"Oh, hello there sir...oh, the spray paint? This? Um...I was just out walking on this random overpass in Alabamippi or Mississama in the middle of the night and...tripped over the can sitting here and it got all over me." When I think about it, it becomes sort of romantic, sort of goofy, the cement version of the heart carved into the tree trunk. How nice.

Wanderlust

What to say. It's 3:30am. I should be sleeping. I have far too much rolling around in my head. I have the strangest sensation of wanting to just pack up and go somewhere.

77 degrees. Streetlight outside and a halo of fluttering creatures drawn to the light. My slumbering gardenia bush. Catch-me-if-you-can front yard but watch out for the hill, you could fall down, scrape a knee or two.

In the window next to me sits myself, typing just like I am. Only my other me is in the sleeping gardenia bush, balanced lightly on top, hovering in midair.

Let's go on a trip. Find some roadside restaurant, meet a waitress named Jackie who has blonde hair piled high and calls us, "Sweetie." Watch as she pulls a pen from her hair somewhere, cocks her hip ready to write. Order the special with fries and talk about Life and Love and how you can't separate the two.

Hit the road - no maps - just plenty of conversation and a book that shows you where all those awful tourists traps are; let's go see the big ball of rubber bands. I'll roll down my window, turn on the oldies station and stick my hand outside, feel the currents, pretend it's an airplane. We're in slow motion, this is where the rain could start and then we're through that patch and looking behind to see how very dark, look how dark is that sky.

Stop by some ocean for a brisk swim, get the sand all over everything, in our sandwiches, in our ears. Just for one day though, I don't want to have to use too much aloe lotion. I burn easily and not just literally. Stick around for the sunset and I would tell you a story about the time when my sister and I swam out to a big boat full of men who catch fish for a living. Big, burly men with loud voices, real, working hard, strong.

We stood chest high in the water, watching them pull in thousands of fish with their nets, while we shrieked as the fish that escaped tickled our legs. Let's pretend we're mermaids, let's pretend we're looking for our dolphin friends, let's pretend.

How we waved to our mother on the beach. And she's calling us in, it's time for her to check us, rub us down with lotion again, smooth our faces with mother hands, and are you hungry? We should've kept waving, she died a few months later. And now I'm aching.

I look at mirrors, watch them change while I stay the same. Our scenery is lovely, I try to take it all in. Play my game where I see how long I can keep counting white dashes. They're like train cars, you have to stay ahead of them or you'll lose track.

It's my time to drive now, you sit back. I'll drive in the dark, lights on, music low, empty roads that will start to call us home.

Canyon Cake Maker

I was walking the edge of the canyon line-- Slipped and fell into that great divide--

All that caught me was memory and time;

A ledge on the outer edge of my mind.

I had been making cakes for everyone,

Watching them eat and leaving me crumbs;

A drill sergeant for an army of sons--

A mask so heavy it made me go numb.

 

I have dollars and plastic,

My head has a roof,

My body a bed and my body no bruise,

Fingers are warm; my belly is fed

But that means nothing when you’re fucked in the head.

Dare I long for more when at least I have bread?

When that far away child is quite close to death?

But who’s to say they wouldn’t want the same,

If they stood where I stood and had my same name?

 

Needed to find a place to belong--

Wanted to right the wrongs with a song--

The words they tumbled out of my hands,

And the melody left me for another man.

So just let me lay here for a long while--

Ledges are better than falling for miles--

My mind is slipping, my heart so tired

From everything of me that has been required.

 

 

Stardust...

Before I begin I just want to thank everyone who read and commented on my "coming out" post. Your comments were kind and a lot nicer than I thought they were going to be. A lot of atheists report horrible backlash when they finally decide to share with people about their atheism. Atheists are viewed by a lot of people as evil and lacking in morals. One study found that people distrust atheists more than rapists.  My decision to tell everyone about my atheism was, in some ways, directly tied to this stigma; I want to give a voice and face to what an atheist looks like. There are so many people out there who are atheists or agnostic (I'm going to write a post about that later) and most of us don't even know it.  

Now, on to the actual point of this blog post.

 

I wrote the song Stardust back in July (of 2013) sitting in a south facing 20th floor apartment in Manhattan. It was sweltering hot in the city; the heat indexes were some of the highest in recorded history. The apartment was only slightly cooler as the A/C unit struggled to keep up with the temperatures. The view, however, was incredible as the picture window took up almost the whole south wall of the apartment; the Freedom Tower the primary focus. And how could it not be? The southern Manhattan skyline once more dominated by a towering height of steel and glass. There was a guitar in the apartment and as I sat on the bed strumming the strings, I was ruminating on the damage that "faith" (a word Peter Boghossian defines as "Pretending to know things you don't know.") has had on humanity. All the things that people have done because "God" told them to, or because they had "faith" that it was the right thing to do. To be sure, it wasn't Christianity that brought down the Twin Towers, no. It was a group of people who ardently believed that Allah wanted it; people who believed just as firmly as the Christians; just as firmly as the Hindus; just as firmly as the Jews; just as firmly as the Mormons, etc. that what they believe is the ONLY right way to believe.

I thought to myself, How profoundly sad that most of us live waiting for an afterlife. That people think, "One day I will be in heaven and won't have to deal with any of this anymore."

I want to live for now. I want to die trying to make the most of NOW.

And so the words poured out:

 

Waste away in buildings built

To ease our sorrow, ease the guilt

Supplicate to the up above

Hate to say no one's listening, love.

 

Time was lost to a fairy tale

Forbidden fruit that led to nails

And born to see but rendered blind

By mankind to save mankind

 

Oh we're stardust

And we must

Make the most of this

While we're breathing

No more living

For after dying

No, I'll die trying

To make the most of now

Darlin'

 

Ate the body, drank the blood like

Every good boy and girl should

Babies raised on bread and wine

Let your little light shine

Oh let it burn

Let it shine

Oh watch them burn

 

(CH)

 

The amazing Deke Spears, producer and musician and friend extraordinaire.  Shot with a Yashica Mat-124.

Below is a rough recording of the song that I started with Deke Spears. The song is still in its infancy. Deke and I recorded in the performance hall at KSU - he played the acoustic guitar and I played the gorgeous Steinway Grand piano and sang. We messed around with backing harmonies and then, later, Deke threw some drums and bass on the track to see how it felt. I'm not sold on it but it's all I have to share with you right now.

The gorgeous Steinway Grand I was honoured to play.

Please know that it's not mixed or mastered and most likely will end up sounding different. However, I've found that nothing I do will ever meet the standards I have in my head, nothing will ever be perfect enough, and so I need to get over my stupid self and share whatever it is that I have at that time. Capiscé? Hate it? Love it? What do you think? Be honest. Honesty is a very very good thing.

Many thanks, everyone.

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/122485677" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

 

( By the way, I know that some of you are going to hate this; it's going to make you very uncomfortable. I'm sorry for that and yet, I really hope that this gives you reason to consider why you believe what you believe. Stretch your brain a bit, it won't kill you. I promise. ;-) )