Sometimes You Simply Need To See Word After Word Go By

Tidal

It isn’t always about telling a story or making sure that you get your point across to a specific audience. It isn’t perpetually about making you sure you anticipate critique and use it to block the negative carefully. It isn’t even always about letting people read the words that you are writing.

Sometimes you need to write down words as they come into your head with absolutely no destination point in mind, no end to get to, and no saga to continue.

In the summer, blue skies always remind me of laying on my back in the scraggly grass that we had in Lancaster. It wasn’t quite nuked to death by the sun or dehydrated from the sun. It was so comfortable under the fruitless mulberry we had in the front yard. I would look up, and I would see this perfect azure blue to the sky. It wasn’t graduated, it wasn’t layered, it was a solid sheet of the color blue like you were looking at a color swatch in a paint book. When the clouds would come across like little pieces of popcorn, they would always be moving so fast because of the higher elevation that we were in in the desert. They would be there in the shapes that you would turn them into, and before long, they would be speeding away towards the valley to get turned into the movie stars shade and the beach bums weather reports.

The clouds coming over the mountains, coming in from the west, always looked like a giant foam from a wave that would take everything. All that you needed was to wait for just a second. Then there would be a thunderous cataclysm, and the valley would be washed clean of the gang-violence and the broken promises of employers who didn’t need to know your language to offer you a job no one would take for that kind of money. It would erase the pain from the broken families and the terror of the Nightstalker. Even if it had made it down to Millwood Ave, they would have found a way to make the wave wash the truth away and let them hang so desperately onto the alcoholism and deceit that kept the happiest family in the barrio together.

Water is the happiness I have trouble putting into context for someone who has never wanted to disappear in the Pacific and be found like a message in a bottle, thousands of miles away. We would go down to Malibu or Zuma, and they would wait with tapping feet as we tried so hard to get clean in the ocean in the Magellan called the Peaceful Sea. We would dance in the seaweed and the shells and try to keep our eyes open the entire time. We wanted a recording of the moments we got there, of the times when we were truly free. Sooner, always sooner, we would be back in the car driving up the PCH and back to the air that was so dirty you needed to breathe slower on the cloudy days if you would fall over and cough up blood.

We left the ocean, where there is no memory of ill or fault and only raw power and beauty. I fell in love with here, I honestly did. I have sat by the lake with a fifth of Whiskey and a folded over notebook trying to be Dylan Thomas with a heroin problem, or later on, maybe I was Coleridge without the heroin problem. I would write my nonsense prose, my rhyming couplets, my sing-song story poems, and at the end of the day I would walk back down 19 to the shit hole on the corner of 18 and climb into bed and listen to the same five songs I still welcome into my soul every day.

As things must go, days and weeks faded into months and years: death and love, more the latter than the former. I am blessed with beauty in my life that I do not deserve. I look into the eyes of three of the most beautiful creations in existence, and it stops my breath to know I had anything to do with how they have become the wonders they have become.

Sitting here, I never realized how much time had passed, passed with nothing to show for its passage, but scars I cannot heal from and trinkets I would gladly return.

There Is Something Frightening About Being Motivated At Half Past Five On A Friday Morning

This is me, JameyBear

Yeah, like, really motivated at that.

I have had a single cup of coffee, so I know it is not the caffeine talking and, unless it is a slow roll, I am not in the middle of a panic attack, and I am pretty sure I am awake, and this isn’t some sleep deprivation microsleep thing. I think I will go with it for the moment and see where it takes me, hopefully, I don’t wake up in Encino with a needle in my neck or something.

I am watching the Elder Duck play video games, yes he is that motivated as well. The two little guys are doing little guy things, and I will start the process of getting everyone dressed and all of that here in a little over an hour. Is it just me, or have the times when kids need to go to school dropped alarmingly low? I mean, Elder Duck has to be outside for his but before 7. Maybe I am lost in time here and don’t remember, but when I was standing in that weird building on Lake Rd in Hamlin smoking cigarettes in the alley so I wouldn’t get yelled at my Julia’s mom, I could swear it was later than these kids go to school now.

