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The heat pushing through the piping of the long house in one steady breath, promising falsely to fog up the windows and appease the chill down to the bones that we all felt; coaxing blood back up to the surface; releasing the tight shoulders in the room, squeezing in desperation to retain the remnant warmth.

Me and you. We are cold together in spite of talk of Tahiti. In spite of flirting with ideas of occupying the shower. In spite of number 70 on the thermostat.

Cold with worn hearts. Wimpy, floppy, sore- from news that came in pin-cushion packages with the pricking points turned outwards.
Packages delivering information that both whispered and yelled at once, as for no one to mistake anything on any auditory level, that the beast had returned; and in it’s believed absence- gained volume and momentum and peculiar support.
An inconceivable menace that was as real as the boogie man, and just as easy to doubt.
And now, in shocking, lurching fashion, a manifestation has come forth onto the eyes of the public- thin with disbelief- banging chest, fragmenting citizens, hissing for allegiance, disregarding all in it’s path of unparalleled ethos.

Ice. A stairway in December with no salt.
Sub zero in some cut off jeans.
Windchill with newspaper blankets.
We begin our struggle to blind ourselves in counter action, to stare in solace at the sun.
To rid the big freeze from our bodies, and find a way to raise a renaissance life of egalitarian existence where chatter won’t break our collective teeth.

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lightening house

Forty years.
Forty frosty, colorless years where which the silence had built, grown, & settled upon them like a heavy, deep-season blanket.
Forty years.
Forty of them; where the walls observed no good morning, hello, how was your day, did you hear about this, did you hear about that.
No congenial exchanges muttered.
The couple passed each other in the hallway, or might occasionally find themselves waiting for the frying pan, the television, or shower to be ready for their own use, impatiently. Wordlessly.
The beginning of the descent into the static, mute, existence resulted from no particular fight, but more of a long, blue-hot-burning that built, seemingly to the point of no return, & a terrible, despairing feeling of being stuck together in the house of pulled, private shades & blackened, hollow photos.
The house with the yard where the neighborhood children wouldn’t fetch their balls from. The house of anger. And the house of dashed dreams.
Throughout the time of the Big Freeze, one had taken up quilting. The other had become an origami savant of sorts. One had developed a fancy for cherry everything: pies, ice cream, liquors, preserves… The other: a determined reader intent on hungrily devouring all on the topic of the Ottoman Empire & it’s collapse.
Still- no sound uttered.
Their love for music had once untied them. United them.
Like sun slathered honey, smelling of dewy mornings, feeling like cut-back-fresh wisteria vines pointing & sun bound, they’d  listened with their then-warm-hearts & looked with soft-watery-eyes to the other half play. Nimble fingers. Fluid attachment to sound, to manipulation of keys, breezy build ups, unpredictable yet so-good-wow-crescendos.
Life times had come. Gone. Come. Gone.
There they were, embroiled in a semi-coexistence where none was to share any thought; the icey quiet had crept into all the pockets of possible return, all too long ago.
But. If. Ever.
And never with a nod or a pre plan- they were ever to find themselves on the porch at the same time…
The music. The sound generated. Together by the dueling keys. The compliment of their knowing hands crashing down upon the ivory.
Creating the wildest, sensible cacophony of exquisite sounds, speaking leagues through keys into the sky; could’ve convinced the ethers to rain. They would. They wanted.
Would have the porch sitters abandoning stoops.
Would stymie the squirrels in their gathering.
The birds would settle in. And watch. And absorb. And the music was goddamn living.
All the lives that were tampered down & tucked in & brutalized with nothingness through out the years.
There & then.
Life.
And then.
Without nod, or gesticulation, the songs would conclude.
And the door would creak open.
The floor boards would give their predictable sighs.
The television would roll on in careless fashion.
But those: the only sounds that remained.

