It Was All Glorious

Above audio for listening while reading – so press play.

I just wanna be stoic,
Resolute, determined, driven and heroic.

I wanna remind myself that age is but a number and how old I think, act, and choose to be is determined solely by me.
Hell, even how I look and feel is TBD,
Gym, diet, yoga, meditate, hydrate, skincare/sunscreen – repeat,
– Not forgetting sleep, even superheroes count sheep.

You’ve gotta have a regimen in life.
You can’t be a sea-slug, living each day a mass of nerves,
You can’t live accidentally.

In this life, it’s all up to you – but there’s a few things you must and mustn’t do:

Never compare yourself to anyone, that’s a mental trap – absolute utter sheer complete and total fucking crap.
Don’t look back in anger,
Never feel pain as the years pass, thinking: “Ah, but [back] then the world was my oyster.” The world is as yours today as it ever was – it’s but the attachments of the ego that anchor you to a place you once loved. That should serve only to remind you of what you are capable of.
Winners don’t live in the past.
You are still alive and while you are here you owe the present your complete attention – just as you gave back then,
So, tuck away the past to be grateful for another day and take away the lessons that have made you a much more well-equipped person.
There is nothing you can’t handle, just light up the darkness by letting your undying spirit guide you like a magic candle. Inner peace – it’s very real.

Ambition never dies – it only needs evolving.
There is no such thing as stress, merely the belief we lack the resources to handle a given situation.
Life’s not a test.

Throw the self-pity out with the bathwater you ungrateful, immature, dramatic baby. Are you starving, dying, in solitary, stuck in a mine, on a sinking vessel, trapped against a rock in battle behind enemy lines down to the last five rounds in your sidearm? – or is it simply your ego’s childish and manipulative lying. What the fuck – get a hold of yourself. haha – (never forget to laugh – because you can).

Whatever you are, you can be the best you. You can be the best seventy-year-old that ever spent the day watching bonanza, talking to your children, reading, eating, and going to sleep all alone – and you can do it all with a little smile, because there are joys in your day. And no matter who you are, no one else is limiting the amount of joy you can have. I ate an egg yesterday that felt like the rapture. IT was GLORIOUS!

And is it death you fear?

Let me ask you, what will it be like to go to sleep and never wake up?
What was it like before you ever woke up?
What happens after people die? (Other people are born).
(Above inspired by this – one of my favorite pieces of audio EVER)

Self-pity is the enemy – if I shall be struck dead today, if cancer shall claim me and I never hug my mother and father again – the people I love will be okay. There’s just no other way, the world works that way. And for having known me, the people I love will be enriched and I will have touched the fabric of the universe with a ripple that echoes in eternity. What more legend is there? What more heroism is there then to live and die. The glory. The full glory of the Roman Empire. Did you not remember the Romans? The peasants that lived and held their families as they slept. Thankful for their food, looking at each other and saying: “I love you”. They too wept. They too hated their enemies and died not forgiving those who had hurt them. We all do.

Let me not get carried away, because I have pleasures that those in hospice do not, I have joys. I can take a piss on my own. What a beautiful thing! And I have running water to wash my hands with after! CLEAN water I can drink. No fucking way. This is unreal. A starving child in Nairobi just died. He is lying in the dirt, his distended stomach facing the hot sun; flies on his eyes. He has just died and gone to heaven. And I am him. This is his heaven. Wait – you didn’t think you were more special than he DID YOU?. That’s what I thought, you damned fool. You inglorious bastard.

What are you going to do now? Sit and hate the person who once loved you? Hate those who didn’t love you? What are you going to do? Don’t be an idiot. You may as well be walking on the sun because as far as the ancient Greeks are concerned you are a G-d. And it’s all glorious. You’re living. And you will die. And I will die with anticipation for what’s next. And if nothing is next, then let me be reminded now – that I’m here but for today. I hope your next piece of bread is sweeter. I hope you thank the cosmos the next time you bang your shin and cry out “motherfucker!”. I hope that reading this changes you. I hope it’s nice where you are. I hope you never steal your own joy again. And if there is another side, then when I arrive I will tell them that it was all glorious.

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Post reading sountrack:

Author’s note: I’ve been composing lots of drafts lately, poems, a short story ‘The Blue Dory’, and a novella ‘Hampton Head’. Happy I took time to do some free writing / poetry tonight.

