A kiss on the cheek
Soft and sweet
Or tongues deep
In secret communion
A hand to hold
While walking down the street
Or tightly between the sheets
While watching movies
A shoulder to lean on
A shoulder to offer
For whatever reason
Or none at all
Light cool rain
On a warm summer day
The way you glitter and shine
Any weather that keeps me in
Next to you
Tracing the curve of your spine
That sexy “Ssss”
With fingers or tongue
To places made for pleasure
Those incredible exotic spots
That cover you in constellations
Like a leopard
Your random mewl always makes me smile
And your purrrrr
Man I love your purr
There’s no question what you were
In a past life
Long nights in rockers
Chattering about rock stars
Dogs with sirens on their heads
There is no limit to the chatter
Making love all through the night
The scent it leaves on skin
Warmed by touch that never fades
Locked in eyes that never age
Held by love I freely offer
But my favorite thing of all
Is the place I keep
Image by Pille-Riin Priske
I left Mobile with a smile late in the afternoon yesterday after a last reshuffling of plans and unpacking/repacking of the car.
The original plan, based entirely on cautious habits acquired over the years, was to bring everything with me in case things didn’t work out.
I’ve gotten very good at eliminating all but the essentials. When I left ND to come here I left a fully furnished, down to silverware, toilet paper, and made bed house behind.
This time something had changed. I found myself wanting to load up everything and that wasn’t going to happen because it seems that when the wiring harness in my SUV melted down a few months ago it took out my trailer lights and I wasn’t about to risk another meltdown by attempting to repair them, which meant I couldn’t rent a U-Haul.
There was no way I was going to take everything with and that bothered me.
It wasn’t until a friend stopped by to send me off with a hug and a smoothie (Thank you, Professor!) and began pointing out things that I shouldn’t bother bringing with that it all began to make sense.
I was attempting to pack up something that is impossible to get into a box or a bag and I could spend the rest of my life trying to squeeze it into every available space I could find and never get it all in because its is larger than a $20 blanket or a rug I picked up from the curb:
I’ve spent so many years without a home that I forgot what it felt like. I even developed this inner philosophy that said wherever I go I’m always going home because the only sense of home I had for so long was the one I carried with me.
Over the last dozen years every time I’ve headed off to a job in the oilfield it eventually lead to another. Then another. And another. Until I ended up alone and isolated.
These things I’ve felt over the last week, the things that have kept me up at night, that frustrated and irritated, aren’t there because I feel alone.
I am not alone.
I have made strong friendships and have the support of people who love me as much as I love them.
The feeling isn’t that of being alone but of becoming alone, again, which is something that scares the crap out of me and keeps me up at night.
I had forgotten what it feels like to belong somewhere. I never would have guessed that place would be Mobile, Alabama and maybe it won’t be forever, but there it is, home.
So I unpacked everything and moved it all to the attic of the mansion I rent rooms in, much to the delight of the owners who were so honestly relieved and happy to know I would be coming back that they hurried to help me.
I left later in the day than I wanted but made it to Missouri around midnight.
When I looked in the back of my little Rodeo I saw that I brought so few things I had room to arrange a makeshift bed. I walked Brown Dog, the best traveling partner I could ever ask for, offered gratitude to the powers that be, shifted a few things to make enough room to stretch out in, then lay down and slept better than I have in days.
It’s 3 am and I’m up with a case of heartburn so bad it feels like a heart attack. I’d blame the blackened red fish I ate for this wretched agony but it’s not that. Nor can I blame the Sazerac that complimented it. No, this is borne of frayed nerves and fear.
It is my last night here in The Mansion, an 1850’s monstrosity of a home in the heart of Mobile, and I am afraid. Afraid that I will always be scurrying to catch up. Afraid that I will never realize the person I am trying so hard to become. Afraid of the journey ahead of me.
Tomorrow, today, just a few hours from now, I will begin the long drive North. 1,800 miles back to the oilfield. Again. Stupid mouse to cheese trap. I have beaten the odds for a dozen years and managed to get the cheese before the trap clamped down on me. One day it will break my back and I’ll stare with glazed eyes at the molding cheese and wonder why I kept coming back for more.
I wish I could roll over and hold you close to soothe my nerves but the bed is empty. It is always empty. There has never been a woman in this bed.
That thought makes the heartburn worse so I throw the blankets back and scramble to the bathroom, sure that I’ll soon lose that excellent meal. The surge subsides before I get there but I’ve had enough nights like this in the last week to know it’s just a small reprieve so I down a handful of antacids to head off the inevitable follow up.
This is not the norm for me. I have been in situations that were far more stressful without suffering any kind of physiological effect.
So why now?
Writing, for me, has become a form of therapy. Visual meditation. A way to explore the thoughts that constantly ebb and flow with a life all their own. So I sit down and begin to write, casting my net with each stab at the keyboard until I snag that one random image that defines what it is I am feeling.
In this case it is the image of the empty bed and what I am feeling is lonely. No, not lonely. Alone.
Big surprise. You’d think I would have caught that as I wrote the cryptic poetry I posted earlier. I guess it was too obvious. So I read the poem again, something I really should do at least a few times before publishing. Write once, edit a hundred times. That, I’ve been told, is the set rule of writing. I should probably try it. The poem is horrid. It has potential, but it really is horrid. All over the map. I don’t recommend reading it. But it tells me what I need to know; I am never alone.
