Saturday, November 26, 2005


I made a soldier weep

It was 5am when I got up to make the flight to San Diego. I made it! I survived my Family's Thanksgiving Dinner.

The object of the Thanksgiving Battle was the "Trust" set up to be a road map for my mother's assets upon her death. When it comes to our survival, both physical and emotional, it is dog eat dog. The battles fought over the battle field of a Thanksgiving Day Turkey roast was anxiety ridden. Gawd it was a stressful Thanksgiving! What did I expect tame animals for relatives? Hell no! According to my observations over the years, my family is not a reasonable family. Like the wild, my sister's kitchen wrought battles of kill or be killed. The psychological battles between my mother and my siblings raged! It was creepy when my mother lowered her voice and in her conspiratorial tone secretly discussed the terms with my brother. It seemed all the hurts over the years came forth. Thee catapults and bows trudged forward. Jagged rocks and poisoned arrows flew my direction in a triangulated abundance- instigated by my mother and brothers. Thank goodness I have a brother-in-law who could soothe wounded animals, this time because he understood the context of the "Trust." Dammit this was frustrating because earlier, my family begged me to get this Trust done. I was asked to take care of it because neither my siblings or my mother could mobilize to get it done. I am glad it is over with. Funny thing-I had told her (my mother) from the beginning-I don't want anything from the disbursement of her assets. All I want is peace.

Back in my safe comfy seat on the plane, I noticed this soldier's cammy uniform of digital dots. He was returning to Camp Pendleton and will be deployed to Iraq. Between our peanuts and orange juice, our conversation was sparce. I could tell he was nervous about traveling half way around the world to danger. I thought about this soldiers safety. It is a wonder to me how this country founded on Judeo Christian beliefs can spawn an accepting view of blood,torture, fear, and an arrogance of imposing a belief system on people who neither want nor have a comprehension of our version of capitalism and democracy. Thus, my sense of the world has a "me against you" feeling that is spiraling into a black hole. Though his talk to me on Iraq was brave, there was a nervy edge to it.When I wished him good luck and good speed, he felt my concern for his safety and we hugged. He turned away because he was near weeping. Where are the wise? All I want is peace.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Vastly Different Era

My father was born in 1927 in among the rice fields and salt mines. It was a third world existence with no running water, no electricity and calesa pulled by a water buffalo and when the monsoons arrived, shallow bottom boats took them to town to buy supplies and back to their homes on bamboo stilts.

Given that he grew poor, he needed to find a way out of this drudgery. With the world in upheavel, he wasn't locked into shackles of rural poverty any longer and he leaped into the yet unknown life of a naval servant-a steward in 1946. He was sixteen when he decided to venture on his own.

That was not without difficulty because to gain entrance as a naval steward, perfect teeth were required. For his dental examination, he had his friend stand in for him. Still a child and thinking he had time before notification of a pass or fail, he had gone home to let his mother know his whereabouts. He also needed to overcome the fact that he was underage by a few years. With his friend's dental record of perfection, he was selected among the many. Fortunately for him the naval recruit officer walked through the unorganized throngs of potential recruits to find my father. It was Javert looking for Valjean and my father's friend slipped away at the last moment each time he came near. Luckily the man did not know who he was looking for. When my father after almost three days arrived to the recruitment camp the hunted became the hunter and Valjean found Javert. He showed the recruit administrator his forged birth certificate. He finally persuaded his brother in law when he visited his mother. His brother in law worked for the department of records. He was reissued his birth certificate thus overcoming being underaged. He was finally in! With his warship somewhere out in the middle of the pacific, my father was summoned by the ship's dentist. He sat in the chair with the cloth over his face muddling the overhead light. The dentist examined the molars, canines and incisors. Perplexed he examined the molars, canines and incisors again. Flustered, he examined the molars, canines and incisors again for the last time. He sounded annoyed when he had the nurse draft new dental records while mumbling something about incompetent knuckleheads.

