Love, take it to the mattresses.

There’s a subtle shift that occurs after two people realize they’re standing in the moment of finality. It’s as if the world whispers, “Don’t blink or you’ll lose the last moment where you know who is standing in front of you.” The moment of truth, arrived, and this is what it’s like to not know each other anymore.

She slept on mattress on the floor—the same mattress I had purchased after the heartbreak before her—when I passed by the hallway packing the last of my things. I thought, “She has a place to rest her head even if she sleeps near the ground for now, but she’ll get a frame to lift it back up.” It was that same line of thinking I had after the initial shock of the I’m-going-to-leave-my-marriage realization; I’m doing the right thing for both of us in the long run even if the short run scorches our feet.

I’m sleeping on an air mattress tonight in my renovated shoebox in Alphabet City. It’s been quite some time—5 months to be exact—since I’ve been comfortable in my own space. Despite the obvious disarray from the move, I’m free to be free. Although, if I’m truly being honest, here, that uncomforted space issue started one year and five months ago. While I’m being honest, let’s face it, freedom is never free.

Shopping for mattresses is a lot like soul work; you have to know yourself well enough to know what you like, how much you’re willing to invest in your comfort, and not rush it. I was upsold on the first overpriced mattress, a firm with a pillow top, like many other things during that period in my life. Later, I was also talked into tossing it for a terribly old, piss stained, non-pillow top mattress, by a girlfriend attached to most everything except me. After she hurt me in the most despicable way possible, I was sans mattress, not that one fit into my inherited vagabond lifestyle in the first place; couch surfing required less capital and emotional investment.

Futons, the minimalist way of resting your head, was the way to Zen. Mattresses were heavy and laborious constructs of luxury that I didn’t need. No, out with the old and in with the new. I acquired a different, vibrant, soul enriching, school of thought, and the only way to happiness was through the suffering–and, let me just say this about suffering; there were some painstakingly difficult nights of sleep where my back was concerned. Futon people don’t have significant romantic relationships. They just can’t, really, because a futon person is in a transitory state of living that no one wants to catch.

With the first indication of love interest, I tossed that sucker and bought a new mattress, firm, for her back problems. Solving her problems, giving her comfort, and making certain she never woke up in pain, was how I spent the next four-or-so years. Sleeping on that firm mattress, built to sustain the strength of the spine, it occurred to me that this firm mattress was not mine. I purchased it, yes, but this was not where I was supposed to rest my head.

I left her the firm mattress, which was now on the floor with her. I had my freedom, so I marched into Macy’s listening to the divorce theme song “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + the Machine and I plopped down on that plush Euro bed mattress.

“Can I help you?”

I smiled, big. “Yes, I’m in the market for a new mattress.”

“Feel like testing out the others?”

I closed my eyes, briefly, and despite being internally sold on the one I was on I shook my head yes.

She led me to different makes and styles of mattresses, and I obliged because I had never taken my time before, until we made a full round and stood in front of the first choice; the queen plush Euro bed. “Do you know the comfort level you want?” She asked.

“I do,” I replied. “I want to sleep in a cloud.”

“So this one seems like the perfect fit.” She pointed.

“Yes.”

We made small talk as I spent an extravagant amount of money on my mattress–MY mattress.

“What’s the reason for the purchase today?” She looked up from entering my credit card information.

“I was married for four years and the trade-off was the firm mattress.” I paused and felt a tremendous amount of fulfillment. “Now that I’m teetering on the brink of divorce, I want to rest my head in the clouds.”

The cloud-like mattress arrives on Thursday, so for now I’m making do with the air mattress. I’d rather be like one with air than two on an old piss stained non-pillowtop, firm, break-my-back-for-love type of mattress. So, while we may be strangers and prefer different mattresses, I know one thing to be true about myself–I prefer plush.

 

A Sea of Broken Windows

In the intensity of people you’ll often times find a misaligned suffering in which if you’re not careful could pull you under.  An amorous disposition here would likely result in a near drowning in the immortal songs of Jeff Buckley.  You hear the warnings of lifeguards, you see the no swimming signs, and for a minute you stand with apprehension and watch the sea swell and then break upon the shore.  The velvet of the sand beneath your feet massaging from ground up and basking in the sun of contentment should be enough to keep away a vehement desire to swim in an erratic ocean.  Digging your feet into the sand, there you go, running into choppy waters.

The mightiest of all emotions, passion, overwhelms reason every single time.  I’ve told people that there was only a small but significant window of time in which your mind has a chance to save you before you fall into the abyss of love.  But, at that juncture freewill is rarely exercised so you tumble downward.  You would think, I presume, since those are my fighting words that I would be exempt from love foolery.  Alas, I am not.  I am clumsy at best and vying for a second-coming of naivety.  Despite this awareness, I break windows. I just hope the cuts heal in time to collect the sea glass.

 

Muse and Wine

There was a bit of irony about Monday.  Sitting in a bar with a couple of friends discussing how one needed a muse.  Two wines later, a Facebook post went out – the friend sent it out into the world.

In life, I’ve found muses occupy the space in your waking life that you rarely allow yourself to be.  Between schedules, stress, here and there, the notion of a ‘muse’ is lost within the blur of day-to-day.  There’s a pulsation in life that you can be swept up in;  a vibration a little softer than a whisper that becomes louder than the world.  You can’t control those whispers of prose, but you’ll want to create poetry.  You’ve met your muse.

