Monday, 28 October 2013

I Envy These Addicts

There we stood in the blaze of the late afternoon sun.  Kings of our own, amongst the fields of ripening apples and raspberries, lords over of all we could see.   Funny how something as astronomically simple as being alone can provide illusions of grandure.  The two of us stood out of place against our backdrop of leaves and trunks, in our levi’s  and boots. Sweat dripping down our brows, we hacked away at the overgrowth of weed that infected the rosy red fruits.  Righteous saviors we were.  Expelling the wicked with our swift justice of clippers and claws.  We were the Boondocks Saints of the world that was the Allotment.  Thinking to myself who best fits Connor and who best fits Murphy I notice my thin pot-bellied companion take out his handkerchief and dab at his face.  He breaths in hot sun, alleviating his back for just a moment.  I attempt a search and rescue crawling through the miniature forest of bramble cutting up my arms -my partner shakes his head at me laughing, wondering if I am for real -I soon arise with both hands brimming with a mound of fresh red pods.  A smile stretches long and big across his face.  The two of us plop down next to one another.  I toss up a berry high into the air and catch it as it falls into my mouth.  Sweetness beyond description explodes as my teeth crush into it, releasing the juice.  My amigo tries the same.  It hits his chin and bounces off into the tall grass we sat in.  Much to learn still, this padawan does.  We look at each other and laugh.  I wonder if Tom Joad ever got to have a feeling as tranquil as this.  I sit and wonder about the Joads.  

We ate our fill of the berries and continued to sit soaking in the sun as we did.  Behind us the sky was pale and the sun flared hot as she sprayed us down with heat.  We sucked in the breezes that came with her.  still so much to do, but that can wait another moment longer.  Our rusty boom-box belted out static as Like a rolling Stone sauntered out when it could beneath our voices. I listen to his yarns as he lives them back to life.  Constructing elaborate narratives filled with run-ons as his cockney language inspires more of the Joads as they dance across my mind. He tells me about his life, his sins, and his virtues.  His escapades are great and numerous; of How he slew a fire breathing ex, rescued a damsel in distress, betrayed a brother-in-arms, had songs written about him, how he found a lost and forgotten treasure, meeting a monk among the thorns of roses and how he failed to protect a lord in a time of great peril.  His stories split off each other like branches of a great tree, to inform me of the endless back stories of this, and of that, so that I can grasp at to what it is he is saying.  As he monologues I see his desires to be back in the self-proclaimed enchanted life he knows of slaying dragon exes and rescuing princess. He longs not of this kingdom we share that stands open before him.  He all but confirms his premature departure.  

I retract inwards lost to my mind. His words are muted now as I enter my infinite state of singularity.  To be so sure of something.  So strongly in defense, so intensely loved is this boy’s life, so much so that no one can rip him from it.  I envy this addict. I struggle with these boys so that I may have what they have.  To be so near that I may feel the radiation from their throughly explored life within the holy spirit. I long to do and see great things like this boy besides me. I can’t help but want these things.  I let my conscious take me deep into the depths of my dark brooding rabbit hole of a soul. I envy to have the holy spirit like they do.  To sing out my love for god like they do. to share like they do.  I envy to not fight the powers that surround me anymore.  help me make that leap O god! help me cast away my weights of doubt to fully embrace your presence as divine and everlasting. 

I manage to catch a few last words from the pot-bellied-boy.  He confesses to me he has never left the UK. I know in the depths of me that this will be the boy’s fate.  He continues to talk but I’m vacant to his speech.  It is the life he wants to return to one day soon.  There is no stopping him now.   A tear rolls down my face and hits the corner of my trembling lips.  The bell rings.  It’s time.  He gets up to leave, I stay.  He asks if I am coming and all I can manage is “you go on ahead now boy, I got some unfinished business here.”  I don’t watch as he leaves, I just listen as his footsteps grow faint and disappear for good.  This would be the last time I would ever see the pot-bellied-boy.   