He lived his first two decades with reckless adventure. When he was 18 he bought a convertible Oldsmobile that he didn't know how to drive. When he was nineteen he and his girlfriend were chased out of a Mississippi diner by racists-they couldn't catch him in his Olds! In his mid twenties he fell in love with a woman from Romania. He traveled the world as an impervious young man, he was having the time of his life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Fatherhood, Grief and Loss are Fused Emotionally

It was time to get away from America’s neglect of the poor or the McCain-Cheney debates on soft torture and the Presidents rational about the war in Iraq. It was time to get away from the conflicts of my son and his mother boyfriend. I took some time off to reflect and pay attention to my soul on the anniversary of my father's passing. No amount of reflection soothed me when it came to my father. I was immobilized for awhile: I was just going through the motions at work (Fortunately, no one at work was the wiser) and I wrote prolonged reflections on paper, journals and computer. I wrote at home which includes blogging. This was interesting as it felt good to receive good vibes from strangers responding to my written word. Though sad, I have not been to morose or maudlin. I could see my moods change in and out of sadness particularly within the stories of this blog.

A friend and a mentor had taught me that the subjects of fatherhood and grief or loss are fused emotionally. This time the depth of difficulty has not changed when dealing with this loss. As an example, my mother asked me to help her with her trust. Though I felt my father's presence in their home, it is odd knowing his physical presence is gone to where lightning strikes and coronas flare. Though dulled I helped my mother go through the process of transferring their assets to the trust. I was in the place of my father among many other things I've had to do. I weathered my mother's reactionary thunderstrikes. For me, it wasn't time to lay down the plow-it was time to plow the hard row of emotions and get this damn thing done. Yet his presence inside of me were boulders, roots and clay in this soil too! It's time now to write about him. Perhaps I can unearth the bull caca to writing his story through my eyes. If nothing else, he is the father I yearned for and the man I dealt with, I fought with and his powerful affect on me lingers. I want the future generations to know about him. By writing I hope to temper his affect.

There are many words to describe who he was. He was fiercely determined with incredible integrity. He was intelligent though he was not confident of his intelligence. He reached a 5th grade level education but chose to leave school to mine salt and farm rice. I suspect he used this hard laborious work as an impetus for him to rely on his resources in the hunt for something better. Auspiciously, there was a World War II that brought about war ships. As the story goes, he was one of the young men hired to load ordinance onto the ships. After several hours of loading these bombs, an American sailor looked at this skinny kid who was to become my dad. Aside from his earnest and hard work, he wore tattered rags and a rope belt. He took pity on him. He brought him into the mess hall will the gleaming stainless steel and shining square pans steaming with ham and roast beef and mash potatoes, vegetables and offered him a plate full of this food- and then seconds. My father forgot about the food in his pocket-the salted fish and rice wrapped in banana leaves. When he finished his third helping, he told the sailor he needed to go back to work because his boss might fire him. When my father stepped out from the portal onto the deck, the sailor gave him a duffle bag full of clothes and a message for his boss. My father was illiterate at the time so he did not know what the note meant. It didn't take him long to figure this out as he continued working. Others around him were sent home. He was sixteen then and his ideology was confirmed and he was still very naive.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Burning Screen

When I think of burning, I am reminded of a film where the two people in audience (you know who we are) performed in place of the film. As the film purred frame by frame, they were in a long drawn out process of spontaneous combustion. There was combustion everywhere, and others felt the heat as they wiped their foreheads and took their jackets off: most of them left when the candy liquified, coffee boiled and popcorn smoked. It reached superheat. The film melted and oozed through the light of the camera like the autumn colors of liquid amber dripping down white screen. In the shadows, the staff watched and the film operator watched and no one dared enter because of intensity. It wasn't until the passion cooled that management offered them free tickets for an encore and a performance worthy of an Academy Award!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Bee's and Iguanas

I wanted to post some thoughts on reptiles and insects because I need a change of pace and before I forget to.


The last time I was stung by a bee, a friend and I took a lunch hour and rode mountain bikes in the Discovery Hills area of San Marcos. We didn't know it at the time, but there atop the hills, we stumbled onto a bee farm. Bees as you know are attracted to anything that moves and one got caught between my helmet and ear and stung me. When I finally got back at work, my ear swelled and it looked disproportionately large compared to the other ear. It wasn’t the pain that hurt but my skewered vanity; especially when my co-workers called me “Radar”. They wanted me to communicate to the cosmos and relay it to IBM's Big Blue. Damn bees!


