Monday, 25 February 2008

I am i

I only notice the loneliness when I am in the company of people. Surrounded by strangers I have to talk to, I find I have nothing to say, I find it hurts.

Got an email today from my step-dad, he is 69 and just got dumped. He moved to Vermont from Corsica for this woman, on her insistence, who now has decided to return to her ex-husband in Switzerland or some such where. I am not laying blame here...but for fucks sake. Women are crazy, you learn this with time, yet it still catches you out. Until someone devises a truly workable alternative, we are stuck with them.

I like the cafe culture, I have come to feel at my most stable and peaceful in a quiet corner of a bustling city cafe where I can write undisturbed, where people I will never have to speak to drift by me never to be seen again. We will never run out of new faces to look at and I am glad. Even from the darkest, most cruel and cold nights I can find solace here in the daylight, in anonymity, amongst all these strangers, with just a pen for company. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. I can relax here. Here, I am happy to let life slowly slip away from me. Other peoples busy-ness somehow exonerates me from it all.

I have a fucking big smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart. A melancholic tune plays in the background and twangs a little on my heartstrings, just enough to make me feel this moment is real. I suddenly feel like striking a guitar pose and shouting at the top of my lungs – ‘FUCK YEA!’

I have to return to my digs shortly, have to talk to people again, people I know. I have to make sense. Say not what I am thinking, but what is appropriate and acceptable and least likely to cause offense. I will speak and listen to emptiness and wonder why or what could possibly be said to make it better.

I don’t believe I will die before tasting love again. I hope I can meet its expectations. I had hoped to find fulfilment out here in this new country. I guess I always was a romantic dreamer. Who knows, maybe she exists, maybe she does. Just try to remember – women are crazy. It’s not hard to make it work, you just have to play it right; Don’t sink too deep in comfort, don’t let too much of yourself go, and always keep an eye on the exit routes.

I sat by the pool today, watched a man pull a small terrapin from a plastic box. He petted its head then kissed it, all the while talking coochy-coo. I was struck by how contentedly in love he looked. It was some kind of bliss. The thought struck me that he was crazy. Ha! Like we aren’t all driven gently into complete fucking lunacy. I concluded that I was happy for him. I smiled a genuine smile when he looked at me, it gave me a warm feeling, and that seemed somehow a good thing, like it mattered.

Then, I leant my head back, looked up high above the tower block I currently wait in. The sun burning into my skin, burning into my eyes, at once loving yet looking for ways to kill me at the same time. That’s how it is. And love is just another burning sun.

Wars rage someplace far away, man pushes computers into space trying to figure out where, what and why he is. All the while birds, animals and plants just do their thing and already know, or just don’t care. I lie here wondering about all the things there are to wonder, while across from me a simpleton finds completion in an inch long amphibian that can't ever speak or act to hurt him. My step-dad sleeps a fitful sleep of pending pain and anguish on the other side of the world, a pain and loss he is probably too old to heal. Somewhere a new life just entered the world as another one exited. My heart pumps blood without me ever having asked it to, and I have no idea why I came here or what I am supposed to do with it at all.

A sunburst refracts off a broken window not far from where I sit splitting all the colours of life into my eyes and across my words. I feel wondrous. I feel alive, afraid, and despite all my fears or maybe because of them, I am hungry for it.

The last time I fell in love ....

My last five liaisons with women had been disasters one way or another. Coming at a time in my life when I was at my least secure just cemented their demented fear into my subconscious. I didn’t notice it happen, just one day I saw a pretty girl across a bar and a sweat came over me. Next thing I am outside walking home rather than face talking to her. This went on for some months before I realised what was wrong; I was afraid of women, I was afraid of the consequences of talking to one.

I hadn’t felt the warmth of another body in over 8 months, hadn’t heard the words of whispered companionship that gave you meaning for being here in so long it was having a deeply negative effect on me. I was becoming withdrawn and freaked out. Now, I was more likely to push away comfort than embrace it. I was watching this happen to me, and I couldn’t figure what to do about it.

