“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

In 2008, I spent the holy month of Ramadan in coastal Tanzania, in a region saturated with Muslims.

Though it was not without its inconveniences, I quite enjoyed the experience.  As I became close with a handful of those who fasted to celebrate the holy month, I naturally developed an admiration for their dedication and their faith.

I said then that I too would celebrate Ramadan someday.  This year, with no real routine holding me down, I have decided to carpe mense, so to speak.

In truth, I think my fasting is more Lent-ish than Muslim, but I quite honestly don’t think God cares.  Muslims who fast simply do not consume anything at all, even water, from dawn until dusk, while dedicating a significant(er) amount of time to prayer.  I don’t see the whole ‘dawn-to-dusk’ bit as being particularly applicable to me at this time, but I do feel that I have been far too indulgent for far too long.  As such, I have decided to forgo most of my favorite treats (read: drugs and “drugs”) for 30 days, partly to throw a little extra respect towards God and partly to re-appreciate many of the things I take for granted.  Primarily though, I hope to re-establish some semblance of my formerly formidable self-control, which has become increasingly flaccid over the past few years.  Someday I will do Ramadan properly, but this seems a whole lot more applicable at the moment.

So yeah, the things I will not be consuming from August 12 to September 12 include, in order of expected difficulty:

1.  Marijuana

2.  Coffee

3.  Chocolate

4.  Coca-cola, Iced Tea, Etc.

5.  Alcohol

6.  Thoughts of a specific human being who, in the words of Emerson, is a “delicious torment”

7.  Meat … though this has less to do with fasting and more to do with a desire to stop killing living creatures unnecessarily, and I figured a month would be more reachable than a flat-out commitment to vegetarianism.

Really, the most difficult thing is the one I failed to mention, but we won’t get into that here.  😉

I’m three days in, and I’ve already tripped once, but felt sufficiently guilty for failing in my commitment to God that I figure I have that one licked.  I’m curious to learn which turns out to be the most difficult.  Regardless, so far I feel great!  🙂

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“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what kind of a person you are” — C.S. Lewis

Saskatoon is a very green city.

I was watching a TED talk a few weeks ago.  The speaker showed a picture of a stop sign that he figured was largely unnecessary.  He advocated for the implementation of a ‘common-sense’ sign (“Take-turns”)– a cross between a yield sign and a stop sign.  He calculated the cost of the unnecessary stoppage in terms of time and energy wasted, and it was really quite high.  I forget the exact dollar amount, but it high enough that I said “whoa, that’s really high.”  One could even say I was ‘surprised’ by just how much money is exhausted into nothingness, and all just for one little stop sign.  (Note: $112,000/year)

Anyway, like I was saying, Saskatoon is a very green city.  At times it’s even difficult to find the city among all the green space.  Every major road seems to have 5 to 25 meters of grass on either side of it, every neighbourhood has a park or three, there are preserved wetlands and sort-of-old-growth forest all over the place, and even a bunch of agricultural fields right in the middle of the city, blooming with the university’s educational and research crops.  Being virtually devoid of any buildings taller than three stories, one can look out over the city of 200,000 souls at the right time of year and see (almost) nothing but the deep, serene green of tree tops.  It’s quite beautiful really – an environmentalist’s wet dream.

Except for when you actually think about it.  The thing about all that green space is that it has forced the city to sprawl outwards, so instead of pristine natural wetlands surrounding the city, echoing with the music of migrating birds, one finds cookie-cutter suburban sub-divisions, interspersed with man-made creeks/drainage-ditches, and neatly-planted rows of manicured forest tucked between highways and overpasses  – man-made ecology at its’ finest.  Let’s be serious though, if we dedicated all that space to “real nature,” then all that money spent on the zoo (“The Saskatoon Forestry Farm”) would just be wasted, right?  I quite like that name: “The Forestry Farm.”  I always thought that a ‘farm’ was what happened when the ‘forestry’ was chopped down, but apparently tourism is on par with God and Narnia for generating paradoxical, magical worlds.  I think the Forestry Farm should feature little smiling, animatronic deer, driving little smiling animatronic tractors, with a celebrity voice-over telling the story of the savage, virgin land, before colonialists saved it by enslaving the deer at gun-point, stealing their land, and forcing them to chop down the trees and work the fields to ‘capitalize’ on the resource wealth.  Sorry, I’m being silly again.  We would never treat deer like that.  Natives, perhaps.  After all, there were so many red-skins just lazing about harmoniously, and all that work would probably make the deer meat stringy and tough.