I pick up my clippers and in a heavy breath of grass and sweet fruit continue the mindless work of cutting.  I cut, and I cut, and I cut, to numb myself of this newly awarded wisdom.  Before long there isn’t much left of the field of red buds.  Dusk starts to settle over the orchard in which I worked, turning the red into faded pink crimson.  I stop and close my eyes and think of home, of my California castle by the sea.  He is alone now.  Lost in his own mirky cloud that tarnishes his heart.  Forever alone now in this ever darkening world of limitless isolations.  It is then that the holy spirit like a cool breeze washes over me like holy water itself speaks to me:

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jerimiah 29-11

I give myself to you lord.  I will never stray again.  Make me whole in ways I cannot fill.  Let me be a sponge to you lord.  Let your magnificence reign through me.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Half-Cooked-Life-Accounts of J. Walter McGuinty: Man on the Run

The story I am about to share with you is one of fantasy inspired by truths from the actual events of J. Walter McGuinty’s life, who is in fact a fake person I made up for the telling of this tale.  All events described herein actually happened, though on most, if not all occasions, I have taken certain, very small yet sometimes astronomically large, liberties with chronology, names, places, and actual events completely falsifying them, because that is my right as an American.  But mainly it is to protect and honor the man behind this inspired journey.  This is in no way related to my previous posts but is in fact something different and meant to stand alone as an experience experienced. 

“So tell me J...” the young blonde says smoothly, far more comfortably than she should while lighting her fourth joint in as many hours.  She takes a long hit.  Loosening her ponytail she gives it a gentle shake allowing it to lay free.  Letting the gas settle and spread throughout the entirety of her body comforting her she exhales her lung full of marijuana. 

There she sat with a man she had only just met hours before in a gutted eight passenger stolen ‘71 dodge van sitting atop a faded mattress from her home on her way to Daytona, FL to make an easy 500 dollars.  The van was lined with cut out magazine pictures of the Star ship Enterprise to blotch out the rising eastern sun as best as they could.  More pictures lined the framework like Led Zeppelin’s new album, Houses of the Holy.  Two movie posters: Harold and Maude and Daughters of Darkness lye across the top of the van roof.  

She made it subtly known with her body language her physical attraction to the older man who sat vapidly across from her in the small enclosed space lost in something.  “How come I don’t know more about you?” she says playfully in hopes of not looking overly flirtatious.  Her body stretched out. She was tall for her age.   She was taking full advantage of the naturally bumpy ride they had been on.  With every prior passing bounce she had been letting herself bounce just ever so slightly toward him.  She was completely smitten.  He on the other hand was not, lost in his own glass-eyed state of trauma frantically waiting for her to hand him his pain killer.  His shakes are getting worse.

Her face was rounder than most, a fact she attempted to hide by letting down her hair in an on going struggle to look older than she was.  Jeanine’s eyes increasingly plain were mottled brown and at any given opportunity, no matter what time of day, would wear her favorite ray-bans to cover them up.  She was strikingly ordinary in her faded blue bellbottoms, daisy patterned halter top, and would have been all but forgettable if it hadn’t been for the smile that she flashed out at the end of her sentences.  Had it been another part of her anatomy J. Walter would have been caught staring.  The way her short upper lip would slide up effortlessly exposing her brilliant teeth was hauntingly unforgettably intoxicating. Now seemingly transfixed on her like a moth to a flame he leaned in from atop the suitcase he sat to join the conversation that was now worth being a part of.  The long black hair that rested behind his shoulders now dangled near his face.  Jeanine leans in, slowly brushed her hair to one side, hoping this is the moment she has been carefully drawing up these past few hours.  She was completely unaware of the joint burning dangerously close to her fingers.  