The last time I had slept with a girl had gotten me into a fistfight with her housemate within 15 minutes of consummating the act. The time before that I hadn’t even slept with the girl, she just lay in my bed all night talking, the next day her boyfriend knocked on my door while I was cooking dinner. He threatened to knife me, I threatened to knock him out with a frying pan full of sizzling chicken. It was an interesting standoff. He left. 2 days later I fucked her out of spite. I was angry with him for giving me shit over something I had gone out of my way to avoid. The other tales all run much the same - a litany of bad experiences, lust gone wrong, innocent pleasure turned into evil and sometimes violent, hurtful chaos. Irreparable damage. Now, I was gun-shy, psychologically expectant of trouble if I dared to seek comfort in a female.

I took the only option available to me other than turning queer – I was in a strange town, in a strange country and apparently prostitution was legal here. I stepped up. Waited for a full moon, somehow that seemed the right time. I hailed a taxicab, he was Asian.
‘Where can I get some fucky fucky” I enquired.
‘Whaa?’ he said
‘You know ‘ I made a motion, ‘get some skin, flesh, woman, fucky’
‘You want a brothel’ he said laughing
‘You got it’ I replied.

The first two he took me to had snapping trolls, uglier than sin and scarier than the devils own mother. I wouldn’t have fucked them if they had paid me. In fact I feared for my life and bolted out of the door at the first opportunity. I was starting to think maybe it was time to just shoot myself and be done with it all. I gave it one more chance. The last place was pricier but was exactly what I was looking for. Funny how things can change if you just hold out long enough, and are willing to throw all you have left in the world at it.

I lay on a bed in a mirrored room as Ella stripped and we considered how she would best go to work on satisfying my 200 bucks. She was gorgeous, but it was a rare time in my life when I just wasn’t interested in sex. I wanted her to hold me, to let me near her without the fear of something bad happening to me. Women had driven me to this. I was a fucking mess. God, she was beautiful. The best-looking hooker I had ever seen. She didn’t understand my need for tenderness and she was certainly in no mood to reciprocate it. She was a hooker, I was a punter - a cold dish of unpalatable food. Even so, holding her, breathing her skin, smelling her scent overwhelmed me. I felt like crying in happiness. My eyes shut, my dreams of love, communion with another, the human touch, the sharing, the belief, it was something beautiful, it was something. It sparked again inside me and came back to life. I could believe again. It fed my emptiness.

But the body is a funny thing, it sure doesn’t work by reason. It works on feeling and I let myself open to the idea of love in there. Love maybe of the essence of what women are. It was unbelievably pure to me because it was safe, and I hadnt felt it in too long. I had bought it. It was mine for 30 minutes and for a change it wouldn’t try to kill me. My body liked that. Liked it a lot.

As I stood outside the house of sin some time later, under the awning of a bus stop smiling like an alley cat and blowing smoke up into the blue, moonlit night on the far side of a town I didn’t belong or even much know, it dawned on me that I had gone from the frying pan into the fire; I had fallen in love with a whore called Ella and there was little doubt in my mind that she didn’t love me. That’s the thing, that’s the bitch of it all if you are honest, because you just know that every which way you turn here, you’re gonna lose.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Where I belong

Morning down Oxford Street. Sunny.
Brisk walk to Crown street. INXS’s old studios.
Last few weeks for the first time I have begun to relax here. Still got some tension in the jaw, strange how some things are beyond our control yet within us, all we can do is wait and beat a path towards their resolve, if they wish it be.
Read a morning paper, I always arrive early, especially on a first date.
8am, an hour to go.
Sit in the Sacred Ground cafe. A dog eyes me from the street in wonder. The sun makes the day fresh. The studio awaits; where I belong, my home, my sacred ground.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

The triad of change

I have this theory...

There is a real simple formula
you could call it the key to life
but it will take you a lifetime to figure out how to use it.
we are lazy like that.
its a human thing.

its no great secret really
its just three empty words in the wrong hands
but it can unlock the universe if you let it.

3 is the number of dynamics and change.


that's it!
the triad
I knew you'd be amazed.

if you can be bothered with it, here is the explanation -


Since the day we learnt to think we have taken on the experience of suffering. thinking creates suffering, creates misery. thinking is the seed of the experience of suffering.

Reacting is what we have learnt to do towards everything.
We are conditioned to repeat the same thinking over and over, bound up by our reactions, and so we develop the sense of suffering.
it deepens and it grows.

If you stop reacting you can stop thinking,
if you stop thinking you can stop the experience of suffering,
you undo the suffering.
or rather, it undoes itself.
as if it never existed.
because it only existed since we learnt to think it into existence.

the way to achieve this
is through silence.
true mental silence.
no thinking.