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Empty and Now

The stillness will say take me or leave me, without saying so.
The softness will be yours to find.
We will wake, inevitably.
We will make the creeks and coos and moans that are in concert with the first moments of returning from turning off the grand system of body- the one primary to the sun; heavy bold to cloud shy, where we come back into minds after the curious dream places we arrive. Gathered or spilled.
The stillness is there, upon wake.
The skull- hollow and reverberate. Prepared for nothing. Subject to you.
It’s walls- holding no residue of experience, brain proximity unconsidered.
The brain. The master tenant.
The eye opener to look.
The thought provoker to begin consideration.
Or heavy chatter.
Or worry.
Or cacophony that slips from our grips and pushes us down dried-grass-barbed-slopes of new ideas, repetitive thoughts, or at worst- debilitating dark-cornered-unlovely-menaced fears.
I’ve always maintained “It’s the curse of the artist” to be so embedded in my own head; my own roller coaster emotion- trigger happy switch to take off.
Swapped for creative head- where use of traded goods is essential for self preservation and soul satiation.
In spite of knowing.
That outside my very self- exists all the peace and calm that anyone wants access to, as long as I stay in said stillness. That is there for the there-ness and no agenda to speak of.
And these soft moment-matters, they velvet path our way in elongated instants, where we find ourselves at fluctuating, anytime times.
And perhaps we tap our third eye 3 times with our index finger, to remember, here here here. This this this. Now now now. To stay soft in the still for one more moment.

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A walk around the blocks.
At night.
When the lights are on in the apartments within eyeshot, bright enough to reveal each illuminated box of walls and furniture where lives take place. Where conversations abound, or peter-out. Where honesty lies across the table, or secrets stay tucked under lightly-used napkins. Where sauces boil and bubble and forgotten pies burn crisp. Where old shoes line the entrances and extend into halls, tripping the innocent, and plants curl yellow in the condensation of windows.
At night.
Where sounds of closing car doors echo louder in the hush. And cats scramble with their better, dark-favored vision to the other side of the road. And skinny rats develop false confidence, obeying their hunger, scampering out of dirt holes to snatch fallen crumbs.
Where people sleep in dingy, hard, marble doorways beneath the blankets that once belonged to generous beds, and dream of colorful fantasy pictures, or terrible monsters, or vacations that they’ll take next life time, or things that they’ll have forgotten by morning.
Where pasty, sun-deprived gamers sit in fluorescent ,24 hour donut shops tactically moving board pieces, tantalizing early onset diabetes to their doors, gorging on fried-sugar-dough, systemically solidifying the promise of never getting laid again past a glory-hole. Where cups of stale coffee tip and splash spotty pants from shaky hands, and ashy floors, and blurry eyes and sour breath.
Where new couples cruise the banks of the lake, holding hands and kissing at each bench, and butterflies hopefully in there somewhere.
Where cargo trucks roll about, containing clandestine items of unknown sourcing to half of the drivers.
At night.
When I walk around my neighborhood.
Around blocks that are beginning to encircle a sense of home.
At night where my dog and I walk in wonder.
And contribute to the spectacle of the quite observers observing.

