Monthly Archives: March 2014

Poignant….

Poignant music…

Poco did an outstanding version of “Magnolia“, but she was JJ Cale’s baby (RIP) and this haunting rendition, especially those subtle chords and harmonics, gives me chills…whippoorwill singin’

 

 

Posted in Misc

Chapter X

I entered the apartment and looked around, not feeling at home but somehow knowing that it was okay to be there. It was a modest, uncluttered place, yet spacious and airy. Books and papers however were piled high on a dining room table across the room to my left. Behind the table bright sunshine blared through a huge floor-to-ceiling glass window. So bright it was difficult to look in that direction. Across the living room in the corner, there was a staircase. It spiraled up; an ornate iron frame with wooden steps. The floor was wall-to-wall beach brown carpeting, exactly the same as in my apartment. It covered all except for the dining room floor, which from where I stood appeared to be as clear as glass reflecting a bright sky. The walls were colored in soft pastels, a light mint green downstairs giving way to a carnation pink halfway up to the high ceiling. A ceiling which for some reason I could not actually see for the brightness – skylights maybe. The use of light was intentional here, wherever here was. The place was bathed in it. But standing there, I realized that the light blasting everything around me was not reflecting on me. I looked like a black and white character in a technicolor film. From my inside I recognized deep feelings of gloom and depression. Even in the midst of such brilliance, I felt empty of all emotion, as if I was dying from a heavy heart. But then I heard the cheerful voice of a young woman calling down from above, “You okay, honey?”

Huh?

I looked up and saw an open hallway at least 12 feet above me that I had not noticed earlier. It ran along the right, for the entire length of the room from back where the staircase climbed. The woman stood in the middle, halfway to the stairs. She looked down at me and smiled while reaching behind her neck, fixing her blouse or her honey blonde hair. Her light pink blouse was somewhat puffy in the shoulders and glistened like satin. Her appearance while definitely above average, was not exactly my type, but there was something astonishingly special about her that made me feel better inside. Seeing her, I began to feel relieved,  even while remaining confused about where I was and why. I answered her honestly, “I don’t know if I’m okay. I’m very sad about something, but I don’t know what”.

For some reason I neglected or felt no need to ask who she was, or where I was. She smiled back at me and said, “I’m coming”. While I did not actually see her come down the stairs, a moment later there she was, approaching me as I stood on the edge of the carpet where it met the translucent floor of the dining room table. Her blouse was tucked into high-waist, white pants. At first I thought her long legs were snugly fit in 1970s-style bell-bottoms, except as she approached it flowed more like a gown. Only about two inches shorter than me, she moved easily, almost weightless. She had a dancer’s figure, emanating lightness and grace.

Moving some papers on the table out of the way, she faced me, smiled again, and effortlessly boosted herself up to sit on the table. Completely at ease, she swung her dangling legs back and forth a few times. The table itself seemed to float on the crystal-clear floor. I remained standing inches away on what now seemed more like a carpeted precipice. She put a hand on each of my shoulders and urged me to turn and face her. Her forehead was almost covered by long bangs that angled from left to right and her hair was short, delicately framing radiant, vaguely freckled cheeks and an oval face. She looked at me through emerald eyes that sparkled a green so majestic as to be most certainly not of this, or rather, my earth. Immediately I felt that she could see into my soul. Her gaze mesmerized and warmed me as if I was looking at the personification of love and compassion. She seemed much younger and purer than me but much wiser. Her essence was joy and virtue. I felt secure with her and I trusted her with my life.

She grasped my arms with smooth hands and directed me to hold her. While delicate at the waist, she was not fragile, if that were even possible. I felt a sense of awe wash over me and I felt honored just to be in her presence. Looking at me with tilted head, already knowing me better than I did, she laid her arms on my shoulders. A moment later she pulled me close, wrapping her arms tightly around my neck. She reassured me, “Honey, everything is going to be fine”. I returned the embrace. Folding myself around her, I buried my face in the side of her neck and breathed in deeply. Her scent was more intoxicating than a thousand spring orange blossoms. I exhaled and felt the darkness flush out of me. With each breath I was rejuvenated, and I never wanted to let her go. She was my lifeblood and I quickly adored her. Perhaps I had adored her for eons. I was grateful that we were together whether it was for the first time or the millionth. We slowly released the embrace, immersed in each other’s gaze.

I lingered on her face; her skin seemed to glow. I noticed her lips; soft, rosy, irresistible. Her brilliant smile was disarmingly cute. I felt what we had could only be described as transcendent and profound. Earth-words were inadequate. She was my first innocent schoolboy crush multiplied a million trillion times, for eternity. I noticed that even the bright light from the glass wall behind her couldn’t dim her glow; it only wrapped us up in its warmth. It energized me, and my living color began to return. Her aura was part of the brightness; visual beauty, but experienced deeply. We kissed lovingly and romantically. I was convinced of our intimacy. She interlaced her fingers with mine. I looked down and humbly whispered, “thank you”.

