Friday, October 21, 2011

Interruption of Service

Dear Sir:

The Department for Internal Moral Upkeep (DIMU) regrets to inform you of a partial system failure which has resulted in an interruption of service. As a result, you may experience lapses of judgment including, but not limited to, lust, greed, apathy, wrath, pride, and envy.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Kind Regards,
* * * * *
FFF-55 Vol. XXV. Write a story with exactly 55 words. Go see G-Man.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Dear Friends,

Big news: I may not be the man you think I am. I'm certainly not the man I want to be. If you've read more than two posts in this blog, you likely already know this. No, see, the man I actually am is not very respectable.

Maybe you've figured this out. It's possible you've been personally screwed over because of it, or that you've heard it through the grapevine. I probably won't come out and say it to you, not unless you're willing to commit a few hours to sharing a pair of barstools, and you might have to buy shots. But the list of people I'd talk to even if those conditions were met is very short. I am ashamed, you see.

So here's the truth: The real me, my True Self, took off 15 years ago or so, and left a shell that has been operated like a grotesque puppet by an Evil Twin on and off since. It's a lot like those movies where a guy is taken over and controlled by some entity, but occasionally breaks through to warn the people around him to flee before he loses control again.

Or maybe it's the other way around; maybe this has been the real me the entire time, and I wear my public perception like a garment so no one will suspect it. A wolf in sheep's clothing. I operate in this guise to manipulate those around me into thinking I'm a good guy.

Actually, both of these descriptions fit who I've become, but the key to understanding myself is that my True Self, the man I wish I could be, has been drowning, held under water by both the fearful and addictive behaviour of the Evil Twin, and the man driven by a desperate need to maintain a respectable public image.

Anyone who's known me any decent length of time has actually seen this True Self, this elusive man I'm struggling to free. You've each probably seen whatever little slice applies to our relationship, whatever that may be. Some of you have access to more slices than others. But I can't leave him out, you see, because he is both respectable and repulsive, both compassionate and cruel. He is not universally accepted, and so must be squelched in the name of social duties and standards.

This is a cruel fate, because this man, this True Self, is actually a good man. He's good because he will speak the truth even when it's offensive, but he is learning gentleness and tact. He's good because he speaks his mind, and is thorough and eloquent enough to do so in a way that even those who would be hurt by the words can't deny their truth. He's good because he honors his committments, even though he needs help learning how to say no, both to the people he should not cavort with, and those who pretend to like him but create unhealthy situations. He's good because he is willing to explore and develop himself in unexpected ways, and takes the risks necessary to realize change. And he's good because when he makes mistakes or misjudgements, he acknowledges them and pays his dues.

I do not know how I will manage these three identities: the pure deciever who lies for shame of the truth, the smiling neighbor and happy face at kids' school events, and the man in between, the one I really need to expose and become. I do not know who I will hurt or abandon in the process of revealing that man, first to myself, wholly for once in my life, and then to those who claim to love me. And then that love will most certainly be tested.

So whatever your relationship with me may be, consider this a disclaimer, but not an apology.


Monday, October 17, 2011


20 February 2006

to fuck
is to feel.
to rend the delicate fabric of gentleness
is to need
to shatter the innocence of naivete
to crush the hand of generosity
to pull the fragrant hair of beauty
to scream in the face of piety
is to LIVE

A life without beauty is only half lived.

To live--
Within that fabric of gentleness
Innocent and naive
Extending the generous hand
Inhaling the scent of beauty
Striving to understand God

is to LOVE

The Gardener

6 March 2006

What I've really lost is my humility.

It's fairy-tale-like, remembering back. I had a healthy sense of shame. I knew what felt wrong, even if I didn't know why, and I just didn't do those things. And I remember the gratification that comes from decisions like that.

It took me years to learn to admit when I had misjudged, at least out loud, to face the people I'd hurt. But all honest mistakes...mostly. The seed was always there. Once, I decided I could be both things, be both kinds of people. I justified it by looking around and watching who was successful at this or that. The key thing I missed was that neither this nor that were the things I wanted to be successful at. None of those people were really the kind of person I was trying to be. But I sacked the Gardener anyway, and the Seed flourished.

