A Chorus of Sirens

July 24, 2020

images-1.jpg

Everyone, you think, is some kind of addict. Be they active, recovering, or on the brink. Passions which are good become obsessions which are bad. People are self-seeking. This is the human condition, the result of Original Sin. Yearning. Craving. Lusting. Demanding. Wanting. Needing. Soothing. The seeds of addiction are there, have always been there. Many are able to temper these urges, denying the seeds what they need to flourish. But they’re still there. Waiting for a deluge, a perfect storm of misery or even joy… or just another shitty day. Then boom! Out comes the Hagen Das. The lonely housewife turns on the TV and never turns it off. An old man retreats to the garage for a smoke. Some concede to only a few addictions. Maybe they are harmless ones – a gardening obsession, collecting figurines. Or weird: like hoarding. Hidden from the world. In others the seeds erupt as soon as they touch a nerve, like weeds in a vacant lot. Out of control. You’ve met no one who has not succumbed to something. Drugs and alcohol are the poster children for addiction. Plenty else is out there.

What are some of yours?

The Lake (5)

May 11, 2020

download-2.jpg

My Michelle

It was as if the two of you were co-starring in a divinely written play, a pairing far removed from the inglorious hook ups taking place in the muscle cars behind you. You didn’t know if you were being watched and to your delight you didn’t care. Rex and his ilk did not matter. Michelle would remain your fantastic secret for as long as possible, that day anyway.

You walked with Michelle, holding hands, which for once did not feel strange, and arrived at an empty apartment she said belonged to her mother. Inside it was cool and dark. She left the shades down and led you into her bedroom.

To recite what transpired there would require a poet’s gift, lest it sound obscene. The two of you swallowed each other whole. Satiated, her head resting on your chest, you both drifted into a deep sleep. You didn’t know it then but this would be the only time you would ever fall asleep in a woman’s embrace.

Like a pristine bubble dangling precariously from a child’s wand, it would not last. The nirvana of that afternoon did not follow either of you into the relationship. Michelle revealed herself to be insecure and vain. All too aware of her exceptional physique and its effect on men, she vacillated between flaunting herself and retreating into a pouty shell. She liked dancing and disco music and the culture surrounding it: the clothes, nightclubs, older men, black men – all of which made you uncomfortable.

To be continued…

The Lake (3)

May 4, 2020

download-2.jpg

My Michelle

A little drunk and high, you welcomed in the fantasy, letting it take over. Chicks like her were beyond anything slinking around the parking lot. You eyed her like a sniper. Ogling. Yet there was something else. A connection. Like she knew you were watching her. You imagined her coming toward you and somehow you knew that she would.

And sure enough.

As in the curious turn of a dream she herself turned and began loping across the grass in your very direction. It was almost as if you were reeling her in. Or was it the other way around? You felt simultaneously powerless and fearless, a strange alchemy, like during an acid trip. But she was no hallucination. When she approached you, you remained fixed to the ground, fixating on her.

“Hi,” she said. “I noticed you from the bike path. I’m Michelle.”

She noticed me? This revelation should have made you swoon. Yes your heart was palpitating. Your eyes wide open taking in the breadth of her. But absent was the panic. You were infatuated. Desiring her. Yet, you were inexplicably… cool.

“I saw you, too.” You reply. How could anyone not have?

To be continued…

download-2.jpg

You’re hardly the first person to feel this way. Many fortunate people receive the blessings of The Great Outdoors. So many recovering alcoholics call nature their Higher Power. Good for them. They’re lucky and probably right. If God exists he’s out here. He made this. He created the Garden of Eden. Before we fucked it up. Long before you, indigenous people tread these very trails. They knew it, too: The Great Spirit. Too many people only experience nature once a year on vacation, on mandatory field trips taken from school, or worse, just in movies. No wonder its magic wore off. Maybe they weren’t paying attention – too busy looking at a screen instead of the sky. Still, you’re glad they’re not here. The trails are often deserted. Blessedly. It makes no difference to you. What others think. What they do. People no longer matter. Out here you feel no shame. Out here you is stoned immaculate.

To be continued…

1Tam-PtSQ.jpg

Like many introverts, you find serenity in nature. Retreating into the woods, the hills or simply out on the lake fishing. Leaving the company of people. Entering a better place.

Drugs and alcohol once took you away from people. False prophets, malicious guides into dangerous places, they drew you inward. Left you there. Isolated. Like they say in AA, your brain is a very dangerous neighborhood.

So you go outside. Marin County has so many trails. Within minutes you are free. In nature means you’re never alone, even by yourself. It’s both hard to explain yet obvious. Solitude is company. You hike. You walk. You stand perfectly still. You can feel yourself breathe. No more waiting to exhale. Not here. The monumental redwoods and fragrant cypress are profound company. Called “The Sleeping Giant” by locals, Mt. Tamalpais lords over you like a sentinel.

Exaltation. Elevation. No matter the circumstances, if you open the door you will always feel better. It never fails. Misery comes when you forget that it’s here.

To be continued…