Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Old Days

"It seemed normal enough, at the time, just another weird rainy night out there on the high desert. . . What the hell? We were younger then. It was a Different Time. People were Friendly. We trusted each other. Hell, you could afford to get mixed up with wild strangers in those days -- without fearing for your life, or your eyes, or your organs, or all of your money, or even getting locked up in prison forever. There was a sense of possibility. People were not so afraid, as they are now. You could run around naked without getting shot. You could check into a roadside motel on the outskirts of Ely or Winnemucca or Elko where you were lost in a midnight rainstorm -- and nobody called the police on you, just to check out your credit and your employment history and your medical records and how many parking tickets you owed in California.

There were Laws, but they were not feared. There were Rules, but they were not worshipped. . . like Laws and Rules and Cops and Informants are feared and worshipped today."

- Hunter S. Thompson
"Fear and Loathing in Elko"

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In the Stars

I was born under the star Nekkar, of the constellation Beta Bootes.

The Herdsman

"Bootes is identified with Icarius, who was killed by some shepherds he had made drunk with a flagon of wine given him by Bacchus/Dionysus. In consideration of the grief of his daughter Erigone and their hound Maera, Jupiter placed her father in heaven as Bootes, together with herself as Virgo and the hound became one of the Dogs; some say Canis Minor, others say Canis Major.

According to Ptolemy the influence of the constellation is like that of Mercury and Saturn, though the star Arcturus is like Mars and Jupiter. It is said to give prosperity from work, strong desires, a tendency to excess, a fondness for rural pursuits, together with some liking for occultism. The Kabalists associate it with the Hebrew letter Teth and the 9th Tarot Trump, "The Hermit". [Robson*, p.32.]"

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Boots of Spanish Leather

[an excerpt from the current writing project]:


But I dream of her. I dream of her all the time. 

It's weird. The dreams are usually about the stuff we used to do together. Like when we drove her Jeep Up North for Fall Break that autumn of my senior year. We bought our lunch from our favorite deli in downtown Petoskey and brought it to the beach where we had a picnic on the shores of Lake Michigan. I sat there silently watching the waves, hoping she wouldn't bring up my hangover. I watched the lake and the line of the beach and noticed that the tide had changed and the sea gulls were working busily well down the slope of new wet sand. The red and white buoys out in the distance were diminishing as they receded. You could smell the lake in the October winds, and the white caps crashing against the pier foretold of winter. 

In another dream, we are camping out in the woods at her cabin on Sugar Island. Right before I wake up, she turns the ignition on her family's speedboat. I'm on shore, and she's kind of waving good bye. I'm standing on a beach of washed up pine needles and she's going off into the Lake Superior sunset, into another life. I've had that dream so many times I've lost count. 

Sometimes I wake from those dreams convinced it is the Fall of 2009 all over again, but it's never real. The ticking of the clock reminds me that she is gone and those days of my Indian summer were a long time ago. I lay awake in bed, wishing I had asked her to send boots of spanish leather. I got rid of her letters a long time ago, but you can't get rid of dreams. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Their ghosts have been hounding me since the stroke of midnight. They know my weaknesses all too well. Some days your flush and some days your bust.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


"Favorite food? Blues (speed). Miscellaneous likes? Birds. Professional ambition? To smash one hundred drum kits. Personal ambition? To stay young forever. There you have it, the world of Keith Moon effectively encapsulated in a few choice words. Straightforward hedonistic pleasures, cheerfully destructive tendencies, and an unattainable goal, except in the words that Townshend had just written and which Moon alone would live up to/down to: 'Hope I die before I get old.'"

Tony Fletcher, Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend

Monday, March 2, 2015

Snapshots of My Life

It was March, two years ago. The proverbial rock bottom. It's the only secret that I still cling to from those days, my very last drinking days. I knew, then, with the horrifying clarity of a funeral for a loved one, that I was done, that I could never touch the stuff again, that I had once and for all crossed that forbidden line. March brings with it the memories of those events, those charred visions of me at my worst. They're scary. But this song popped on at work today, and I understood that it had to be this way forever -- that I always have to remember those days.

"I wrecked the El Camino
Would have been DWI
So I just walked off and left it
Laying on it's side.
The troopers found it in the morning
They said it's purely luck I wasn't killed
I probably ought to quit my drinking
But I don't believe I will."

James McMurtry, "Rachel's Song"

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Call of the Wild

Oh, cruel February. The two dog nights of February drag their boots through the heavy snow as the grandfather clock slugs its way through the doldrums of the calendar year. But March, March is a month of promise. The muds and fogs and greens of March -- my birth month, fittingly: the dead come back to life during March.

With March comes the stirrings, year after year, deep inside, of some primal call of the wild. March brings with it the memories of boyhood Springs and Summers in the woods behind Millwood Village, the woods that compose the backdrop to my collective childhood memory. As the calendar page turns this weekend, and the great hands of the clock are winded forwards, to the Ides of March, we begin the descent from winter's alpine pinnacle towards the liberation of Spring, and the wilderness of summer.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, 
There is a rapture on the lonely shore, 
There is society, where none intrudes, 
By the deep sea, and music in its roar: 
I love not man the less, but Nature more, 
- Lord Byron