Mind you, and I have always been awake this early, I don’t remember having to be up this early. My senior year was all car rides with Tm and I would get up maybe five minutes before I had to be at school and we would race down Drake going a buck-ten to see if we could violate the sound barrier a few times and getting to school and decided to fuck it and went to his house and drink screwdrivers at eight something int he morning and ask his little sister to bring me the French cook knife his mother kept in the drawer by the sink. Why? That cocksucker Mike spiked the fucking vodka with something slightly granular, and I was tripping balls for about six hours before I realized the spiders were on the TV and not in my goddamn veins.

Even on weekends, I would get up this early because it seemed so irresponsible of me to waste the few days I had off each week on sleep. Stupid childhood thought maybe, but I would get distraught if I woke up on a weekend morning and the sun was already up. There was shitty wrestling to watch, and, if I was young enough, lots of drugs to do and people to associate with to add to the growing number of my rap sheet with the MCSD. Ah, memories.

I think today I will write some more about the delightful Midas we were introduced to the other day and, if I can get worded in my head correctly, a series of micro-fiction that will be interesting story and read if not the most in-depth stories I have written. Probably some vaguely pseudo-intellectual masturbation I am notorious for and, sadly, I have to go to the grocery store and try and make-believe I want to be an adult.

Yo yeah, early mornings on a single cup of coffee with three kids awake and writing to look forward to later, not so bad right?

Let. it. Snow.

View From The Valley

Now that I can see straight and my skull is not trying to escape its little skin suit, let us reflect on the literal feet of sky snot that just got heaved upon the masses where I am.

I love snow. It is awesome and glorious and I don’t care how often people make fun of me, or threaten to call the cops on me, I will not stop wearing shorts when it is up to my knees either.

I was raised in the land of fake tits and waitresses with dreams, also known as the San Fernando Valley. When you hear “Valley Girl” they are talking about that valley. From the Foothill Freeway in Shadow Hills to Valley City Circle in Chatsworth to the west. I can go on for days about it but, essentially, the only reason I bring it up is because when I was a kid, snow was a thing you stood in the valley and saw in the mountains way off to the east.

When we moved to the desert a little later, it was an even better view because you are closer to the aforementioned mountains and you can see the snow better without the, at the time, ever-present smog. You don’t get the weather that makes the snow, no, you get nothing but the Devil’s Wind and almost zero humidity.

When we moved out here in ’91, it was a horrendous thing. None of us wanted to go, whining, moving my dad’s boss, all kinds of shit. We got to a place called Continental Divide, New Mexico when we saw snow for the first time. It was all pretty and white and fluffy and, to my surprise, far fucking colder than my weird ten-year old brain could compute. I mean, I knew ice was cold, and snow was ice kinda, so, yeah?

No.

That day I learned about things like wind chill. 30 mile an hour winds and snow made BearBear cold.

We saw snow pretty consistently as we moved along it was December after all, and by the time we hit the Great Lakes it was pretty much old hat.

I learned what black ice was the day we got here and have hated it and the being tall combo since.

To me, to this day, snow is this wonderful thing that I dreamed of as a little dude and it still reminds me of sitting there in the Valley, surrounded by a million and a half people, looking up at the mountains and seeing a better thing, a wonderful thing.

So yes, it is snowing and it is annoying and it is a burden on people and resources alike, but, for some of us, it is still the dream it used to be.

You Knew This Was Coming Today

Anniversary

It was a little warmer that morning than it was this morning. I remember being so tired. We had been cleaning the house and making this and fixing that for days in preparation. Tim had shown up early with Jess and we had walked up the hill to Wegmans so he could get a haircut and so I could get out of the house for an hour or so. Naomi was with Julia and a few others and they were doing her hair and getting her into the dress and all of the fun things that go along with that. Her parents had refused to come because of Jehovah’s Witness reasons and she was heartbroken, hiding it to all but me, but so very heartbroken that on that one day they couldn’t just be her parents and not cult members.

Brett had been running around like a chicken with his head cut off all morning, as almost two-year old children tend to do more than they do not. He was smiling and happy and playing with Jess and Tim’s boy, Tylyr. During all of this cacophony, I was running out to have a smoke about every two minutes, if even that rarely.

The morning disappeared and the afternoon came with a flash. The Justice of The Peace showed up to the front door and I still kind of feel weird for just slipping the guy cash, but, I mean, that’s apparently how those things are done. Most of the people there were my sisters friends who I had known forever and a day, since I was still in High School in some cases. My mother, and y’all know I don’t have happy chats about her, stood beaming with what I hope to this day was pride and my brother, doing a solid for his big brother, stood with Naomi as her Dude of Honor and Tim stood as my Best Man.