But I digress.  The other great benefit of cramming so much “nature-space” everywhere in this city is that it means everything is farther away, so driving anywhere takes longer.  Now, I don’t have the foggiest idea what kind of energy costs we are talking about here, but I’m pretty sure that the single stop-sign I referred to above tallied over $100,000, a couple gas-cents at a time.  I’m not sure what the fuel cost of the millions of extra kilometres the citizens of this city collectively endure in the name of green space every year, but I’m pretty sure it’s not contributing to lower carbon emissions.  Then again, it might, right?  That’s what green things do, after-all, is turn the CO’s into O’s.  Which is why I think it’s such a good thing that we have all that extra grass to mow with gas powered lawn-mowers.  Ah, the sublime delicacy of life’s eternal balancing act.

It’s not that I don’t like green space.  Really, I think we should up and abandon all the non-green space, and go live in caves and tree-houses.  Until that dream becomes a reality though, I will enjoy the continuing laughable failure of good intentions, and the human animals amazing capacity for short-sightedness.  Like cell phones made from recycled plastic – where the miniscule amount of ‘not-wasted’ plastic offers full moral compensation for the Congolese children’s blood, which ‘was-wasted,’ in order to extract cheap coltan so the phone can do all that crazy ‘new-phone’ shit.  Hahaha … funny, right?  Sounds like old C.S. and his Narnia talk again.

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“God has no religion.” — Gandhi

September 11, 2010

The ninth anniversary of the so-called terrorist attacks against the United States.

Also, the first annual “International Burn The Koran Day.”

This seems like a pretty good idea to me.  It reminds me of why I like religion so much.

I like how my good friend in the video implores all Christians to be Christ-like.  That was actually one of my favourite quotes by Jesus: “Anyone who disagrees with me is evil, so you must destroy what is sacred to them.”

It ranks right up there with “judge not, lest ye be judged” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

It seems the ultimate rationale for this whole celebrate-good-times-come-on is that Islam, and the Qur’an are just fundamentally violent and evil.

“put to death everyone in the cities, men, women, and dependents”

“kill every male dependent, and kill every woman who has had intercourse with a man, but spare for yourselves every woman among them who has not had intercourse.”

“All who are found will be stabbed, all who are taken will fall by the sword; their infants will be dashed to the ground before their eyes. . . .”

“kill without pity; spare no one. Kill and destroy them all, old men and young, girls, little children and women. . . .”

etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.

I guess my friends at the dove church are right, the Holy Bible is a terribly violent book, and must be burned.  Because Jesus is God, right?  And God spends most of The Book killing people, or having them kill and maim and burn and torture each other.  And we are supposed to be God-like in thought and action … right?

And really, how can any religion that has started so many wars be called anything but ‘evil’?  It seems that pretty much every major conflict over the past four thousand years (and how many minor conflicts?) has cited the God of the Old and New Testaments as its motivation.  Then there was also slavery, colonialism, the atomic bomb, genocide, imperialism, ………………..

Please, my friends, the time has come for action!  Join us at the Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainsville, Florida on September 11, 2010, for International Burn The Holy Bible day.  It is our duty to impose our higher morality on those who would inflict their evil ways and laws upon us all.  I tell you truly, this is the ultimate path to world peace.

Wait a minute.  Ummmmmm.  Yeah, never mind.  Just send me a donation or burn in hell forever you filthy sinner!

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“Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing is gonna be alright.” — Bob Marley

Have you ever noticed that our culture has something of a perverse pre-occupation with “catching-up” with this or that?

I know I do.  Over the past few months, I have often lamented the reality that this little ranting forum of mine had faded into oblivion.  I often told myself that I would re-engage, so to speak, and quite a few times opened up this “new-post” page which I am this very moment filling with gibberish.

I never made it though, until now I guess, and even now I have a fair way to travel before I click that little “publish” button and spring my gibberish on an unexpecting world.  One of the main reasons I never made it was this crazy idea I had of “getting caught up.”  That is, afterall, what these words you are reading are doing, aren’t they?  Getting caught up?  The thought of “getting-caught-up” can be daunting, don’t you think?