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I Just Want To…

I just want to:

  • Build a custom shower with two heads
  • Raise a dog from puppy till death
  • Need to buy appreciating assets for tax-purposes
  • Build a desk my great-grandchildren fight over
  • Learn how to cook more french-food
  • Write The Great American Novel
  • Have a third child unexpectedly
  • Become fluent in Spanish
  • Not need anyone
  • Be a better son/brother/boyfriend
  • Have a non-traditional wedding that people talk about for years
  • Build another boat
  • Change the people I come into contact with
  • Die with a Wikipedia page. A long one.
  • See how long I can live
  • Have a death I both desire and deserve
  • Read every damn great book ever
  • See humans on Mars. Maybe I’ll die there
  • Not be hated by my Ex’s for what I could have been
  • Learn Fencing
  • See the Singularity
  • Go to Polo Matches
  • Mentor people
  • Change the world
  • Finally poach and egg without cheating
  • Live in France for a time
  • Let those I love know I love them and I would die for them
  • See the people of North Korea free
  • Own a Lamborghini
  • Collect Porsches
  • Collect Watches
  • Start my watch company
  • Pay off a few mortgages
  • Surf-Fish 500 more times
  • Be my favorite author’s favorite author
  • Be a prized poet
  • Watch my kids in a play
  • Learn guitar
  • Live on the beach
  • Have a pied-a-terre in the city
  • Go to Mexico with my Dad in “the beater truck”
  • Be a wonderful Uncle
  • Save lives
  • Be a philanthropist
  • Write the book I am most afraid to (It’s either a flop or a classic)
  • Record that 808’s and Heartbreak mixtape
  • Put my poetry on soundcloud to music
  • Release a book of short stories
  • Win a Pullitzer or National Book Award or Both
  • Do a commencement speech
  • Drop in on a writing class at Columbia
  • Honor the Memory of Marina Keegan
  • Meet Jay-Z
  • Live at the Four Seasons
  • Buy shoes for kids too poor to have them
  • Get purple silk sewn inside that beat brown leather number I travel with
  • Fly private with someone I admire
  • Honor my father’s memory till the day I die
  • Let me mom know she is unreal awesome
  • Build a personal library that endures
  • Be a hero to children
  • Treasure my keepsakes
  • Grow a real beard – okay, perhaps a bit too far-fetched
  • See my novel ‘A Terran Spring’ on the silver screen – take my mom as my date to the premier
  • Sell a company I own
  • Be larger than life – always
  • Be humble – like Bunny taught me, always
  • Save something historical for posterity’s sake
  • Sail thousands of miles
  • Believe in G-d
  • Fight for things that matter – and win
  • Speak for those without a voice
  • Make my sister cry from happiness
  • Visit a few graves I never did
  • Honor those who made me who I am
  • Grow my own capers
  • Return to somewhere I miss and be glad it ended
  • Be thankful for regrets
  • Get better with age
  • Do a couple more things I fear to see if it’s worth it
  • Be my lover’s hero
  • Create a handwritten list of all my favorite movies for my grandchildren to watch when they are older
  • Produce an episode of ‘Bubbas’ – if still deemed worthy by 35
  • Own a great telescope
  • Garden
  • Be a great dad
  • Always accept myself
  • Embrace change with romantic curiosity
  • Witness a miracle
  • Be content
  • Stay hungry
  • Catch the perfect Halibut and kill it, saying a real Native American prayer as I do
  • Invest in a restaurant – not a crappy suburban one
  • Never forget how lucky I am to be me
  • Never apologize for who I am
  • Own a cat (I hate cats – but so did Papa [Hemingway])
  • Discover something
  • Be funny, always
  • Continually mature
  • Go pee right now

Edit: [post publish – same day night] – just counted and there are exactly 100 things on this list…how beautifully eerie.

A Golden Brick in The Road: Steve Roggenbuck

Have you ever encountered someone who makes you feel like a blind-drunk imitating a master ballet dancer?

I have.

The resulting feelings are thus:

I’m breathless and deflated and rising like a balloon excreting it’s worth and I’m bleeding with all of the oozing of a soul that’s just seen itself in the full chiaroscuro of a hand held in front of the bright light that makes everything in the dark take a new shape.

Backing up a thousand days for a moment. I’m a tech entrepreneur with a background in journalism-lite and a pedigree of sweet-and-sour romances. The successes and failures in each of these has shaped me much in the way that the wind shapes the desert. I’m a product of my environment and my experiences and now I’m typing this because as an artist I’ve come to a Golden Brick in The Road.

A golden brick in the road is that thing/person/book/idea that you come across and upon finding it you’re never the same. It’s spiritual alchemy. Real world meaning – understanding given to feeling, feeling given to ideas, new ideas, new understandings, new questions; answers to unasked questions having lurked too long in the recesses of your heart. A golden brick in the road is a pirate’s telescope for the soul. We experience it and we see distant lands and possibilities that quiver in the wind like palms on the shore of our dreams.

Tonight, taking a break from menial computer labor [coding and design], I saw a post on facebook by The New Yorker highlighting a one Steve Roggenbuck.