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The strangeness of days. The lopsided magic that elbows you from the sidelines. You hold your ribs, shaking your head. It happens. “Did that really happen?” You’ll say,cued up, but you’ll know. YES.
Eye-rubber, head-scratcher days. Where synchronicities pip, pop, pap and you watch. You know something is right- for you at least- in some way- but what an unorthodox display.
When moments and days segue and transcend perfectly into the next. The foreshadowing-of-strange-life-events feature revving.
As we grow, we become more aware- hopefully of the simple one door closed/ another opened equation. It’s genuine application. It’s mystery promise.
Go on, slap your normativity across the face with a wind up and see what comes. It might be giant. A slow giant, with watchful eye’s yet sloth-like timing. Like a continental drift. Before you know it you’re on the other side of the equator. Eating the same cereal all the while.
It’s moves like this that occur when you were sleeping. Be it literally or physically. Suddenly you might be 35 years old, in a kitchen that’s giving up the battle of white walls, a long and scratchy-floored corridor, old mouldings, access to the roof where you’ll take in first-of-morning moments, big ol’ bay windows at your head where you do your best to rest under your prized Pendleton.
Maybe you’ll have gone to a show 2 nights ago that you were looking forward to. One who’s performer you had seen before, who’s lyrics inspired and tickled you; a voice so soft you wanted to make slippers out of it. And maybe that show turned out to be an absolute flop- mimicking a pitiful freshmen art school project on staccato affects on the audience, and an undeterminable counterpart person on stage to remain turning potentially purposeless knobs and staring, full face into the eyes of your singing sweety who would soon melt before you as a bore. And maybe they would remain, staring and staring some more into each other’s eyes, ignoring the crowd at large, and whispering near the microphone; said counterpart looking plain Jane, but when the light hit her just right somehow Alice Cooper would emerge. Sans light tricks. Just a disco ball 20 some odd feet above. Let’s just say. And you told your friends. And the Alice Cooper thing was just undeniable and so-fucking-trippy and it kept happening. A devil woman!
And then you’re in this place, devising a get away plan, when the show ends early anyway, and you decide “Oh how nice, I shall ride my bike home and retire to bed quite early, making up for lack of sleep. How divine”, or something to that effect.
Home you go. Sleep you do. Until 3:37am when bullets ring out. Maybe 6 maybe 7 you can’t be sure because waking up with jolts and orientation isn’t your strong suit. And then a man wailing begins. And you call the police, and you go to the living room and you watch the man writhing on the sidewalk, 1 story below and about 7 yards from your building and punctured with bullets, and you; helpless in your robe, holding your mouth and wishing for a hug. Reevaluating the definition of loneliness.
Cops come after not too long and your eyes won’t budge until you forcibly pull yourself back to bed with silver brown black red sparks jittering your spinal column, heavying the pit of your back and lay there as the police commence taking witness testimonies right below your bedroom window until 6:50am.
And then your day has begun with sleep being a lost design, and you are nothing more than shot with rubber-band-brain thoughts continually slinging back to the sounds of what is to be a man the most alone in the world when consolation is the most important. And-oh-the-humanity.
And big baby, suck it up because you’re in the city now and it’s time to get tough and cut the gasps.
And then the day passes until the moment where you return home from the long-ass work day, to unwind with your pup-beast-filthy-love-animal-dog, and you go a walkin’ and a talkin'(on the phone), and as you round the dark corner, you emit a silent scream because… a gun! On the pavement. Too much. Your friend awaits on the other side of the phone afraid and waiting to be informed, as you realize- it’s not so much a gun as an abnormally large and angular shaped, 90 degree turd, in the perfect shape of a big big revolver. And you release in laughter and your friend remarks “I don’t know which is worse”, as your dog has begun to help himself to perimeterless snack, so you tell her what’s worse. And you know you have discovered a whole new level of turd burglar.
The continuous line, having been so for a while now; curious, unpredictable, colorful, undeniable. It’s the strangeness of days, when you as the observer skirt harm, eyes alert and concerned, yet an energy of still and constant, if not necessarily detached- lightness of being. Atypical stage. The comedy, the tragedy, roller coaster magic, continuos turn. Wheel gears gripping and moving forward as we ride. It’s all happening.
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I thought I told you not to ask me twice, because I blush when I can’t recall your birthday, or to ask about how your knee is feeling today, or if you worked out your most recent car issue…
It doesn’t stick and I have never known myself to be less invested in  someone I do care for, and it frightens me about myself- making me like you less.
I can sense your hands extending my way even when they are busy making lumps of your pockets, or interlocked, white-knuckled, behind you. I can feel the buzz of your questions, when your mouth forms a perfect, airtight  line. Your eyes- a welcoming brown and asking of me things that I can’t & won’t promise.

You ask me to be honest so I do and I am, but keep digging you do. You forget my humanity, in beta, treating me as though I tuck a cape secretly into my dresses; forgetting that I can only love you when you are happy in full & not look to me to fulfill this unspoken, expected duty to make flush your holes- pocked with insecurity. You forget how hard it must be for me to tell you constant disheartments, lest you never remembered- let alone realized.

Hurting the kindest person in the room. A bee stinging a bee. Squash blossom strains cross pollinating: creating a mealy, deceptive, lackluster hybrid. A dog, a tail: perpetual circling.

Your accolades stroke me, cocoon me, croon to me, make me sweet on you when you are not light enough to blow off the tower in response to my altered breathing. Your enviable sincerity. In my mirrored comparable to you this would equate to ghost netting/ nothing to show.

But love is it’s own world that hasn’t handle bars; and to grip and grasp- a fruitless way to hang on. Because it all boils down to feeling. Feeling with out the illusion of urgency. Feeling and truth commingling. And the foresight to not fear your intuition.

I disappoint myself in light of you. In your shadow I cannot commit and reciprocate. It’s tragicomedy. To want love so bad/ and be incapable of return. I do love you, but not how I would if I could.