I live what must be the most transient existence of anyone I know, and still I find my life saturated with things to “keep-up-with.”  E-mails, Facebook messages, personal finances, professional development, relationships with friends and family strewn across the globe, educational progress, and on and on and on …

It’s all a bit silly though, isn’t it.  I mean, what am I trying to “catch-up” to?  Who am I trying to “keep-up” with?

The answer to both questions seems to be some imaginary present/future satisfied version of myself, which raises the perfectly reasonable questions of: a) how is it possible for person to catch up with themselves and b) how is it possible for person to ever reach the future?

It seems that as soon as I “catch-up” with one thing, I have fallen behind with something else.  What’s worse, if I do finally manage to “get-ahead” in a single aspect, the process of getting ahead almost inevitably creates an entirely new life-element which I must then worry about “keeping-up” with, on top of everything else.

Is it possible to “catch-up” with everything, and if it were, how long could one remain “caught-up” before somewhere, something, needed attention?  The whole thing seems a lot like a trap to me: a perpetual state of “being behind,” of “need-to-dos” and ultimately of incompletion.

I suppose one could compare it to caring for a home.  Lots of things require constant attention: the lawn needs to be mowed, the floors need to be swept, the dishes need to be done.  Some things require a bit less frequent care: dusting, cleaning the bathroom, emptying the fridge.  Some things a bit less still: cleaning the floors, pruning the trees.  Some things can be ignored, but for those few weekends of every year that are dedicated entirely to keeping all neglected things working and clean.

For the sake of argument, let’s say a person dedicated a month of their life to “catching up” with their home.  How long would they remain “caught-up”?  Would they ever, for a single instant, actually be “caught up”?  And if they did manage to get caught up, and stay caught up, with their home, what would happen to the many other elements of their life?

Of course, as one becomes ‘successful,’ that little old house won’t do anymore, so it’s time to get a nicer and bigger house, which inevitably will have more things to clean keep working.  With the newer house comes the newer car, which also requires a little more attention.  The better job takes up more time too.  Maybe there is a boat, or a cottage, or whatever.  And the growing family is definitely in need of constant care as well.  With this, we enter into an entirely different, but equally futile, form of “keeping-up,” – that is, with the imaginary others, with whose life-progress we are apparently to be compared.  (though it strikes me as I re-read this, that perhaps nobody is ever actually trying to keep up with others, but that the attempt is, in truth, an effort to “keep-up” with how they would like to be seen/thought of by “the Jones’.” – that is, keeping their public image up with what they would like their public image to be.)

So now we must not only keep up with everyone else, who are trying equally hard to keep up with us, but we must also keep up with an imaginary, ideal-future version of ourself.  Doesn’t this seem totally insane to anybody else?

It almost seems as though we have come to collectively define success as one’s capacity to juggle the most balls – that is, to be perpetually unsatisfied with as many things as possible at one time.  And that’s not even taking into account the moment after that, and the moment after that.

If I am trying to “catch-up” to the point in time and space at which I wish I could, in this moment in space and time, be located, would it not be infinitely simpler to just re-define the place I wish I could be as the place that I currently am located?  In other words: to simply choose to be satisfied right now.

Then I am already caught up.  And I don’t need to worry about all the things I need to catch-up with.

Then I can spend my time right now doing whatever I want to do, right now.

Considering I have only a finite handful of hours to live/enjoy on this earth, and they are disappearing rapidly and constantly, doesn’t spending my time doing what I want seem to be a much more practical way of living than striving eternally after some future that is impossible to reach now, and is becoming more impossible to reach the more I pursue it?

Of course, this is all crazy talk.  Our so-called civilized world has sorted itself out in such a way that, in order to be normal and sensible, a person must weigh themselves down with concerns, and run always to keep from falling behind.  To do otherwise would be partly lazy, partly pathetic, partly useless and entirely unproductive.  These are adjectives which our society does not place a high value upon.  Certainly such people are not ideal employees, desirable mates, or good people to loan money to.

Then again, if a human being were to look at two doors, one labelled “Successful and Productive” and the other labelled “Satisfied and Happy,” which door would be the more sensible choice for a human being to make?

Which choice would you make?

