Monday, August 8, 2011

thoughts on air

You can feel the air pressing against your skin.

Just a soft touch.

The fan's constantly twirling, but you still feel the air in gusts as if it were an outdoor breeze.

Your skin feels cool.

Like the feeling you get after you have a mint and you blow air from your mouth.

That tingling sensation.

You start noticing your breathing.


Somehow it feels like you could be breathing more. You could be living more. But there's something in your way.

You don't know what it is though.

Maybe the air is thicker than it should be.

Or maybe you just need to inhale more because there's less oxygen in this air.

Less oxygen in this air... as opposed to? You realize this is the only air you've ever breathed.

But you have the idea.

There's a different air you could be breathing.

One that your relatives breathed not that long ago, but you missed out on.

You wonder what your kids will breath.

The fan speeds around, chasing itself and never catching it. It kicks the old air around.

Against your skin,  you breath it in.

It's a soft touch.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

the piano man

It was the fourth of July. It was also my friend's twenty-first birthday. Naturally, a lot of stuff happened that night, but this small moment in time stands out to me like a pin.


The girl I used to work with. She quit though, off to bigger and better things. Her name was Jenny. The guy I was friendly with, though we weren't friends. His name was Tyler.

The atmosphere was happy. It was the fourth of July and among our friends we finally established a reliable and permanent source of alcohol. Greg and Paul were setting off bottle rockets in the backyard, a few feet away from the deck where I watched their antics from a distance. My iPod was plugged into the stereo, blasting happy sounds into the night.

I was standing in a circle with half a dozen other kids. I knew some of them by reputation, some of them personally, and one kid recognized me from work. I looked around the yard to see if there was anybody else whom I could spark up a conversation with.

I noticed Jenny and Tyler then. They were sitting next to each other at the picnic table on the deck next to the stereo system. Tyler had his arm around her. I guess they've been dating for a while now. She smiled at him, but only with her mouth.

When they first arrived and I first ran into them Tyler stuck his hand out. "Jack! How the hell are ya?" I gripped his hand. A firm handshake I suppose. I gave Jenny a brief hug. "You should text me about going to Denny's sometime!" She turned to Tyler, "I still owe Jack Denny's! He bought me Denny's once."

Now they were sitting at the table. Billy Joel had come on the speakers. It's nine o clock on a Saturday. The regular crowd shuffles in. Jenny started to sing along, "There's an old man sitting next to me, making love to his tonic and gin!"

Tyler watched Jenny for a moment. Looking at her with a smile that was only on his face. As if taking a queue that this was in fact the proper and social thing to do in the situation, he began to sing along too, though I don't think he's really sure how it goes. But it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete when I wore a younger man's clothes.

"Sing us a song you're the piano man! Sing us a song tonight. We're all in the mood for a melody and you've got us feeling alright!"
They looked at each other as they sung and they swayed back and forth, taking sips from their plastic cups full of mixed drinks.

Tyler sung, "He says "Bill I believe this is killing me." As a smile ran away from his face."
Jenny sung, "Well I'm sure that I could be a movie star if I could get out of this place"

I watched in amazement. (now Paul is a real estate novelist) Didn't they realize how sad it was? (who never had time for a wife) This wasn't a song meant to be sung between lovers. (and he's talking with Davy, who's still in the Navy) It's a sad song, yet they seemed happy. (and probably will be for life.) To be honest I never really thought their relationship made much sense. She was a nice girl, and Tyler always seemed a little sketchy to me. But who am I to label what should make them happy? I guess I'll let them decide that one for themselves.

Yes, they're sharing a drink they call loneliness. But it's better than drinking alone!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

the old man and the beaver

"I wish I were a beaver," I said to the old man. He raised an eyebrow at me but did not respond. His eyes seemed to tell me to continue.

"Think about it. Nobody really does anything with their life anymore. We carry in the groceries while hauling out the trash, but in the end nothing changes. We pay our taxes and do our part so that other people can keep moving and doing their part for us. We're like a bunch of spinning gears without anything attached to the rod. What's the point?"

"And a beaver's life would have more meaning than this to you?"

"Yea," I smiled, "a beaver gets to build something. They can take a river, any old river, and build a dam. And when they build that dam they build a lake. It would be great to be a beaver. Throw a couple logs down, let the river carry driftwood into your branches, ensnaring them. I would make easy work of it. The lake would fill up with food for me, right at my doorstep. I would have a place to swim and play. Most importantly though, I would make a difference. I would create an entire new ecosystem myself. With my bare.. well. I don't know quite what to call a beaver's hands."

"Well what about new scientific breakthroughs. You have medicine we never dreamed of when I was a child. The technology is amazing. You can stand in this room and using a device you keep in your pocket, call somebody half way around the world in real time. You don't think the people who made these inventions. You don't think their life has a purpose?"

"Well... I suppose they do. But that's a lot of work. It'd be much easier to be a beaver. Besides, I'm talking about most people. Most people don't contribute anything to progress, to society."

The old man made a grunting noise and nodded slowly.

"You nod, but I don't think you agree with me."

"I don't."

"Well what about you. You worked your life at blue collar jobs. You never invented anything, cured anything, caused some great paradigm shift. What did you do with your life?"

The old man smiled, with only the smallest hint of sadness in his eyes. "Me?" he paused thoughtfully, "I lived. Isn't that something?"

Thursday, June 30, 2011

the path to all good things

here's the scene.