Right now there are thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of people all over the planet feeling exactly the same thing I am feeling.
I close my eyes, slow my breath, and reach out to them. To assure them they are not alone, to let them know that they are loved, that I am here with them and in doing so I offer those same things to my Self and receive them from others and those thoughts, or the combination of those thoughts and the antacids (credit where credit is due), begin to slow the burn and the frayed edges of my nerves begin to mend.
Still, I wish I could get back into that bed and hold you close.
Photo by Josh Applegate
I’m feeling a little defeated right now. I’m bruised and bloody. But I’m not beaten.
I had a three day pity party with all the usual guests; disappointment, failure, rage, grief, depression. We all commiserated and growled and grumbled and shed tears in our rum and then I sent them packing. Each with a hug and a “Thank you for coming.”
Now it’s time for a victory.
That starts with me.
First, a long walking meditation to silence the remnants of that black balloon affair where I logged their complaints and handled them lovingly.
They are not me, just my thoughts, and they deserve my attention and compassion, but not my life.
Then I sent out feelers to a few companies up north. Yes, back in the oilfield. It’s not where I want to be but it’s the one place I know, without a doubt, that I can get a job pretty much on demand with pay that is considerably more than I can make here. Maybe I mentioned this before, Mobile has some of the lowest driver rates in the nation. Barely enough to live on. Not nearly enough to pursue my goals. Right now I’m looking for companies that just need someone to finish up the season because I don’t want to make a commitment and I really don’t want to starve through another season of frozen roads, frozen trucks, frozen flesh.
Get in. Get out. Get back to what I’m trying to accomplish.
I am working on two backups:
The first, converting all my adjuster training to work with FEMA, will take more time than I have right now but it’s a viable option down the road. I have started taking the training they provide but to get myself on top of the list of potential hires I want to have a long list of their certifications under my belt. So, for now, it’s something that I will take my time with.
The second is a lead I received less than an hour ago. A company that is looking for adjusters to work from home and pays extremely well.
This second option is a strong contender to replace driving, and I’ll talk with them before making the decision, but heading north for a couple months has a distinct benefit: I still have things in storage in ND that I can simply bring with when I return to Mobile.
Yes, I plan on coming back to Mobile. Fate brought me here for a reason and though I really don’t know what that reason is I have no intention of working against such a powerful force. So I’ve made arrangements to leave most of what I brought with me in storage while I’m gone.
I’ll know more within a couple days.
Here’s the thing:
Shit happens and there isn’t a damn thing anyone can do about it but I am not defined by those things, I am defined by how I respond to them.
Yes, it sucks that I spent a year of my life working intensely to create change only to have it all implode but it’s only a failure if I allow it to be, and it’s not an end, it’s a beginning.
In a way, it’s a gift. I am being forced to start again.
I’ll get it right soon enough.
There was I time I thought of myself as “Stormchaser”. It was a label I assigned to offset the difficult times that seemed to follow me as a way of reversing the odds.
I saw myself as not only actively engaging those hard times but as pursuing them in a “if life is suffering and suffering brings enlightenment then, for fucks sack, bring it on” mentality.
I was wrong.
Man, was I wrong.
The hard times pursued like a predator on blood scent and I, tough as the wind, really was bleeding, profusely.
I’ve said before how I’m only now rubbing the sleep from my eyes, but I look back with these blurry eyes and see that young man and rather than think “whaddadouche”, my favorite quote when it comes to ignorance, I can say “good start.”
It really was.
Since then I’ve learned that Life is more often concerned with giving lessons than with leading me to them and that the path of life is much more flexible than I thought.
She is the train
I am the rail
Or more like the spike
Or the ground it’s driven into
Or maybe just a house it passes by
That’s my attempt at Zen poetry, which I’m okay with, in a Zen sort of way.
My point is this:
I have felt the storm.
I feel it now inside me.
I’m not sure it ever goes away.
I’m okay with that.
That, by the way, has nothing at all to do with either Zen philosophy or poetry, it’s who I am.
So right about now you’re probably asking yourself what the hell this post is about so I’ll sum it up in six words …
We find what we are looking for.
… okay, seven words.
Audio: “Stormchaser” by J M Greff
With one foot
In front of the other
Back and forth
Left to right
Trying to follow
That keeps moving
At a time
By whatever poison
He has chosen
To end his life
I watch him a while
As he stumbles
Up the stairs
Of a nearby school
To empty his bladder
Then into traffic
He is seeking
Something he has lost
You won’t find it there
You won’t find it there
But I hope you do
Image: “Anywhere you lay your head” by Bill S. 99
With a promise
You press softly
Against my cheek
Your dewy nectar
Sweet and musky
Fills my senses
Drives me on
To higher pleasure
Fingers touch and probe
To unfold the petals of the flower
Revealed before me
A delicate treasure
Open and inviting
In carnal sighs
Escaping parted lips
Honeyed tears flow
Urging me on
Burning with desire
Our lips touch
Tiny sparks of living passion
Arc between us
To light the secret space
That only we can travel
This night is ours
You pull me tight
With a shudder
You let go
But one of many
The rest will follow
Picture taken at Bellingrath Gardens.