As someone who writes poetry – and who pretentiously likes to believe I have the soul of a poet – I was intrigued by this self-described ‘internet poet’ because personally I tend to feel that I was born in the wrong era as far as being an artist; as I recently wrote as part of a short story I am working on:

There was no place in the world for men born in the wrong era. Troubled men, men with confused consciences and selfish empathies. Impulsive men, men with vices and opinions which caused suffering in equal measures to themselves and those foolish enough to love the idealistic fools, the artists; the reckless intellectuals.

Admittedly this was relatively biographical and while I’m sure I may end up regretting that admission, I just have to claim it because lately my identity as an artist has been wrapped up in the dark and brooding misery that almost all artists surely experience at one time or another. And it’s the misery of not feeling able to communicate the inadmissible truths: the Jungian loneliness of being full of feeling and having little medium to express it in a manner that others in turn relate to and validate.

Because how the fuck can I express myself with the full double rainbow of my tears and my fears and my hopes and my dreams in 2014 – how is that possible today outside of journals and academia and people who actively seek out and read literature? How will this be appreciated beyond the posterity of my potential progeny reading this in the year 2153?

Then tonight, as I watched this video suddenly all of that complex and frustrated emotion became rather illusory:

And watching another video of his, the impasse within me continued to dissolve:

What can I say, I mean, I think the characteristic quality of this golden brick in the road was that, like all golden bricks in life, it expanded my idea of what was possible. Particularly what I felt was possible with art – and while I may not be quite as Andy Milonakis / Lil B as some of Steve Roggenbuck’s art is, I’d like to think I’ve got a sort of David Foster Wallace / Phillip K. Dick / Hemingway / Terry Gilliam / whoknowswhothefuck vibe to my writing, but the truth is, I’m as unique and bizarre, and average, and different as you are, and I’m definitely full blown ENFP as far as personality types go – but the point is, that in a world where we have to have so many schemas for interacting with life (i.e., ‘who we are’ at work, ‘who we are’ at a bar with our friends, ‘who we are’ with strangers) it’s especially trying as an artist to try and create your art and to cultivate yourself as an artist in a manner that balances authenticity with integrity; because the danger isn’t in failing to create but in creating in a manner that fails to communicate who you are and what you want to say. If you fail to do that, you’ve failed as an artist.

What I found so endearing about the work of Steve Roggenbuck is that it felt fearless and to me that’s where real authenticity in art exists, in the ability of the artist to express himself honestly – despite expectations and styles and rules. That’s what makes Roggenbuck original; that’s what slapped me in the face tonight: the fear of my own failure to do so. Because the truth is, that like you, I want to be liked, I want to be accepted, but the real truth is, that in life, that’s simply not living; that’s being a puddle sitting in a pothole in the road and thinking the world was made just for you – and it wasn’t made for you to conform to, it was made for you to shape. So… what are you going to do? Be you.

The risk is not in the wrong people not liking you. The risk is in the right people not loving you.

Thank you Steve Roggenbuck for helping me see what it means to be a poet today.

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Check out Steve Rogenbuck’s website to follow him on social media and across the web.

Poetry: Seven Keys To a Peaceful Heart

You find that in life loss is just a part of it,
You’re going to lose that thing, which at one point was the very heart of it.

And when those days come, endings to loves and seasons dear,
Your heart will writhe with pain and you’ll desire the fate of King Lear.

You’ll be lost and confused – perhaps months unto years: it depends,
How well can you let go and will you accept that all eventually ends?

You can curse the fates or seize the day – for despair and hope are yours alone,
But there’s no finding providence or serendipity when you’re lost and forlorn.

No one finds a new raison d’etre without the universe knowing they are ready,
The heart’s simply not open until the disposition of the owner grows steady.

For to strengthen yourself you must know and master seven keys to a peaceful heart:

  • Confidence – not just the act of being confident, but the knowledge that you are capable of handling anything.
  • Faith – not just that it will be easy, but that it will be worth it.
  • Patience – not just with the world, but with yourself.
  • Perseverance – not just continuing on in the face of difficult challenges, but succeeding in spite of them.
  • Self-Reliance – not just for your care, but for your pleasures, for your governance, for your motivation, for your identity, – all of you must spring forth from a well that you alone can lay claim to.
  • Resilience – don’t try to adapt to what happened, simply adapt to what is.
  • Self-Love – this is what will keep you from abandoning yourself when you feel the world has abandoned you, it will also be the cornerstone of your relationships – not only with yourself, but with the world.

Do these seven well and you’ll weather the storms of life quite well,
Don’t and – well, you’ll end up in a certain kind of hell.

It’s the prison of a man who tied his happiness to expectations past,
It’s the regret of someone who feels they’ve lost their only chance at a love that could last.

But not you.

Sure, you’ve made 75 mistakes,
But in doing these seven well you’ll have what forgiving and letting go takes.

And to this end, constant change is a promise we will always be tested,
But there’s an easier way than the penance of a rebellious heart that’s been bested.