There’s a deeper level of discovery that comes along with a muse, which makes you want to display the collection of beauty for all to see while withholding the source of inspiration.  Not a secret, but a refusal to sell your soul.  The art is for the world, the muse for you.  A penetration to the soul, the purest form of creation, that any good muse retracts from you.  However, the motivation yours; a study in humanity.

Some find muses in people around them, in quick glances of strangers, old friends, imaginary friends, topics, famous people, inside themselves, or nature. Others are discovered by their muses – previously dormant,  waiting to be heard, poking and prodding until you see what you’ve never seen before at the end of  your glass of wine.

 

 

 

Miles Of Warm Hearts

Feeling everything from every direction,
A welcome mat I never bought,
You say come in,
You don’t speak a word to me – never,
Whether you were ever here to begin with is yet to be determined,
And my being drifts into imagination,
Stories you inhabit,
Imaginary tales you never told,
Telling myself stories I’ll never write,
You know,
You did enough for me to write forever,
You’re never far away,
You’re never too close,
You’re the reason,
I walk,
I crawl,
Your memory crushes,
Within,
Miles upon miles of hearts I stole.

Back to Being

The eagerness in my soul guiding me toward the shiniest parts of life,

Anything that makes me smile,

Revel in time,

Spill my very best into the holes of life,

Until sounds nourish,

Float through my being,

Shutting my eyes to sway,

To the wondrous ways my heart has been touched.

Dear Jeffrey, 10 days until you’re 28….

I remember you,

Though I age my lines get deeper and defined,

While yours go unchanged and more soft-focused with time,

All the heaviness fades to lightness as I grow into being,

A fantasy life, I imagine, who you could be,

I remember you,

Surfing through people with attention and ease,

Looking for neglectful and clumsy me,

Your spirit was so free,

Mine locked down by judgmental, grudge-filled, heady thinking,

I remember you,

Exuding happiness into everything,

Most of which I inevitably drained,

A smile in the world you left behind,

Beamed life into my soul,

What you already knew,

I’m still finding out,

I remember you,

You taught me what life was about.

-Your sister (Friday, the 13th of August in 2010)

Remember Your Voice

Your voice,

Faint and fighting for recall,

Bouncing back and forth inside my head,

I can’t catch it but perhaps with good reason,

I wonder if I would remember it in an instant,

Or would it pass me by like our lives,

Collided and broke off into a million tiny pieces,

Floating in a space I can’t grasp,

Particles of you move too fast,

No matter how hard I tried,

I’m not meant to hold that part in my hand,

Your voice once so familiar,

Now struggles for recognition.

Karma Racking

 

Indelicate little mind,

You’ve settled in between,

Choices of courage,

Dangled from the mistakes we knew we were making,

In taking this on autopilot,

The road less traveled I always took,

Dead ends every time,

Suffered and restructured little soul,

Too big for your britches,

Painting stories against the grain,

But few people enjoy splinters,

They’re not like you and me,

Using a needle to set it free,

Then stitching each other up,

You can only go so far,

All sewn up,

Threads unravel,

Then they shred,

Until all you have left,

Is the safety in-between,

Active re-collector,

How time has left you behind,

Tramping through the land of the blind,

At all you’ve seen,

With the entourage of your mind,

Doesn’t mean a thing,

When too much is at stake,

With time,

This time,

Karma racking.

Character Development

It’s an interesting thing to do—create characters.

As a child we create them outside of ourselves because we’re like blank canvasses without our own markings. Slowly we start scribbling and experimenting with color, and we spend a great amount of time creating ourselves—the main characters. Some people have trouble coming to terms with who they are as the main character, so they spend their time developing other characters, whom they mix like colors into the palate that is life. The minor players, however, are just as important in life; music needs harmonies just as it needs the lead, and together they make a song.

The same is true in writing: in order to create a good protagonist, a writer must give that character a supporting cast—the people who teach the protagonist new things, influence him/her, shape the story arc in some subtle but driving way—including an antagonist, which requires a complex understanding of the protagonist and can be the hardest character to create. However, the antagonist often offers up the best lessons for the protagonist. Maybe these lessons take place just for a reflective moment, or perhaps they change the pace of everything, but how the main character changes because of it is the ultimate question.

Real life works the same way, I think. I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent my entire life dissecting all aspects of who I am, and out of nowhere I’ll do something out of character. What does it mean? Why did I do it? Who or what triggered it? It’s easy to see these things spill out into the story from others, but to really know yourself and to know the lesson from which it is triggered…well, it takes a lot of inner dialogue and supporting characters to work it out.

In my writing, I love the minor/support characters because I’ll see little bits of myself in every one of them, even the villain. In these characters, I find my great-grandmother, my co-workers, my siblings, the hippie from Los Angeles who taught me about karma, or other various people who have left imprints on my own life. Without these people immortalized in the pages of books, or in life, what kind of story would I really have but a flat narrative—or a boring biography, perhaps?

Ernst Fischer said, “I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.” They say what makes art beautiful is its imperfections, and the subtle pauses in sound is what makes good music. I, for one, like learning about those imperfections in myself on and off the page. After all, in life you can climb up a mountain to look inside, but eventually you have to come down that mountain and apply what you’ve learned.

Smile of demise.

Of all the things we’ve survived,

On the road to our demise,

I miss your wild antic smile,

It got me everytime.

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