My friend’s woman is an artist with dyslexia whose has been recognized by the Berkely art community and she raises an Iguana. She shows off “Mikey” the iguana when I arrived. She was very proud of Mikey who I found out later that he is really a she iguana.

It got me to thinking, is an Iguana a pet for me? Would I be proud to own an iguana? I don’t know, besides I don’t know much about Iguanas? Their look is lizardy with rough skin and pointy scales. They also have long fingers and claws to poke and pull upward on your arms and your, legs and in their habitat trees upward towards 50’. Their tales make them seem bigger than other lizards I know of. I understand they have a good sense of hearing and smell with great eyes to see well with. They can also re-grow their tales-amazing. Why I’ve heard they could fall from 40 to 50 feet to the ground without getting hurt. They can dive from trees and into water and swim well too. They would posture in front of other males to show their alpha or impress females by raising their dewlaps. If only life and love was that easy.

My friend’s woman has created a habitat in their spare room with UV lights. I’ll have to ask her about the river and stream part as Iguanas live in tropical rainforest areas, near water sources, such as rivers or streams. They spend most of their time high in the forest canopy, about 40-50 feet above the ground. Another friend who lived in or near their natural habitat tells me at times they lived on her roof then crawl into the house and make themselves comfortable. Her house must have been very tall and very impressive. Either that or they had seasons where it rained cats and iguanas.

As I recall there was a big hubbub whether Mikey the Iguana and Missy the Australian Cattle dog should be nose to nose. While Missy was being playful Mikey had her dewlap extended. Iguanas evidently are territorial and they act aggressively and will bite. Since their bite is full of bacteria a serious infection could happen and I wouldn’t want it to happen to a charming dog like Misty.

Hygiene, artificial habitat, territorial aggression, sharp claws and a bite full of bacteria and all that they require in captivity slay any desire of mine to have a pet iguana. Still it might be a cool look to walk your iguana at Golden Gate Park or take picture with him/her or with your surroundings at home. It might appear soothing listening to indigenous flute music while cradling Mikey and yes your friends would be impressed until they were able to think about the ramifications of a beautiful animal like that in captivity even benign captivity. I do think it's cruel and dangerous.

Friday, November 11, 2005


Reciprocity in Love and Rapprochement-Complicitly!

This week, I had taken time to memorize this beautiful poem by William Butler Yeats:

"Wishes for The Cloths of Heaven"

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Those are my feelings too, for all the important people in my life including the women in my life both past, present and to come. In love's realm, it is through sustained resilience that I've survived and thrived from a loved one treading on my dreams.
Reciprocity in love and rapprochement together!

In my reflections today, It’s been sometime since the passing of my father and my break-up with my girlfriend. This, along with My son moving in for now because of his trauma with his mother's cancer and his conflict with her boyfriend and when you combine that with having to deal with my mother and her "Trust" and where her not so veiled threats of cutting me out of her "Trust" sent searing flames toward me-it can cripple and immobilize. None of the above have crippled me. It fact it did me no harm.
I acknowledge that it is a lot of shit so allow me to puke and puke again! There, I'm good with that! Reflecting back, all of it has made me a bit vulnerable. Even so, I’ve had strength to deal with these ravages and rampages thrown on my lap and it has a long way to go to reach my reserves.

Interestingly enough on the women aspect of this, I’ve survived and thrived and have lived a wonderful life with women! I feel I am becoming and I’ve never felt more confident about myself with women-especially when it comes to reciprocity in love and rapprochement. I’ve been intimate with several remarkable women. What occurred in the throes of deep passion, beauty and connection with them both good and bad, is how I've used reality and honesty as my guide. Manipulation has not been as powerful a factor as it once was. To be clear about my meaning of manipulation- I mean the complicit dance both men and women do to continue the insidious pathology, family of origins and the constant rake of narcissistic wounds. All of this, has for the most part been set aside as a non factor. I feel more ready to connect than at anytime in my life- connecting for the right reasons.

I've never felt so strongly about my commitment to this!


Olivia Soprano

Well you know my mother AKA Oliva Soprano has a penchant for chain yanking! She calls me frantically with her authoritarian voice demanding I drive to her mechanic shop. What am I to do in the middle of my work day buried up to my elbows with bovine excretion? Unlike my ne’er do well sibs, I take time out of my day to take her.