“Incomplete” or “Unproductive”

“Imaginary Future” or “Real Present”

?

For me personally, I can say that the process of simplifying my life continues to be rewarding in a very human way.  I can say that my increasing refusal to feel obligated to “keep-up” with many of my former pre-occupations has engendered a profound joy in the activities I do choose to take part in, no matter how mundane.  I can say that, being patient with time itself, and focusing my energy on only those things that fit most harmoniously with my humanity in any given moment, regardless of outside or perceived internal obligations, has revealed to me an entirely new, more genuine, more fulfilling and more powerful, side to myself and my potential.  Best of all, in exploring that potential – not professional potential, but human potential – I feel peaceful, and unhurried, and experience great joy in each small part of the whole, regardless of where it may lead.

Then again, I’m an unemployed and homeless, formerly “successful” 27-year old, living primarily  on the couches, and generosity, of family and friends.

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“Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.” — Oscar Wilde

“Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience … Therefore [citizens] have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against humanity from occurring.” – Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal (1950)

The G8 and G20 are in full swing in Ontario.  Nearly a billion dollars has been spent on security to protect the world’s most powerful people.  That most of the real political and economic decision making was done months ago by underlings and aides, making the meetings themselves little more than a photo-op and schmooze-fest, doesn’t seem to un-justify the exorbitant expense – the world leaders are here and must be protected and kandoodled.

So, there are police officers – thousands and thousands of police officers.  There are police officers on foot, police officers in police cars, police officers in unmarked cars, police officers hiding in the bushes, police officers hiding in buildings, police officers hiding in public, police officers monitoring cameras, police officers monitoring hi-ways, police officers in riot gear, police officers on horseback, police officers in helicopters and so on.  They have come from across Canada, regular-Joe-citizens who have sworn to protect law and order, though it may cost them their lives.  They have come to do their job, to stare anarchy and an angry mob in the face, and stand firmly, side-by-side, with courage and resolve.  So often, these ‘brave men and women in uniform’ are our heroes – celebrated for valour just as they are mourned nationally when their duty costs them life and limb.

Their enemy – protesters with intent to stir dissent in challenge to the status quo.  Though their causes be as varied as they are, they all share a common idea: that things in our world can, and should, be different, and that this meeting of world leaders is an optimal stage on which to give volume to their concerns.  Whether access to water, aboriginal land rights, poverty eradication, diminished corporate control or just plain, old-fashioned peace and love, they too, have come from near and far to stand for what they believe in, shoulder-to-shoulder, with courage and resolve.

The similarities between the two groups, however, end somewhere near here.  While the protesters are forbidden (perhaps rightfully) to carry weapons of any kind, or even to approach the security fence, the police are armed to the teeth.  They have shields and batons.  They have guns that fire plastic bullets that can kill and guns that fire real bullets that will kill.  They have snipers, horses, tear-gas, and cannons that emit a sound excruciating and destructive to the human ear.  While the protesters have managed the trip by scrounging and saving, so deeply do they believe in the causes they promote, the police are made possible by a $1,000,000,000 donation by Canadian taxpayers in support of the status quo.

And so, the police came, and now stand poised and armed in the streets in protection of the status quo, the established order and their jobs.  What is this status quo, that thousands of people from all over the world are willing to bear tremendous personal expense, and brave all variety of violent weaponry to oppose?  The wealthiest 1% of people control 45% of the global wealth.  Nearly 50% of humanity lives on or below the poverty line.  Western industrialists have waged one war after another in and against poor nations on the other side of the world, killing millions of innocent people and utterly destroying entire countries.  Valuable natural resources are extracted by Western corporations who share virtually none of the profits with those who live on top of them.  Democratically elected governments that attempt to nationalize their resources are violently overthrown.  Media and government systematically lie to their populations to protect their income streams.  Land is stolen at will, at gunpoint, from indigenous people.  Corrupt dictators are sold arms to oppress their own populations.  De-regulated free markets are imposed on foreign economies, creating ideal conditions for huge corporations to dominate foreign markets, who export most of the wealth, leaving local business to fight over the scraps.  And so on.

The status quo is a long and violent tale of the global elite, predominantly white men, doing whatever they want to protect their money and their power.  Billions and billions of human beings suffer every day, as they have for hundreds of years, to make possible the gluttony of this greedy handful.  Thousands of people who believe that this is wrong, and that a better, more equitable and just world is possible, have gathered in Toronto, to scream to the apathetic masses that we need to care, and to stand and fight for what is right and what is human.