Silence is probably the hardest thing a human can learn to achieve
the whole world is thinking all day.
its almost a law,
some would say it is a disease.
If you try to stop doing it
you'll risk being outcast
laughed at
the suffering will hurt all the more.

its just how it is.

besides which,
we have been thinking for most of our life
ever since we got taught how to
its not easy to unlearn something and replace it with emptiness.

which is why it would take a lifetime to master
and no one has the time
so nothing will change for me or for you,
in this lifetime
but then why should we expect it to?

whats the rush?

this lifetime, the next, what the hell does it matter, we'll get there eventually because where else is there to go?

and one of these days
we'll be so bored of going round in circles all the time
we'll just say
oh fuck it.
and that will be the day
we start to see things change.

I didnt forget you

I have been away a long while.
travelling. seeing the world.
spending every last cent
until I was left with nothing.
like burning in some kind of celestial fire
letting everything go
reminding the gods I am here and I am willing to go the distance.

I have been on the other side
trying to make sense of the things we are afraid to face
things we all try to avoid
ultimate things
not good things, painful things
scary things
the fears.

I stood today naked in front of the mirror and took a good look at myself.
I felt I had neglected myself to some degree, not my body,
I mean deeper, on a deeper level.
I stood there, staring into my own eyes, something I guess we all have done
wondering just what is looking back.
and then I said three simple words -
'I love you'
It felt awkward at first, like narcissism
but then it clicked and I understood;
'I love you' was my way of saying thanks to myself,
and maybe a little apology too, for making it so hard when I dont think it really needed to be.

I think it is time I stopped travelling now.
just let the calm descend again.
I travelled many thousands of miles,
alone, sleeping in deserts, woods, far away places amongst nature and the stars
and other times alone on the streets of unfamiliar cities with the hounds of hell growling at me from the shadows.
I did these things.
I have been down to the bottom and seen what is there.
You cannot win in that place.
but somehow you have to come to terms with the fear without it stealing your soul.
They say I am tough, say I am one of the toughest
but I know the fragility of human life
is not something you can ever trust, or hope to save.

I stood there before the mirror.
The person looking back at me was stranger than I could ever hope to really know.
it was ancient and that scared me
the fact I was aware of it.
I suddenly felt incredibly weird and alone.

but then I saw something,
caught a glimmer of it for a moment deep in the eyes, something I had nearly lost, like the sudden silver flash of a fish in dark waters.
and it made me smile.
It was beauty.
maybe I wasnt such a mean son of a bitch after all.
I hadn't forgotten love,
I guess I had just hidden her deep, deep down,
kept her safe
in my soul
in my heart
where she belongs.

when I find that calm
I will let her shine again
and you can come to me
no longer afraid
and I will embrace you
and kiss your forehead
and the thing you fear most, afraid even to mention
will be brought safely home.
I will be the one to tell you
that everything is going to be ok.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Dante's Inferno

A crystalline pain searing through my blood.
Is this just some chemical reaction loosed of a gland, or is the world about me turning, looking to crush me down?
I see red, I feel the dragon stir, vengeance, to WAR!
I stand on a balcony over-looking the city, and call council on myself by light of burnt tobacco.
All years of Buddhist teaching weigh in, and thank Christ!
Without it I would have been slain dead by the jackals many moons ago.
But oh! If only it were able to neutralise the hot blood that easy, wouldn’t life just be a breeze.
Instead demons swirl at night, come the wolf’s hour - ugly grotesques disguised and cloaked as thoughts.
Wish I could banish them and reach a peace in sleep but something sinister lives there too.
My god! Are we cursed? Are we damned?
Sometimes it feels to be that way.
Who hasn’t cried alone in the night, howled at the moon, tortured by some unseen, unknown. At once beyond our boundaries, yet somehow, without doubt, the Self.
And in a strange and tired way, I do take some joy from the mystery, because I know there is little I can do.
I should have died young and good looking, as in having the audacity to achieve survival, I am left feeling like a man caught in the strained grimace of a shit that will not budge again for all eternity.