Now look at the grounds: still with promise, silent with potential. Silent. And overgrown. The stone bridges over the brooks that once ran here are cracked and dangerous. The trellis that supported a budding vine in childhood is weather-beaten. The house, standing as alone as it always has, though still a home, is not the manor I once envisioned.

I call this life, and some days I am ashamed for it.

Step Four

16 March 2006

    I was thinking of that TV commercial where everyone wore signs on their backs revealing their financial problems. Like the older guy in the business suit's said something like "Can't make his house payment" and the haggard-looking housewife's said something like "Credit score: 752" and shit like that.

    If we all wore signs detailing our biggest secrets or sins, mine would say "ADDICT". I'm not proud of myself. Most days I do my best to stay on top of damage control, while allowing my addict-self to wreak havoc, much like simply cleaning up after an irresponsible child rather than teaching him the rules and enforcing them with punishment and positive reinforcement. I do not know what drives my addict-self, but I am very aware of the returns, and I will be the first to admit the instant gratification feels good. It's the damage control, and guilt, the hiding, and the constant fear that I hate.

    We all have signs, just like in the commercial. Some people's problems aren't really terrible, they're just embarrassing facts they'd like to keep secret. That's fine. I learned a little about real problems from a Chaplain that had served on a B-52 during the first Gulf War. They flew home from a sortie with an unexploded ground-to-air missile stuck in their wing, having gone right through and stuck in the middle. They didn't know if it was a dud or not; for all the crew knew, it could have detonated at any time, killing them all. They didn't know if they could even land with it. That, I agreed with him, is a problem. Rear-ending somebody on the way to work when you're already late is not.

    During lunch today I pondered what the others' signs around me might say. The wholesome girl next to me might have been paying for her burrito with money she got after hocking her mother's earrings. Thief. The lady with the twin girls, no more than 3 years old, might be on her way to meet a lover after dropping the kids at daycare, eager to taste forbidden flesh. Cheater. The older woman with the high school ID around her neck might have just taken advantage of a vulnerable student during a counseling session. Molester.

    Is it presumptive to think that everyone has issues, that we all carry burdens in our hearts we'd dare not share with others? Or is it naive to believe that some people are actually happy, that some facts about their lives are simply personal, and although potentially embarrassing, would not completely ruin their lives if revealed? I know the answer to this question, but I can't figure out how it might be. And so I deny that it is.

    The truth is I have more than one sign. Most are in the second category: I would not be happy to admit to some very humiliating things about myself, but if confronted with evidence, I would nod and say "yes, I did that" and nothing would really change. But there are a select few that would almost certainly ruin my life as I know it now. From a distance, I cannot fathom what would make anyone continue these behaviours given the risks. On the inside, I know it's the rush of pure gratification, it's the depression that sets in between fixes, it's the constant questioning of my identity and self, whether I am worthy, pure, good. It's fear of facing who I might become outside the context of the drug.

    I am an addict, I know. Some day, I will have to admit this to other people openly, with my voice, and acknowledge what I've done to feed the drive. That is a prerequisite to understanding the addiction and finding the source. Of all days, I fear this day more than any.


6 March 2011

Walking through the frigid air
The wind passes over me
Like your disdain.
I lift my feet as high as I'm able
In heavy boots
But the snow is much too deep
To clear
Without leaving some regrettable act

Still, I push on.

Every step takes me further
From a truth we both know
All know
Every day I'm another mile away
Every inch is an eternity I'll have to retrace
When it all comes pouring out.
Why was I ever walking this way
To begin with?

Into the ever cold night
Writing letters I'll never send
Because those feelings are too hot
For soft hearts to bear
Those words too sharp
They rend and tear
Gentle emotional flesh
Tender spiritual mesh.

No, these words I will hold within.

There they still burn, still tear
But only one person
The wrong person?
But isn't it right to carry this weight?
For you, for them, for everyone
To see?

But who is doing their best, for me?
Who will be their best

For me?