When you hear me in the grass.

I've done a lot of walking,
But when you see me in the grass, I will not fuss anymore.
I will flow, with the green wheat undulating
To wind,
To currents,
And bend low in the breeze.

I'll come clean
I've been off running
I've been trying to leave
All I know about me
But coming home
I can see your breath on the window
And I know,
I know
This is where I should be


When you owned the ozone

Physics brought this one to mind...as well as my sickness-addled brain. This cold must have come with a built-in drip of Robitussin.

So Chloroflurocarbons. Bad news guys. They bind with oh-three and make oh-two, which is good for us because we breathe that stuff, but then on the other hand that means we're all going to die.

Especially Austrialia (or Sexcriminalboat, as some people say who are from Stone Mountain, Georgia).

Our fearless collegiate "leader", Professor Somebody-or-other-who-can't-teach-a-class (I really don't know her name), pointed out that when O3 doesn't bind with those cuh-razy sun rays that are a-comin' to kill us, that the next thing to resonate perfectly and absorb the energy is our DNA.

Which is bad, because that makes bad things happen to our "cells".

We need those.

So our skin can absorb Ozone, which is handy except that a lot of us were planning on using it for a while. You know, to live in and stuff.

Enter the Tanners. Fake-bakers. The orange-chick makers.

There is actually a segment of the population who really get a kick out of this DNA-resonating jazz. They like the way it tickles their chromosomes. So I have a very "GREEN" solution to make everyone happy (except some DNAs).

Let's just export the tanning business to the ozone layer. We can fly addled individuals up to the brink of space for the best UV rush they've ever experienced. Solar spas on the high plasma seas. It's the (ultraviolet) wave of the future!

Thousands upon thousands of super-saiyan blondes rotating the planet in geo-synchronous cellular obliteration. The clients get the best tans of their lives, and in doing so patch the holes in our dilapitated ozone layer, leaving the rest of us free to run around naked with no sunblock on.

Cocoa-butter for everyone!

Except you, middle-aged moustachio'd white man. None for you.



When you've got the funk.

When you've got the funk, I'd say that you have it all. Some blessed soul at Westport coffeehouse just cranked up some sinfully smooth saxophones, and it's making my butt go sway*.

(*Yes, I shake my ass from time to time. What of it.)

Funk is hard to pin down. It's up-tempo in a way that makes you want to put down that old mouth-harp, quit crying over that old woman who done you wrong, and go find a new one to dance with. One clean-spit guitar riff, a horn jab or two, and I'm ready to become friends with somebody new.

Strange, isn't it, how for all the GET-ON-UP'AH! goodness that funk has given us, it's a word that we also use to talk about emotional sludge. Getting "in a funk" is apples to the whisky of "getting funky". Being depressed has nothing to do with bass saxophones.

Much has been going on in this life of mine. Upheaval, tradgedy, suffering, stagnation and ironically, change, have been the harmony to my Monday through Sunday melody–the one that you can't put down when you turn off the amp. Music stops, but we still float forward in notes, faltering and alone no matter the symphony that we can't strike from.

My melody is asking me whether resolution ever comes. If in this life we ever feel less tossed, less prone, less subject to the whimsy of spinning galaxies of galaxies. Or the tides. Asking which came first–the questions or the answers, and wondering whether they actually come in pairs, or if one outnumbers the other.

You can stare into the looking glass as long as you like. You can refuse to meet the morning. You can stay up fighting before you even leave, and make knots of pure simplicity. You can puzzle, you can wonder–you can dichotomize and analyze and subjugate and simplify, but the ultimate conclusion always comes down from God that we just don't ever know.

We are living in mystery, the kind that only happens to everybody.


When you are eaten.

I've been wondering lately what, exactly, is so terrifying about the thought of being eaten.

People try to tell me that to be eaten would be terrible. An awful way to die. I tell them that it would be purposeful–meat recycling, if you will. People usually just look horrified when I say that kind of thing.

Through watching more horror movies these past few months than I'd seen in the cumulative 21 years beforehand, I've seen a lot of people-eating. Often, people are eaten by big things, i.e. monsters, dinosaurs, machines. Other times, it is other humans that sink their teeth into the largest untapped food source in the world.

Strangers, neighbors, priests, boyscouts, lawyers, firefighters and actuaries...walking red meat. Humanburgers. People pie. Johnny Depp did it, why shouldn't we?