A small handful of protesters may believe that violence is necessary to have their voices heard, and they will place their bodies and lives on the line in the name of people they will never meet, unarmed, against thousands of heavily armed officers.  Though they fight against a global war industry worth billions and billions of dollars, that profits off the daily deaths of thousands of poor people, often children, these protesters will be condemned for their use of violence.  Is the destruction of a bank window or a car really “violence,” when compared to the oppression and destruction of millions and billions of human lives?  They will be labelled as ‘criminals’ because they destroy the private property belonging to groups of people who reap enormous profits through oppression and death.  They will be labelled generally as ‘anarchists’ and their message of peace and love and hope will be lost in a 3-minute segment, between the weather and world cup highlights, on the 10 o’clock news.  No mention will be made of the causes they champion, because their dream for a just world contradicts the financial interests of the wealthy owners of our mass media.  They will be shot, gassed, beaten, arrested and oppressed by regular Canadian citizens – our police officers – who in the name of doing their jobs, have become the weapons of oppression for the most corrupt, powerful and evil people in the world.  So much for democracy.  So much for free speech.  So it goes.

“We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls ‘enemy,’ for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brother.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

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“Ready or not, here I come, you can’t hide. I’m gonna find you, and make you want me.” — Lauryn Hill

“The potential for rescue at this time of crisis is neither luck, coincidence, nor wishful thinking.  Armed with a more sophisticated understanding of how change occurs, we know that the very forces that have brought us to planetary brinksmanship carry in them the seeds of renewal.  The current disequilibrium – personal and social – foreshadows a new kind of society.  Roles, relationships, institutions, and old ideas are being re-examined, re-formulated, re-designed.

For the first time in history, humankind has come upon the control panel of change – an understanding of how transformation occurs.  We are living in the change of change, the time in which we can intentionally align ourselves with nature for rapid remaking of ourselves and our collapsing institutions.

The [new] paradigm sees humankind embedded in nature.  It promotes the autonomous individual in a decentralized society.  It sees us as stewards of all our resources, inner and outer.  It says that we are not victims, not pawns, not limited by conditions or conditioning.  Heirs to evolutionary riches, we are capable of imagination, invention and experiences we have only glimpsed.

Human nature is neither good nor bad but open to continuous transformation and transcendence.  It has only to discover itself.  The new perspective respects the ecology of everything: birth, death, learning, health, family, work, science, spirituality, the arts, the community, relationships, politics.”

Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy (1980)

I found these words quoted in an anthology of astounding quality called “Peace: A Dream Unfolding,” which was published in 1985, and deals primarily with averting the threat of nuclear war.  I have read this passage perhaps two dozen times over the past couple days, and am constantly surprised by how accurate, and prophetic, her words remain, 30-years on.

In recent weeks, I have frequently heard parallels drawn between breakthroughs in the early days of nuclear science, and Craig Venter’s recent successful synthesis of artificial life.  While many of the parallels involve the scope of the respective achievements in human and academic terms, many also express concern at what terrors such an understanding may unleash upon our world.  Though history has so far shown (knock, knock) the intense fear of a nuclear holocaust to be mostly unfounded, I must admit that I am afraid of what might be lurking in this newest box of Pandora’s.  I lack the knowledge of bio-chemistry to really qualify my fears, but I know that human beings have definitely proven themselves willing, time and again, to utilize science to enact great horrors on one another in the name of progress, profits and power.  With modern man sitting as we now do, more than ever before, at the “control panel of change,” I am worried about who is doing the driving.  The internet has certainly added an immense amount of weight to the power of “the autonomous individual in a decentralized society,” but this true-democratic dream has so far shown little reformative value, except perhaps in identifying pop-culture’s next teen heartthrob, or marginally-witty-catch-phrase.

She does seem to have been right about a lot of things, though.  Just as our technology is constantly redefining our relationship with change, allowing us, quite literally, to “intentionally align [or re-align] ourselves with nature” so too has our history armed us with a more sophisticated understanding of how change occurs.  The forces of technology and globalization have placed the future of our planet, and our species, in our hands as never before, but they have also provided us with access to information and education unfathomable to the thousands of generations which came before us.  As we are handed the most important and complex stewardship in human history, the great question of our generation, may be: ‘have we been paying attention?’.