First, she gives me the address 4517 Adams: we end up in a residential neighborhood. She informs me it’s near 30th Street, clear on the other side of town. Second, I tell her no problem, give me the name of the mechanic. She says “Tiki”-So I call information and I am told there is no ‘Tiki’ Automotive anywhere in San Diego! Third, I find out she had Ross meet her there this morning. Ross was late for work because SHE got lost. Ross tells me it is 4517 30th between Adams and El Cajon.

In calling Ross, I got the details and got her there with little aggravation. Please note for future reference her mechanic is TK Automotive not Tiki…Arrrrgh! You would think that she would know the particulars wouldn’t you? To top it off, when we got there, her mechanic is out getting parts and has the garage shut down. The house next doors tells we’ll have to wait ½ hour. Well you know I’m not going to leave Olivia there alone so I take her the Chicken Pot Pie place for dinner. I mention this for Ryan's (my nephew) sake.

Finally I get her back to TK automotive so she could drive home. As I’m driving home it’s getting dark and as you know I’m worried now because as my lovely ne’er does well sister shared, she has a hole in her left eye! I called Olivia and luckily she made it home.

To my surprise, I am truly not affected by her yank arounds! I've found that I've been generous.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Rock Dogs

Along the beach are sculpted rocks,
They're stacked like the stones of Easter Island lording over the breeze .

The breeze cools my skin and the sun turns it brown.

the cell phone ring is muffed by the crash of the ocean.

I am the momentary ugly faces
pungent seaweed rushes in and out of my nose.

I jones for cup of coffee;
I find that yellow railroad station serving lahtees and orange cinnamon buns.

I can't shake an image as I settle in,
an image of rocks perched as a Maltese with a butch hair cut.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Waterfront Bar

Be forewarned, I will share not only when my mind roils with turbulence: I'll share the inner most working of my mind during an act of over-compensation. I think you might enjoy this journal entry as I wrote in the moment while I was at the Water Front Bar on India Street.

I read in Paulo Coelho's book Eleven minutes; Maria writes ..."Men are very strange, they can beat you up, shout at you, threaten you, and yet they're scared to death of women really. There's always one woman who frightens them and forces them to submit to their caprices; even if it's their own mother."

I know I am generally good with my masculinity but as my friend Deborah reminded me today, I was afraid of going cute when I wrote about the lamb. Dammit, I submitted to the caprices of cute. I was emasculated by my own pen-traitorous! One thing I need to address: is this journal class influencing me to write as a man-gina? I wonder...I need to pay attention to this. A girl friend with a penis I am not! No way! No how! Emasculation is what men are afraid of. Emasculation! Shit, it was emasculation by my writing. I cannot believe I wrote about gnawing on a stupid lamb. I can't believe I shared it-pathetic...

Where to begin, this journal entry began at home then on to the "Melon Patch" or more commonly known as the Waterfront Bar. Yes, it is the same bar where Marlon Brando made headlines in “On the Waterfront”. The “Melon Patch” reference refers to the women’s breasts who worked behind the bar. Here I am now at the oldest bar in San Diego; at least it had the first liquor license in San Diego. I've just ordered Huevos ala Americana and a Bloody Mary. It feels good to write here.

Right now it feels like a boor’s nest of belligerence in this place. It smells like fish and I want to eat it. The grease and the hot sauces are part of the furniture so are the waste of hundreds of bottles of booze. The refrigerators are churches of steel, housing the spirits of beer and directly in front of me-the tap handles. They are as follows: Guiness, Miller, Budwieser, Sierra Nevada, Yellow Tail Ale, Stone Ale, Bass Ale, Sam Adams, Newcastle, etcetera. It looks like I can do a sentence using the beer names and a verb here and there: "Look there is Bud and Miller with Sam Adams kicking back in his Newcastle in the lovely Sierra Nevada eating Yellow Tail and Bass."