But none of that is the point really. I do wonder sometimes if in survival situations I could bring myself to eat other people...to slice thick, card-sized slabs of meat from cold, dead buttocks. It's been done before. The point is, I want to know why it's so terrifying.

In reality, I imagine you would be dead for the majority of the chewing–or at least in shock and riding a tiny tidal wave of positive chemistry into the gullet of whatever (or whomever) has you caught between their teeth.

But no matter the violence or atrocity, in movies or the news–no matter if the victim is dead or alive, we cringe an extra inch at the thought of cannibalism, or being eaten alive. In reality, it'd be a really short way to go. Way shorter than cancer, or any other terminal disease. You'd live your decades strong, and end them in mere seconds of suffering. It doesn't sound so bad, really.

I think that where this fear comes from is our deep seated, nagging feeling that we might not be so special as we think. If we can be eaten, then we are no different than the cows, pigs, or chickens that we chew on a daily basis. It all comes down to the fear that maybe, just maybe, we really are just meat. And when we are eaten, we are gone. No body to show we were alive-no ashes to revere on the mantle, nothing. We've become assimilated back into the great whirlpool of nature, in recycled atoms and decomposing carbon. And there's nothing we can do about it.

We hold the image of a complete body as sacrosanct. And to watch the undead pull taffy from our guts threatens more than just our ideas of violence–it flies in the face of every person who has ever cared for their safety, or life.

Because we live in these bodies. And until we die, they are the only way we have to interact with the world.

What a shame that they are so fragile. Because we are all food for someone.


When you are tired.

The few of you who check this blog may have noticed that I haven't posted anything in a while. My silence is, tangentially, related to time, but more at the heart of it is that I don't have anything to say. No deep thoughts, nothing "worth writing"–only silly little traces that I half-write and end up leaving for a day when I feel more inspired.

I have not felt more inspired.

When I moved back to Kansas City, I had a strong compass for where I was going, and at least what I thought I ought to be doing, etc.etc.etc. These last few weeks that has simply gone away, and has left me to run and tunnel deeper and deeper into absence. The absence of my heart, and my mind in my life, because it simply aches just a little too much.

My wells have run dry, and hard as I try I cannot get any more from them. So disengagement has been my passive plan. And disengaged I am.

I cannot say whether it will change...maybe the way of life is just that at some point you give up your hold on it, and it runs over you with loud clak-clak at every rail-tie year. Happy Birthday-Happy Birthday.

And I must wonder then, whether I am meant to be so disengaged. Whether this is the proper course of things, where my heavy sleep is only followed by the overcast that enveloped my slumber.

If so, my gentlemen, then this is the end of a mind. And the undead have walked from the screen, and are shuffling down the hall to the bathroom that sits cold, just outside your door.


When you are weary.

When you are weary,
like one gone far into the unknown,
the unsung–the un-gloried pitches of
black and mauve, that stick like
burrs, in the back of your arms...
Which worked so well but yesterday
before you stopped, and came home.
Sit heavy on the steps that so recently,
years ago held steady
for your bandaged feet to push and
kick, and find wandering.
So you can laugh today asking
Who of us deserves the bandages now?
but know down deep that now
you need them more than ever.
When weariness meets fleet feet
years-hardened from finding trouble-sought
everything but you seems so...
When your heart is weary,
there is no switch to turn it off.


When you are a "Gansta".

I suppose this dovetails nicely with my last post, though that's really only coincidence talking. Driving down Broadway in North KC yesterday, I went by a car vacuum/air filling station with a big plastic-type sign that read: "WE HAVE GANSTA AIR". This is, of course, really great to know. If I'm ever feeling the need to drop my '94 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme S a few inches and sit it on "Dubs", I'll be promptly draining my tires and pushing that pile back to this place. Can't have the wrong air in there.

Shortly thereafter, at a stoplight, I watched a young man wandering back and forth in the crosswalk waving his right arm for some reason, left hand firmly clenched on the waist of his black potato-sack-wide pants. He had nice sunglasses. Kind of looked like T-Pain. But it occurred to me that for the aforementioned "GANGSTA'S", it must be very hard to get up and around, and to commit crimes and violence in that type of attire. It's a shame that gang members seem to always be getting shot, but I had to wonder if they were making it a little bit too easy. Nobody can run with their pants like that. I've watched people try.