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The more practiced at life you get, the better you know yourself. You know your limits. You know things to do that could make you feel better (nibbling chocolate), good (sipping whiskey), and even great (submitting and going for a run), and conversely you know how to get your panties easily twisted, freak yourself out, and how to board a quick train to Bumsville…. Right? Aka: what to avoid.
For me, I know better than to listen to frightening stories at night, or watch the news too late, or  involve myself in basically anything that is fear based or anxiety inducing. I’ll clench my jaw all night long and wake up nervous, intermittently. I need a fine buffer of sunshine coupled with a generous amount of well-lit hours to help process the shitty feelings, evening them out by when darkness falls. Like a cow with four stomachs, digestion needs its time.

Last night a wonderful terrible thing was brought to my attention. This wonderful terrible thing involves, I warn you: laughing at the expense of others while simultaneously likely losing hope for a significant portion of the American population.
I know- heavy!
This wonderful terrible thing is the stink-fruits of labor of a person from internet-land who compiled an entire tumblr site dedicated to collecting OK Cupid profiles of Juggalos. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term Juggalo, you can go ahead and click on the word and take a trip to the wikipedia link that I provided because I’m fancy, or you can sit tight for my half-assed understanding while I work it out for ya.
My disclaimer before I launch into a description of this underground phenomenot is that I have never been to a Juggalo’s festival, seen the Insane Clown Posse, nor have I ever even met a Juggalo. HOWEVER I am fascinated by all walks of life and such a distinct subculture definitely merits attention. Basically a Juggalo is a dude who paints his face like a scary clown in black and white, listens to the group mentioned above primarily, is generally overweight and dismissive of a healthy life style, generally tattooed, generally white (trash), (just insert generally for the rest of what I say) poor, uneducated, and drinks a lot of Faygo- the band’s brand of soda. Apparently they spray it on their fans during concerts. A Jugalette is a lady Juggalo, also known as a Neden. At the Juggalo gatherings, an annual occurrence, many people trade in their names for their true calling of Juggalo names. For real. They have a lot of their own ((cough cough) mind control) lingo. They say “Woop Woop!” and this often causes girls to show their ninnies. “But Juggalettes ain’t no hoes.” I’m not one to judge someone one their sexual proclivities, that was just a direct quote and I loved it for some reason.

Here are a song for ya. It’s really hard to stop doing the Dougie after. Am I right? Guys?

You can see where that came from in their promo video posted below for their gathering this summer. I really recommend watching it. In spurts.

Learning of the tumblr site spiraled me off into the outer lands of information gathering in order to present a fair piece to you here. I scoured the website of ICP (Insane Clown Posse), as well as tons of splintered youtube footage to learn more of the Jugallo lifestyle and ethos.
The FBI designated Juggalos as “a loosely affiliated, hybrid gang in 2011”. Watching the videos and listening to the rhetoric I would move to say that it’s as much a gang as it could be seen as a cult following situation. After all, the two leaders of ICP are business men, appealing to an under represented drove of people in the Midwest. It promotes violence, drug use, and blatant disrespect towards woman, calling us “bitches” & “hoes” and the usual misogynistic baloney, and as far as I can see- the only positive message that it stands to offer is that they are all one family. The narrative repeated is that they are do-gooders when they are Juggalos and Jugallettes and they are all friends and fam.And it feels nice to fit into something larger. Seriously, I know this. I looked at enough videos now to where I’m no longer the same person from when I started. Eesh. There are all these other bands that have come out like little minions of them, promoting the same speak as their predecessors. Like worker ants. Little followers spreading their scary, misspelled gospel.
Anyway, it calls to the lonely who work minimum wage jobs and live in towns where there’s nothing going on.
I am now extra grateful for where I grew up.

Looking at the OKC pics made me wonder if people dumb themselves down for this. Truly. It didn’t seem cool to spell things correctly, way beyond cheeky abreves. Down with the man and educational pursuits? And it seemed cool to not give a *$^% about your appearance; teeth, weight…
Are all these people really excepted? All I need is a little face paint and a wet T-shirt to find some lovin’?? Well haaay. Maybe it’s not so bad? My yoga membership is expensive!

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Imagine if my article helps these angels get laid. I wouldn’t be mad about that. I mean, I still want people to be happy. And use a rubber. Oh God use a rubber.

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Read this article, enjoy it. Watch the videos! It’s a trip. Just don’t do it before bed. Our natural levels of cortisone are down at night and things hurt more.
My mistake.

http://okcupidjuggalos.tumblr.com/

p.s. Gilbert Gottfried will be among their featured comedians at this year’s  gathering.

 

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