When a quick ill timed southern accent, “Oh come on Jeanine, lay off, he’s higher than a kite right now!” comes from the driver seat.  The driver pushes in a led zeppelin cassette instantly playing the Rain Song already 43seconds in, "You are the sunlight in my growing," meanders out softly from Robert accompanied by lullaby-like enchanting strums from Jimmy.  furiously Jeanine turns around, “Can it Marty” she hollers over the ballad, in clear opposition.  “Had it not been for Marty ruining the moment” she thought to herself selfishly “we would have been kissing”

Returning her focus back to J. Walter she flashes her smile. She adorns her most adult, ladylike disposition and silently offers him the joint she had been selfishly hogging.  With a four-fingered hand he takes the joint and takes a hit from it leaning back brushing the long black hair out of his face as he does.  “Finally,” he thinks to himself.  His body begins to already feel the neglected effect it had been feeling and starts to return to a state in which he can operate.  He exhales reluctantly after a few moments and begins.  
“I don’t really know where you would like me to being”,  he says in a slight gruff amalgamation of accents nevertheless in his most capriciously posh voice.

“I suppose it would make sense for me to start at the beginning so you can follow along.  To say I’ve had a tumultuous or restless life wouldn’t be doing my life any justice. Despite my attempts to hide it, its true to some degree. I have had a life full enough for two lives in comparison to some of you lot.  I’ve seen more of this ruddy country than you have seen of this state in which you live.”  

“Na fuck that”, she says getting up then quickly resting on her knees and shins besides J. Walter.  Her eyes were full of possibility.  She grabs his calloused four-fingered hand running the soft pads of her fingertips gently over the spot that lay vacant and says, 
“tell me how this happened?” beaming at him with her enveloping smile. 

J. Walter takes another hit and hands it back to Jeanine 

“Oh this?” holding his hand out flexing it as if nothing was out of the ordinary.  He was as cool as a cucumber.  Turning on his charm he knew he had her undivided attention, so he pressed on blowing out the smoke, “well you see I had gone to see my bird Rebecca who had gone to California to see family.  She told me she would be out there for a month or so and that I should come out to see her.”   

“Rebecca?” she said bitterly “who is that? You never told”

-- J. Walter cut her off harshly, “Now do you want to here about the story or not, goddammnit?”  She went silent.  “So I stole me a ‘67 Chavelle -- damn was that a nice car,” he interrupted himself, just remembering the smooth white leather and the sheen of the turquoise metallic paint put him into a great high.  he continued on “and I drove out to see her.  Things were good.  Real good.  Ain’t nothin’ bad happens in that state.  You know what they call California?”  he said to her. 

“Unh uh” she replied riveted as she ever was.

“The Golden State.  And let me tell you it was.  Those beaches, the sun...” he drifted now “Even the air was full of gold...” setting himself further into his own brand of comatose joy.  Then it was as if a switch flipped on in his head.  The smile on his face that had been so charming and infectious lifted from him. He tried to continue; “Things were good till I started drinking a bit too much.” his eyes went blank. “One day when we went down to one of the old piers...”  He no longer was with the girl who so absently clung to his voice as he filled her with sultry words.  Vacantly J. Walter sat again for a long time.  

“J.” she said as she shook his leg, “What happened?”

Startled, he quickly covered his tracks.  Clearing his throat, “I was just trying to figure out the best way to say it.”  His hand shook looking for the joint Jeanine held and grabbed it from her and drew it to his mouth.  Longer this drag was, longer than other other drag he had taken.  He was running from something he couldn’t forget.  He finished the joint off then took a worn flask that lay on the floor and washed it down with a few strong gulps of whisky.  “Sheesh, Jeanine, you sure are impatient.” Marty’s drawl quickly kicked out with a smug laugh. He went back to drumming on the steering wheel, following along with the acoustic guitars that were building into a crescendo towards the abrupt infusion of electric guitars, drums, and bass that would be the culmination of 87 seconds of fierce Over the Hill and Far Away.  Jeanine rolled her eyes at his remark.  

J. Walter blew out the smoke and continued without a hitch, “I decided it was high time to give my cousin in Texas a visit.”

                                         to be continued...