I dropped the ring my hands were shaking so bad. I blamed Tim of course and laughter ensued. Then, like that, I was married to a woman I had been in love with longer than I had actually physically known her.

Marriage isn’t a fun thing. It is a beautiful thing, but it is very rarely fun. We fought and screamed and said things that we would regret up to that last day. We laughed as loud as we fought and we made sure that we surrounded ourselves with people who understood that. When we were in Quebec it was pretty much just the three of us against the world. Then it was the four of us after the Connorface was born. We moved down to Kansas and learned, the very hard way, that love can survive anything if both people are willing to try.

Why she didn’t leave me during those three days in July is still a mystery to me. I gave her every single reason to do it and she still stuck by me like the powerful force of nature that she was. Ben and C.R. and Karla and Heather told her she was stupid for it, but we remembered what we promised each other over six-hour phone calls twice a day for a year and a half. We remembered how hard it had been for us to do EVERY thing that we did to get to one another and she was never going to give that up.

We came home to New York and shortly afterwards there was a Babeh Duck. There was the Darkness of which I don’t speak of unless you know what I am talking about. Terry moved in and we just…were. We all loved and laughed and argued and played board games and drank too much and played with the boys and everything and anything.

The afternoon before she died, her and Terry were leaving and she forgot a bottle of vodka she was taking with her to where they were going and I remember with a glad heart that the last words I ever said to my wife were that I loved her and I gave her a kiss.

Yes, my world exploded. Yes, I made bad choices in money and friends and especially those two in concert. I am not the best dad in the world and I will never be as good a parent as she was.

I know she is proud of us all for doing what we had to do to get to where we are now. It hasn’t been easy and there have been some nights so dark that I never even wanted the sun to rise again.

There are people. People I can count on the fingers of a single hand. These people saved me. They did it literally by making me leave the house, making me eat, making me shower and pretend I cared until I actually cared again.

I write this next part to you.

No matter what, I love you for that. I will always love you for that and there are no words in my mind that can possibly thank you, repay you, or even begin to try to do either, for what you have done for me.

I am done talking about this for the day. I will hug my Ducks, pretend I am in control of the world for a little bit and maybe, just maybe, I’ll smile.

Not Always Dark

Not Always Dark

So I was laying in my bed this morning hours before dawn was even a thought and I started thinking. Now, normally, this is never a particularly good thing. I don’t do well with a lot of alone time and an active mind not focused on a particular thing. However this morning I was pleasantly surprised with how things turned out.

Now, for those of you who are unaware, my Naomi and I’s anniversary was the 20th of November, which I am sure the mathletes in the room can figure out is just two weeks from tomorrow. I have got a tattoo the last three years on this day, but this year that is not going to happen. I refuse to get wasted at 3 P.M. on a Tuesday, at least when I have to get up the next morning with the boys, and I don’t feel like laying in bed all day moping. I will be housebound that week, so going anywhere isn’t even an option.

“But Bear..” I hear all of you shout in unison. “..You said that this was a pleasant surprise and you look like you’re heading down that not so happy path.”

Fear not Gentle Readers, I will now pull back on the throttle and make everything all better.

As I thought of the things I wouldn’t be doing, I began to thumb through my phone and went to the very special place I keep pictures of Naomi I can get to when I want and I smiled at them. I have got a lot better about looking at pictures of her, but I am still very hesitant to most days.

This morning though, I sat and looked at hundreds of them with a smile on my face as I remembered. Elder Duck’s first day of Kindergarten, my first day in Canada, her first day in Kansas. Over and over and over. Memory after memory and not a single sob, tear, whimper or sigh. I love her just as much now as I did then. I love her with all my heart and that makes everything worthwhile. When I can look at a single picture that has all of my closest friends in it, my Naomi and so much food you could sink a damn boat and laugh because I remember all the things, then you know life is moving the way I should.

It isn’t an ending to grief and bad days, panic attacks and all of the other horror show things that happen sometimes, but it is a good day. One that I can look back to, straighten my back and say “That is the way I want to feel today. That is what I am going to strive towards today.”

Small victories win wars.