I suppose the book of life, like any other, can be read only one page at a time, and only time will reveal what the next chapter holds, or how many will follow.  Though our generation has proven itself highly capable of ignorance and apathy, the “seeds of renewal” articulated by Ms. Ferguson three decades ago have borne beautiful fruit as well.  Our “roles, relationships, institutions and [especially] old ideas” have undoubtedly been “re-examined, re-formulated and re-designed” and while resource exploitation, human suffering, and geo-political inequality remain rampant, much of our population lives in a world that is significantly more equitable and more just than it was in 1980. The promise of expanded “imagination, invention and experience,” has bloomed perpetually, for better or worse, in the “rapid remaking of ourselves and our collapsing institutions,” and new perspectives on practically every element we’re aware of are re-imagined daily into the newer, newest and newest-er frontiers of thought.

“Human nature is neither good nor bad but open to continuous transformation and transcendence.  It has only to discover itself.”  As a new, exciting and dangerous era in bio-technology dawns, will our ecological wisdom and imagination be up to the task of finally transforming and transcending the persistent disequilibrium in our personal and social world, or will tomorrow’s new society be just another genetically modified strawberry – bigger, brighter and longer lasting, but born bereft of nature and nutrients, in the womb of a test-tube, so that some short-sighted white guy can buy a bigger car to overcompensate for his undersized stem.  We most certainly are the heirs to vast evolutionary and intellectual riches.  Then again, so were the Mayans.

“In the past, it was possible to destroy a village, a town, a region, even a country.  Now it is the whole planet that has come under threat.  This fact should fully compel everyone to face a basic moral consideration; from now on, it is only through a conscious choice and then deliberate policy that humanity can survive.”  Pope John Paul II was standing in Hiroshima when he issued this warning.  Now it is the biological foundations of the life itself that have come under threat.  Will we make the conscious choices necessary to sustain the essence of our humanity, or will we follow the cloned lemmings of desire into the great Petri-dish of ‘I-wish-I-could-be-like…?’  Whatever the answer may be, I’m sure it will be found on reality TV.

Ancient of Days (1794) by William Blake

Ancient of Days by William Blake

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“Coffee black and egg white/Pull me out from inside/I am ready/I am ready/I am ready/I am fine.” — Counting Crows

On Monday, I received an e-mail from a dear, old friend.  I smiled when I saw her name in my inbox.

Once upon a time, she held my heart in her hands.  Such passion!

hi bb,
i had a horrible nightmare… just woke up…
i have a question.. a bit…
are u hiv positive?
i had the test just before meeting you… and by then i didn’t have it…
did you?
talk soon bb!

uhhhhhh … Come again?

Very strange days.  Everything suddenly is different.  Today is another of those days.  Today I was tested.

Somebody I held deep affection for seemed to be hiv positive.  Such despair.  It’s not a death sentence anymore, but it certainly doesn’t simplify things. She is beautiful, still.  Still deep inside too.

And me, then.  Is it possible?  It can’t be possible.

I responded to her message, and walked away to brush my teeth.

Wait.  Turn around.  Walk back.  What?  Hiv?  No.  What?  Awwww fuck.

I didn’t think I was positive.  I’m not positive.  But there it was, all of a sudden, like a piano being lifted into a third story window.  Just … hanging there.

I was never really worried.   I guess I was a bit worried.  It just didn’t seem possible.

What it does is it forces a decision: a) take intense, expensive, miserable-side-effecty drugs for the rest of my life or b) die a horrible, wasting death from AIDS.  Easy decision right?  Maybe for you.

Now the sun is shining.  A beautiful person with tattoos all over <…>’s arms stabbed me in the pinky finger and stole my blood, as we chatted casually about anal fluids and broken condoms.  Negative is a beautiful word.

Everything is suddenly different.  Little Tommy is playing his first chords on the piano, which is now resting peacefully between an old, oaken bookshelf and a wide window, where the summer sun is shining on young tree-tops, kissing them a vibrant green.

The flowers are in bloom.  Negative is a beautiful word.

[it wasn’t her word, though.  my beautiful girl.  life can be so cruel.]

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