This leaves two options. Option 1: take off the pants. Pants-less gangs. That's kind of more terrifying in a way, but with pants so loose it also wouldn't be much of a struggle to just slip them off in case of emergency. If there is one gang member who gets away in a gunfight because he dropped trou, I'm convinced this is going to catch on in a real big way.

Option 2: someone needs to design "GANGSTAPANTZ". Maybe there's some kind of internal support system. Maybe they come with suspenders. Maybe they're a sophisticated blend of hyper-breathable synthetics with spandex woven in, and a detachable velcro pocket so you can always make sure your "blue flag" is hanging correctly on the "left side".

Imagine the impact this could have on the murder rate. People, I think we have a breakthrough.


Now, of course, I write this all in jest. Living here, from my window I hear gunshots almost every night. It's a strange feeling to be lying in bed and hear that "pop-pop-pop-pop-pop" that you wish were something else, but deep down know it wasn't. My mom asked me the other day if the cops always come when that happens and I said, "No. They never come." And sadly, it is the truth. It really makes me wonder how high and wide the disregard has run for this part of the city. It really does.


When you hold life like a bird.

When you are Rutger Hauer, you are an incomparable BADASS. At least that's what this article says, but only a few paragraphs deep, I'm deeply inclined to believe.

For starters, the name Rutger Hauer is already pretty sweet. Rutger. Name one of other college you'd rather be named after. Dartmouth? Lame. Baker? Who wants to be permanantly associated with cake and rolls. "Harvard Hauer" might as well be Roger Rabbit, and...Princeton? There's only one real Prince, and he's not even named that anymore.

(As a side note, when trying to think of cool names, I think you'll generally be fine unless you follow the lead of idiots like iamhassanjavad, who leapt to Yahoo! Answers and asked people to "Suggest some sophisticated/cool names for a college group/gang.?" Double punctuation aside, I think there might be a little more than a slight difference between "a college group" and a gang. Even if Hassan was just dying to form a gang with his whiffleball buddies, who's ever heard of a sophisticated one. I suppose they could start something totally new...big groups of angry, tatted men prowling the nighttime streets being extremely suave.)

Back to Rutger. To cut things short, I really don't need to know anything else about Mr. Hauer, because of his answer to just one question in that interview. (He's just made a comment about his strange feelings toward LA upon his first visit.)

"What's wrong with LA?
The place has a frustrated sexuality. The people there all think they should have what they want to have, and that they should be whatever they think they should be. I don't understand that, because I think that makes you very unhappy. You should never have exactly what you want. Wanting that seems so stupid to me."

That's gold in my book. I'm marking it down.

What I've been starting to realize is that feeling rejection, want, or loss, is one of the most powerful experiences a person can have. If our best laid plans always went just how we wished, life would be nothing more than a stone-carved formula. We could indefinitely plug "Action A" into "Formula A", and watch our dreams come true without the slightest hint of interest or concern. At a glance, I don't think that's something that I would want. There is some kind of wonder that comes right at the middle of the tunnel, where you realize how deeply you're buried under the immovable majesty of life. There's just something good about surrendering to that.

I'm reminded of the movie, The Greatest Game Ever Played. There's a line where Francis is learning to swing a golf club, and he's told something close to this:

"You've got to hold onto it like it's a bird. Not too tight, or you'll crush it–but not so loose that it's going to fly away."

These days, that's how I'm trying to live my life. I keep up with my day to day, but as far as making rules, or assumptions, or deciding this is how it has to be...well, that's where I've loosened up my grip. That makes your grasp of the few things you want to hold tightly so much simpler, and maybe even more complete. And strangely, untightening your grip on things brings you freedom. You start living inside of life, and you're not fighting it anymore.

So, in benediction...hold your life like a bird.

See what wonders that looseness can gather.


When you are a Songwriter.

When you are a songwriter, life looks different.

Since I was 14, writing music has been an outlet for the deepest, highest, and darkest feelings I've had in life. I write about my family, about people I love, or have loved–sometimes about people I never want to see again.

I've written love songs about girls I never loved, and even one song about a kiss that never occurred. (She was too pretentious.)

All sorts of messy stuff.