You're driving, your hands moist against the leather of the steering wheel. You can feel the engine's vibrations cursing through your fingertips, the roaring traveling up your leg from where your foot is gently pressing ever more downward on the gas.

Around you is only darkness and light. There is no in between. You can vaguely make out shapes to either side of you. The right, those must be mountains, but they are only an obscure black outline to you. The left, the woods, but you cannot make out individual trees; it is all one shadow.

You are traveling down a road that cuts between these two black shapes. Ahead of you, you can see a few other cars speeding along the road as well. Red lights occasionally lighting up and blinking back out. Ahead of you even further, beyond the end of where your eyes can see the road, is the ultimate darkness. A vast spread of black that is littered with specks of glowing light. The stars. They are beautiful.

Your eyes trace the path of a car, much like your own, racing along the path ahead of you. It speeds around a corner as it climbs around the side of the mountain, and disappears into the air, becoming one of the stars that litter the night sky.

Your heart beat intensifies. You can feel it pressing against your ribcage. You will soon be in the heavens. Finally, you will be in the heavens.

As you begin your curve around the edge of the mountain the lights of a city fill your view. The road does not continue it's upward ascent but instead dips downward into a bowl shaped valley. At the center there is light. Hundreds of glowing, blinking and moving lights.

These are the stars that could not make it to the sky. These are the stars that gave up on the path to all good things and instead fell. They sit there in their bowl of light, thinking that they followed the path and merely ended up here instead. You ease your foot off the gas.

Pulling over to the side of the road, you get out of your car. There is a mountain in front of you, but at the top of the mountain there is only darkness, and there is only light.

You begin your climb.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

just like my father

Break time.

"What can I get for you?"

"I'll just have a large iced caramel coffee, a grilled ranch snack wrap and a small fry please."

"You want your discount?"

"Yes please."

"Hey Sue! Can you come give Jack a discount?"

"Actually, can you punch this for a free meal for me?"


"And you forgot to punch it yesterday, could you punch it twice?"

I got a free meal card. It's good for seven free meals. I raised the most money for the Ronald mcDonald house or whatever. I guess that's cool.

I ate my food in the back. I ate my food in silence.

Throwing out my food, I walked out of the store.

Four quarters. I had four quarters. Good thing I got that free meal card. I walked to the grocery store. The scratch card machine didn't take coins here.

"Could I get a dollar for four quarters?"

"I'm sorry, I can't make change here. You can go to customer services though."

"Could I get a dollar for four quarters?"

"Ya. Here you go."

I rubbed the creases out of the dollar against my pant-leg. There was a man in front of me buying a scratch card. Lucky sevens. My mom always said seven was a lucky number. I thought loose change would be more appropriate though. I slid my dollar in after the man ahead of me had moved aside. Loose change.

You need the change in 6 spots to add up to over a dollar and you win the prize shown.

I didn't have any more coins to scratch with though. I used my fingernails, the gray dust gathering under my fingernail. Fifty cents. Good start.

But it wasn't good enough. Ninety-two cents.

Fuck that.

Is it narcissistic of me to think I deserve a break?

Friday, June 24, 2011


Me and my friend decided to go for a walk in the woods. As we neared the trees we studied the darkness that fell beneath them. We walked onwards, into the darkness, slowing our pace to a comfortable stroll. When we were completely hidden in shadows from those who still existed in the light outside of the trees, we brought some of our own light into the darkness. It sparked, and then there was glowing red.

As my friend and I continued to walk, I began to look around. The tree to my right had a face. I looked at him. You are in my woods. I could see the wind rustling the leaves of all the trees, yet it seemed to me that this one was rustling on its own. "Is it okay for me to be here?" I said this out loud. My friend glanced at me, but he was not paying that much attention to my utterances.

That is fine, my child, these are your woods too. I didn't understand. How could these woods, the trees, the moss, the leaves on the ground and the smell of flowering plants in the air be my woods too? Surely a tree, permanently rooted to a spot amongst the woods would have more claim to the land than one who is only a visitor. "These are my woods?"

"This is a park dude. This is public property, not yours." My friend responded to my question meant for the faced tree in front of me. The tree swayed his approval of my friends response.
"Public property. These are my woods."

My friend laughed, "Dude. You are so high."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Sorry if this writing seems sporadic, pointless, unnecessary, illogical, stupid or brilliant. Especially if you find it brilliant, because there must be something wrong with you. This is an insight into the workings of a delirious mind.


I was heading to my camp. I don't know if I'm still supposed to call it that. It was my camp when I was growing up as a child, but recently my dad moved in there and now it is his house. Should I be calling it my dad's house? Am I entitled now to call it my house?

Anyway, my sister was driving, and I was in the passenger seat. We were about two-thirds of the way there, when I saw the first of three unrelated (and yet oh-so-related) curiosities. There, on the side of the road was a deer. It was dead, crumpled into a shapeless ball on the side of the road. Yet, it seemed only to be taking a nap. We drove past it with out saying anything.

Around the next bend, there was a building. It was off the road a bit, with a few trees in front of it. On the side of the road in front of the building there was a sign. Tom's Taxodermy. The building was falling apart, to the point where it itself looked dead. I wondered what could be used to stuff it to make it look alive with marble eyes.

One more bend later and there was a billboard. Bud Light. Sure sign of a good time. I laughed, but it was sad laugh.