Wooden hot box

I took to exercising after Christmas. It was in part to lose some belly fat and admittedly because I was just bored and lonesome. During this time I made a discovery; If I pushed myself beyond 30 minutes I experienced a euphoric sense of confidence. It was subtle, but having been depressed for the better part of 4 years it was a noticeable difference.
I liked it.
So I kept at it.
Then, as a treat, and to serve as a carrot to do that damn exercise, I gave myself a relaxing 15 minutes in a sauna at the end.
I often had it to myself.
So I threw Eucalyptus oil in the water, turned out the light, and sat naked in the dark.
The heat and exertion pushed me to the edge.
Sometimes I even got an erection, it felt good.

I found something there, in that small wooden box.
I found the veil thinned, I found the lines of sanity blurred.
I felt fear, a tremor, and a terror as the heat grew and at some point I realised
I had re-created for myself an ancient ritual -
The Sweat Lodge.
A place where the mind was forced into submission by the gods of heat, and vows were offered up into what could easily be a spiritual moment, a holy cauldron.
I spoke to my family there, the dead, my happy ancestors.
I asked for guidance there, and did a lot of thinking.
Through that heat I could feel the winds of the other side, and I fancied that they listened to me as I called out.
Then finally when I could take it no more, the heat pushing me to unconsciousness, I would stumble out and let a cold shower bring me back down to earth.
It felt good to know that even in the heart of this soulless machine, I could find a place to connect with the gods.

Once upon a time...

There was a time when the only thing that mattered to me was my guitar.
Every moment I was away from it was a longing to hold it in my arms. But more than that, it was the pluck of the strings, the joy of finding notes resonate together like forgotten melancholy. Join one on two and tunes unfold.
That was all that mattered to me.
Not because I was ignorant towards the world, nor uncaring, just because whatever made me, also created within me a rule, a law, maybe even a curse; unless I was locked into the arms of a song, I could feel no peace. It was as simple as that.
It was a passion.

I played everyday until I was 27. I waited for her for all those years. Thinking of nothing but her. Dreaming of her, every minute of every day believing she would one day be mine, completely. In the end hunger, loneliness, and the emptiness of the wait drove me to seek a cure to my longing. I found it in the world of man; in work, in money, in friends and good times. No, it wasn’t all bad. But I missed her, and my dream of her, once clear, began to fade. It became an echo. Something I could vaguely remember, but never quite recall.

I write this now aged 41. Already in many ways a veteran of the world. I found myself thinking about her today. So I took pen to paper and let my story fall out onto the page. I feel a shiver in my backbone as I write, and a sigh makes my chest rise then fall. There is a tear there too but it does not swell. She was a mystery to me all along.

Grandfather clock in a country house

I miss certain moods; the space, the silence, the slow tick of a grandfather clock in a country house where time seemed to almost burst in fat, rich tension.

Here, like London, I feel like a boat in rapids.
You get addicted to this, addicted to speed. I guess at it’s core lies the thrill of death. But I miss that mood. Pure inspiration, pure thought and feeling.
Indulgent? maybe a little, but then it offered the chance to take life in, to ponder it.
Here, there is only time to live it.
But when I want to steal away, find that peace again, I have to work at it. Fight to slow down. Cut swathe through the sensation of imminent boredom and the illusion of monstrous anxieties, which really are just shadows cast by my former self, a trick of the light.
Call a halt.
Call it to a stop!

And here I lie now. Sipping gently at the moment and maybe letting a cheeky smile play about my lips. Let others race about instead, the machine turning; the grind that never stops.
I just lie here.
Staring up at the clouds passing between me and the sun.
There isnt a lot going through my mind right now and to be honest, I find some relief in that.

Rushcutter Bay

Now me and this place are starting to have some history together. I take a walk down to the point at the end of Rushcutter bay. It looks back, north west, to the city and the harbour bridge. I feel strength breathe in me, I feel pride, like maybe I fucking made it after all, yea, maybe I did.
I escaped that drizzling rat gutter. Swapped for a place just as cold and dangerous beneath the smiling surface, but I’d sooner meet my end here in the sun beside the sea with some kind of belief in my heart, than back there in the cold, grey lament of a failed life.

It’s never going to be easy, and it is always going to be a big fucking joke to someone. And I am still making all those schoolboy errors that lose me favour and somedays lose me friends too. But I found a picture, got sent it by my mum, in fact, and it is of me, before the bastards got hold me and turned me into what I am now. And I was smiling, a big toothy grin, and I was happy. And just to know and remember I felt that once, yea, that was enough. It made it ok, you know, whatever happens.