Monday, 2 September 2013

Knowing Is My Addiction

Sitting in a small fold up chair I’m watching some of the boys play pool, the song Lean On Me comes billowing out of the stereo setting the mood.  It was atop an old cabinet in the corner behind the pool table, the center piece of the room.  The cabinet shares a wall with two glass double doors wide open where four more boys are out on the patio smoking and sharing stories when Mark starts to sing, no doubt excited as it is three verses too early.  As the rest of the boys in the room follow suit I can’t help but look on curiously, I can see why they like this area of the manor.  Beyond its restricted comforts are a sea of freedoms that blanket them as if it were a club house.  It’s the He-Man-Woman-Haters-Club, or what I would imagine the little rascals looking like if they had grown up.  As my mind lingers on the idea of who in the house would be Spanky and Alfalfa I am brought back to the doctors office I sat in months ago.  The little rascals was playing as I waited for my doctor to see me, for the very physical exam needed for me to be in the place I was. Funny how things can stay collected in your brain waiting for the right moment to saunter out for you to find and pick up as if they were newly discovered.  It then dawns on me that the very book I was attempting to read was a gift from that doctor, a book on a doctor’s perspective with addiction.  I can only give a chuckle.  This was not mere coincidence or random act assigned to me but instead it was through my faith that all of these strings tied together so nice and cleanly.

I shake myself from this inward enlightenment to hear that the song has changed, Take My Breath Away is now filling the boys with joy as their game of pool has come to a halt so that they can remember like they did when they were young.  Perhaps of the girl that hadn’t yet left, or the daughter they hadn’t yet hurt.  For some of these chaps are in fact fathers and some yet even more are grandfathers still.  But never the less boys they are.  The lost boys.  My lost boys.  They gather around the pool table in the room coated with intricate wood beams and high ceilings, enough couches and sofas to seat twenty.  From all walks of life these boys come and go, hardly any staying though in this home that gives so freely.  This place is their limbo state, a scale waiting to be tipped in a direction to aide them in making their decisions, no more than a bump in the road just before an intersection.  It is then that Neil turns his pool stick into a guitar completely enveloped in his memories.  And the boys laugh and continue to sing.  I am now invisible to them, nothing more than a space occupier like the broken lounge chair opposite them.  

For a long time leading up to this moment I wrestled with the questions, what am I going to do here? How am I going to help?  and perhaps the biggest one of all why me?  My analytical nature would not let me stop thinking about these questions.  Like a fish to water or perhaps even an addict to addiction, I poked and prodded.  Scratching away.  Deep jagged blows ravaged my brain as I fought to find the answers I am so accustomed to finding.  For in a life of endless answers hardly ever are we satisfied with just a question as being enough.  Knowing is my addiction.  It is the tonic I use to quell my sense of personal inadequacies.    like a drunk drinks to fall into their infant glassy eyed state to produce their opiate for emotional disdain.  I intern fall back inside my bottle of the mind and think my memories to life reliving them as I scrutinizingly inspect each one like a dream. This is my pain-killer, once already lived pain is far easier to consume than pain still yet to come.  The greatest fear of all is knowing that you can’t stop anymore.  That you must continue in order to remain. To put one’s life into harms way, to completely throw away our instinct to live in order to make the moment tolerable is insanity at its best. The emotional anesthetic that addiction holds over us is without question the most difficult mountain to climb.  But however impossible it might seem or foreign a thought it is.  Our souls search for cleansing even amongst the haze of the warp.  

I can’t help but feel that this is the place I need to be.  Right here in this chair.  Right here with these boys.  The lost boys.  But These lost boys are no more lost than I am.  It is then I am sent back into my memories to my week of training in Chicago.  In that terribly boring room, wasting away what might be my last few days in the sunshine and the warmth of its rays.  There I sat trying to learn about the work I was going to be doing the next year as a missionary for the ELCA.  But I remembered something from one of the many sessions of many hours spent in that ultimately forgettable plain room, “walking together in solidarity practices interdependence and mutuality.”  like the doctor’s office just mere minutes before, this memory is served up right on queue.  Like a perfectly timed catalyst all the questions I had been wrestling with were now gone.  It finally sank into the folds forever to stay in the cognizant.  

Divinity comes in the most uncommon ways to us.  In the most unsuspecting ways It is our responsibility to be open to accepting the connections when they come and seeing a glimpse into the architecture of the maze God has laid out in front of us.