Relationships are always messy. They are particularly messy when they end, which all of mine have. But songwriters get to have things a little bit different. No matter the baggage, how messy or crazy the relationship (or individual), you usually walk away from things with a song or two. And sometimes they happen to be really, really good.

So when you date a songwriter, just remember–no matter how angry or upset you left him (or her), we always get the last word. You get the gift of being immortalized in song, and we get the gift of deciding how that will be. For every sad memory you may have, we get to write it down, and when we are feeling the whim we play your song. Revel in the brokenness of it all, or the thickness of whatever the fading feeling was, but we ultimately put the guitar away. And we can stop playing your song whenever we want, but you...you will always remember.


When you are wrong.

Today, I was wrong-woo, big surprise.

It was in an argument with my Physics "professor" (she says she does nuclear physics, but...come on. That's not rocket science.) about the speed of falling balls. (Heh.) I did something uncharacteristic and called her out on what I felt pretty sure was faulty reasoning.

Anarchy ensued. Voices were raised. Hearts were broken.

The question was about whether or not two balls thrown from a cliff with the same initial velocity, one up and one down, would hit the ground with the same speed. She said yes, I said no. My argument was simply that we needed more numbers on the situation. She told me numbers were important in science. At that point, she had it coming.

If you really want to hear why it turns out she was right, ask me sometime. Although for the record, she never managed to explain it well enough to convince me.


I am struck by the fact that the opposing sides in an argument are identical, if you take away the truth of the matter. Truth is a third party to the incident; it's not something that either side can create or destroy. The best they can do is show you who else thinks, believes, derived, or proved that it is true.

Even then, Truth is something else. Every type of thinker is trying to describe why something is true, but no one can make it so. Truth is a state of things that exists entirely outside of mankind-we can't make it, manufacture it, or destroy it. It is something that we constantly aspire to and seek out, but it doesn't matter whether we get it wrong or not. If everyone in the world still believed the earth was flat, that wouldn't make the planet any less round. The reality of things will never bend to our reason, no matter how hard we believe.

It makes me wonder what we think that is untrue. It makes me think again about holding onto anything too tightly. It's easy to believe mankind is at the pinnacle of knowing and understanding...but haven't we been there before?

And aside from that, it's irrelevant. People who don't know they are wrong will fight tooth and nail, and every bit as hard as the side that's right, provided that they care enough. It's why we have war in the Middle East, and why everyone can't stop talking about Kanye. It doesn't matter who's right...the same wounds can be inflicted, the same damage can be done. It's why terrible things said in an argument can hurt so much. Because it doesn't matter what exactly was said, all that matters was the terrible look in his eye when he said it. Or her.

So if we can make it to the moon, move mountains, create civilizations, lie, give life and kill, what is it about Truth that makes it so untouchable to us?

It's that one thing. The constant. The unwavering will of the universe.

Maybe that's God.


When you think you have it.

This is going to be a little break from homework for me...after all, I've had about thirty minutes of focus and I'm feeling mediocre, so I guess that's something to be proud of. I'm in the middle of writing an analysis of the opening scene of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where Joel and Clementine meet. It's a story that I've loved for a long time, but watching for the little twists of color and cut is giving me a whole new appreciation for it.

The movie begins from Joel's perspective, tracing the fateful morning that he awoke with no memory of the woman he loved. Clementine enters centered in her own frame, but exists from Joel's perspective as always far-away, and never in focus. We only know it is Clementine from the bright orange hoodie that gives her so much hazy prominence in the frame. This all goes along fine for Joel, until she approaches him on the train later, and they are finally shot together for the first time. The rate of cutting speeds forward like the nervous heart of a boy in love often will do...always giving Clementine the power in each shot, with color, dominance, and positioning.

The rest of the movie you'll have to watch for yourself.

This has been a significant week, to make an understatement. Like saying the Titanic was a boat, or the sunrise is "what wakes me up in the morning". I don't fully understand the sequence of separations, interactions, and mistakes that have all converged to bring about this moment and this feeling.

I wrote my last post about cliffs, and all week I have been looking over one. Comtemplating the dive. Wondering if this might be the time that I fall, but do not die. Like a non-errant footstep could carry me over the edge into the greatest free-fall of my life.