Feeling better, I began shifting my attention to my bewilderment. My thoughts focused on questions. Who are you? Who are we? And where am I? My wanton demand for some logical explanation threatened the euphoria. She knew that my state of bliss had reached its zenith, and was now giving way to shallow curiosity. She comforted me. “Don’t worry my love,” she cooed, “We’re going to do this together”. I immediately felt more at ease from the sound of her voice.

She slipped herself off the table, took a small step out of the brightly lit dining room, and stood there on the earth-carpet with me. Her pink silk blouse turned into a petite white T-shirt with small green horizontal stripes. Her bell-bottom gown transformed into slightly faded blue jeans. In bare feet, she was easy-going and casual, but still divine. She took my hand and began to lead me toward the door. Sensing my apprehension and anxiety, she reminded me, “It’s going to be okay, babe”, promising, “I’m always going to be with you”. She got up on her tip-toes, leaned in, and whispered in my ear, “Don’t forget how much I love you”.  As she let go of my hand and faded into the ether, I watched her smiling. Her love became brighter than the sun. It engulfed us both. I closed my eyes, and that was it. I woke up.

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Posted in Misc

Say what you need to say…

Gotta say what you need to say. And with that I am going to post some videos to view. Yeah, I know. I’m going to say what I need to say by posting videos…pun intended…

R.I.P. Big Guy…

Time to go back to the places you will be from…

Posted in Misc

Blissfully UnweLL, thank you…

Fresh off of being called a “pseudo-intellectual” by an obvious admirer (I’ve been called worse, this year too, and hey, who am I to argue with other people’s opinions of me), it’s a good time to update what’s been happening lately.

To me.

A narcissistic, pseudo-intellectual.

Sorry, I neglected the narcissistic part earlier, however after looking in the mirror, hey what can I say that hasn’t already been said?

Anyway, however it may irritate some, on Wednesday this week I was admitted to ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences for the upcoming fall semester. The program I will be in is the Master of Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS). Unlike my Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS…or probably “BS” to some people), I will not so much choose two individual disciplines, as much as I will be looking at a “problem” or issue that resonates with me and through an interdisciplinary approach, develop research toward clarity, understanding or solution. Or something to that effect.

To say I am “stoked” would be an understatement. I intend to use these five months before the starting gun goes off to prepare almost incessantly. I have been “disciplined” enough during this crazy, ummm, gap year (?), that I’ve been keeping notes of any and all ideas related to my interests and passions. Whenever they come to me. Even in the middle of the night. Confession: I sleep with my iPhone. But trust me, there’s no hanky-panky happening between me & HER…(who loves you, Siri?). In other words, inspiritaion and EUREKA! moments can strike at any time and I’ve learned that they come on gossamer wings. If I don’t write them down, they flitter away into the ether.

Contemplation and exploration lead to nascent ideas which then coalesce into possible research tracks; ideally evolving into an academic path that may eventually flourish into anything from a PhD program to my wandering the earth, and beyond.

The downside to my admission (and this is completely understandable), is my having to attend the first year as a non-resident. My gotta-try-or-you’ll-never-know eight months adventure away from Arizona in 2013 cost me about $9k more in tuition. But the great news was received on Thursday when the program director notified me that I was awarded a Graduate Education Fellowship. I could type a dozen adjectives to express my gratitude for that, but suffice to say I am thrilled to begin this next adventure in life.

Deciding to “live my bliss”, “seek my personal legend”, and/or “follow my heart” was and always is (ALWAYS) the best philosophy. But of course, I’m a narcissitic, pseudo-intellectual, so what the hell do I know?

And now this…

 

Posted in Misc

Carry On…

As I hit middle-age, I am driven every waking moment by a mix of dynamics that include urgency, presence, awe, and serenity among others. Life is delicious. Heck, I would submit that even my dreams have become more vivid; I’m dreaming more in technicolor.

I’ll never forget my first dream in color. March of 1977, the night before two friends and I were leaving for spring break in Daytona Beach. Though living only 90 miles away in Milwaukee, I had never been south of Chicago in my life and the excitement and anticipation were manifesting even in my sleep. Just like in the movie, “Wizard of Oz“, that night I was dreaming in black & white about an adventure south and when I arrived at the doorstep of Florida, it appeared as a wall of the most beautiful flowers, in living color.

Dreaming in color may be how my consciousness responded in 1977 to the anticipation of the biggest adventure of my life up to that point and again now in 2014 to the acceptance of the final journey we all take, as it becomes more inevitable to me.

Coincidentally, another anecdote about spring break and death happened last week when I advised my eldest son that should I die right before or during any vacation or some fun trip he was on, I absolutely do not want him to cancel it because of me. I am simply not going anywhere nor will I care. In fact, I advised him to go with the $526.38 creamation advertised on an I-10 billboard just west of downtown Phoenix and then mix my ashes in with some Ph appropriate soil and grow a palm tree on the campus of my beloved Arizona State University.