As humans, we spend our entire lives trying to make desperate sense out of our world. It's infuriating, and sometimes agonizing, but I don't think that's ever stopped anyone from looking though it may have guided their eyes elsewhere. And after my 21 years of heavy thought, I don't believe that any of it is past comprehension, although I am convinced that it is fraught with dead-ends and times where there is no clear path anymore. You've got to pick your way through the rocks and find out where you really want to go. The way my brother put it to me, sometimes "You just have to choose."

I don't like choosing things. I'm bad at it. I can stand in the candy aisle at a grocery store for twenty minutes, pacing and wondering which choice is perfect for me. I just know that the other people in the grocery store must think I've lost my car keys somewhere in the bags and wrappers. Nobody looks for candy harder than me. But this is not about candy, and if I've found out nothing else in the last week it's that there are a very few choices worth making. And in those ones that do matter, it doesn't matter how far you have to go to make them. At some point, when you stop waiting for life to fall in your lap, you decide what you really want.

When that happens, you're ready to stay up all night in that aisle if you have to. You're ready to fight with the aisle, and be angry at the aisle, and just stop for a minute and rest your head on its cool, smooth foor. Then you try it again. And no matter how long it takes, you know that you just have to stay, and wait. And wait, and pray.

We can make choices, but the impact we have on our lives often feels so small.

Our choices are so often only half the battle. The bigger half is You.

And you.


When you Shut Up.

I feel as though people are always telling me to "Be Prepared", whether it's said in so many words or not. "Take Care". "Be Careful". Like knowing was half the battle, and if I only knew to "Watch out!", I could avert, tackle, vanquish, or succumb to whatever it was I ought to be afraid of, although I usually am not.

For me, the edge of a cliff is where I feel at home, and every inch stepped closer makes me want to dangle my feet over oblivion just a little bit more. Just a bit more. Perhaps one day I will fall, but at least I could tell you that I died walking home–doorstep at my feet, then at my knees...rising to swallow my waist in horizon, and finally shooting up past the tips of my hair, like the slamming of a black door that I cannot unlock.

A few people feel this way, but most will want to fix you. This is the type of talk that makes mothers squirm, and fathers huddle to quiet places. Make them need to evade that figure that so recently tapped his bony finger on the door.

On their way they will tell you to "Be Careful", or that "I Love You" as if that advice, or that fact, could stop the ground from rushing up to meet your careless feet. Maybe if they could tell me what comes around the corner, I might listen.

I was born with a brain that will not, under any circumstances disconnect. Every moment is rife with millions of unending tiny lines of code that build colors that repeat, and repeat, and repeat like someone forgot to yell "Stop!"...

The way a tunnel repeats.

Some days it's worse than others...many days I feel as though I'm losing hold of reality. Sinking into a purely subjective life, held captive by the cruel arbiter that crushingly turns my eyes.

But always in the end it is wisps, and ever lifts from me. Today it flees as much as on this page it stays, and in permanent words I've pinned down a cloud and put it on display. Squirming there under the lights, it is dying. Run through with the desire of a world of people wanting there to be no more night, lying prostrate and bleeding on a pink page. The last of its kind, wracked with desperation, the crowds see it buckle and writhe though never shed a tear, do not give one drop of mercy for its tortured soul. There will be a death rattle no one will hear and no one will miss, a heartbeat none will be privy to, and a dying that no one will notice, but me.


Because she told me to.

The church that I live in has a bat problem. And not a "problem" in the sense that your Sega Game Gear running out of batteries is a problem; this is the "Hi!-I'm-a-bat-and-I'm-going-to-try-to-kill-you" kind of situation. We've become fearful, every night. We live in terror of death from a foot above our heads. It's become ugly and stupid. A full-fledged, man-to-beast midnight battle.

You wouldn't believe how many bats we've had in the church.

We've had two bats in the church. But I'm sure there are more somewhere.

I usually dispatch of our adorable captors with a bath towel, or mattress pad...The trick is to picture yourself like some Ninja Gaiden and swing your terrycloth hard at exactly the last second. My mother tells me this type of behavior is going to give me rabies. I do not care, I don't think Ninjas get rabies.

This is at least the fourth blog I've started over the years. Not one has survived. But now, I've been asked to start one. It's like a commission, but for free. Which is really not like a commission at all.

For some reason, everyone feels the need to make their first blog a mission statement. Much as I'd love to do that, I think instead I just won't. Stay tuned for the next installation of: I don't care.