Also fairly surprising (and relieving) was a comment my mother made when we were talking on the phone yesterday. She’s probably sick of this by now but I was still venting about some family issues. I mentioned that if I ever visit Wisconsin again, I’m only coming to see her, one of my brothers and my closest old friends. She slipped in, “Hey, you don’t even have to come to my funeral”. She said it with all the matter-of-factness that I would’ve. So there’s that.

Face it, funerals are for the living, not the deceased. I don’t believe she’ll care, and I won’t care, and I don’t believe you’ll care either. Because no matter what your belief system, whether grounded in science or myth, we’ll be in the same place – only a tiny space is the difference between now here and nowhere.

And now this…

I’m not scared of dying,

And I don’t really care.

If it’s peace you find in dying,

Well then let the time be near.

If it’s peace you find in dying,

And if dying time is here,

Just bundle up my coffin ‘Cause it’s cold way down there.

I hear that its cold way down there. Yeah, crazy cold way down there.

And when I die, and when I’m gone, There’ll be one child born In this world to carry on, to carry on.

Now troubles are many, they’re as deep as a well.

I can swear there ain’t no heaven but I pray there ain’t no hell.

Swear there ain’t no heaven and I pray there ain’t no hell,

But I’ll never know by living, only my dying will tell.

Yes only my dying will tell.

Yeah, only my dying will tell.

Give me my freedom for as long as I be.

All I ask of living is to have no chains on me.

All I ask of living is to have no chains on me,

And all I ask of dying is to go naturally.

Oh I want to go naturally.

Here I go, Hey Hey! Here comes the devil, Right Behind.

Look out children, Here he comes! Here he comes! Hey…

Don’t want to go by the devil.

Don’t want to go by demon.

Don’t want to go by Satan,

Don’t want to die uneasy.

Just let me go naturally.

and when I die, When I’m dead, dead and gone,

There’ll be one child born in our world to carry on,

To carry on.

Posted in Misc

Evolution…

TosaI went back through my blog recently; all the way back. Someone had to do it, why not me? Well, I think mostly because this is all in from my head. This is my proverbial tree-in-the-forest. Words fall; does anyone hear them? God, I hope not.

Anyway, revisiting my past from 2007 it becomes evident where I was intellectually and emotionally. Almost every entry represents a wayside where I pulled off the journey for a few minutes to post some information, some opinion, or some music which resonated with me at the time. Very much like a virtual diary; except for the jagged personal rubble.

What did I ascertain about this look back? How could I enlighten my “past self” if my “future self” had a chance to visit?  For one, I’d say keep going. Keep doing what your doing because you’re following your heart. Get ready for the ride of your life. Meaningful experiences, superficial disappointements, riches and poverty, recognition and indifference, more creaking bones…

In essence, evolution toward fulfilling the obligation to yourself to become what you want, how you want, when you want, without having to explain it, excuse it or defend it to others. Paulo Coelho called it “your personal legend” in The Alchemist. There is a price of course. I’d tell him to get ready for some tough times; lost friendships,  black-sheep criticism, fish-out-of-water lonliness…waa, waa…get over it.

It’s all about transcending the status quo. You can only do that through your heart as compass-guide. And stay out of that cage that society will try to put you in and keep you. You have to walk the razor’s edge. It’s possible. It’s emotional. It’s rewarding.

Dabble, flit. Widen your perspective. Learn. But do.not.for.one.minute forget to…get a nice tan, don’t do cold winters, admire the beautiful, exhibit awe, watch sports, write comedy, eat well, take long drives, play poker with the guys, walk across the country, be kind, dream…

 

Posted in Misc

It’s been awhile…

securedownload.jpgIt’s been almost 4 years since I was regularly updating my blog. I pretty much said see ya later with that pic on the left. I was enrolling back in school for the fall 2010 semester. I had no idea what the future held either long or short term. The economy was crash(ed)ing, I had lost one of my top accounts and was staring at a 65% pay cut.

So what’s been happening?

Well obviously if you were truly interested you could or already did click on the “CV” or “About” links in the menu above. But I can show you some highlights….

I was named College of Letters and Sciences Outstanding Graduate of 2013…

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I was the recipient of the Leonor Boulin Johnson Academic Achievement Award in African and African American Studies…

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…and I graduated summa cum laude with a 3.98 GPA…

degree

Ok, this is a cheap, vanity-laden post. I acknowledge that. But because I have decided to post more regularly here again, I think this is a new starting point. I intend to post whatever creative, drole, inane compositions which I feel the need to express. It’s fine because after all, it is extremely likely that I am the only one reading it anyway. But its my “journal” and it goes back to 2007 I think, so I owe it to myself to continue to create in some capacity. Ciao for now.

 

 

Posted in Misc