The man sitting next to me just finished 3 shots of Jagermiester. He introduces himself as JT and is curious about my writing. So I share my beer sentence with him as I continue to write. I'm hungry as I haven't eaten anything this morning. My food's palatable; in fact it's pretty good. There are a few guys admiring my vette. It's pretty cool but I don't really want to talk while I eat. I want my solitude. I figure people drinking in the morning really don't do deep. These people are drinking and draining lots of booze and quite a few smoke unfiltered camels. It is in the air and they are here to get slammed, "City Slammed" in the morning. Whoa, the woman behind the bar just shone the waist band of her thong as she bent down to grab what JT called the elixirs of life (he is obviously talking about the bottles of booze)! Peeking thong straps seems to be the “fashionista de guerre” for the younger women. I like it! JT lights another camel and tells me he's on the wagon but today he feels like celebrating. I can't blame him for that!

Damn, there is some slim elbow room here. It looks like JT Jagermiesters are kicking in as he is getting really friendly with the girls. It feels awkward because the people think he is with me. Wowee-he just asked me for a ride!? I asked "where do you live?" He says 'three blocks up" I then blurted "what are you a man-gina?! You need to walk dude!" I don't think he quite got the message but he says "you got a point" I bought him another Jagermiester and he then made his way home-walking. He seems to be walking straight.

It's time for me to go too, "la cuenta, por favor!" I like that they know what that means. This entry looks like an over compensation for writing about that damn cutesy lamb. I still can't believe I did such a disgusting and despicable act! I'm not down with that.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Oh Death

I've been feeling weepy and sensitive today as time rolls towards the anniversary of my fathers death.

The stain dripping down the fence is an imposition. There is a dullness in the Lamb Osso Buco at the Savory Restaurant-it would be wonderful any other time. I don't feel the progress of men hard at work moving dirt back and forth here at my home. The Chargers cannot defend against the pass that the young Jet's QB Bollinger throws. I don't care if they did it once last minute to win the game-still it is frustration! There my brothers utter apathy shows as they neglected to insult me during our last conversation. My work lays on my desks pleading to be completed and I look at it with angst-it needs to be done. My vette's starter went out on me and the tow costs me $60.00 and the embarrasment of a cool car being tow'd as if it were impounded. It happened in front of a Starbucks where they know who I am. My companions are clutter everywhere and a lone light shines on my dingy socks and its glaring against the backlight of this computers LED. All of this converging into the deep vulnerable spiral I know as the loss of my father.


Blue Ridge Trip

By the way, here is a piece about the Blue Ridge inspired by a sentence from a friend's Blog. The prompt for this piece was a piece of imagery on Tantric Sex which goes as follows: “Describe the sound of a moist waffle falling onto a hot griddle."

First one cannot escape the hot and mild humidity in this place called Blowing Rock a town just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Famished, we walked into the Speckled Trout Restaurant and the smell of hot grease added to our body temperature. There they give you a choice of which side of the restaurant to sit in. On one side there is no air conditioning. I want to believe it is an effort to separate the smokers from the non smokers. In the middle of these two spaces-the Kitchen. Throughout the restaurant, all you hear is the sizzle of fryers bubbling and spattering. It was also the bathroom side too. It held rough hewn southerners smoking, drinking beer and eating fried trout. Since my body was heating up, I decided then and there, I wanted the non-smoking air condition area and so they placed us in front of the walk-in freezer. Cold air rolled out upon us each time they gathered or put away the frozen trout. A young Canadian transplant named Tal greeted us and asked what we wanted to drink. He gave us our tea-one sweet, syrupy sweet and the other is not. And then he asked me what I wanted to eat and I said “Trout”! He then asked, "Do you want that trout deep fried or pan fried?" I ordered pan fried. It was regional and it was good eating, yet I couldn’t tell if it was deep or pan fried.

My discomfort leads me to believe whether trout is deep fried or pan fried, it doesn’t mingle well with sweet tea. From Route 321 we turned onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and toward Linville to visit a place where they made the movie “The Last of the Mohicans”. It is also an area where a Professor of Religious study at Appalachia State University in Boone, NC, told us about a church. This is a church of recovering Baptist and Conservative ideologues. There you go, another Church and as one Carolinian shared, “you’re in the buckle of the bible belt”. On the Parkway, the miles dissipated into the past and I forgot about my discomfort. I became cognizant of the trees on each side of the road. We drove through the longest most beautiful tree tunnels I have ever seen. It felt like music to me as the leaves were the notes and the trees were like horn players on each side of the road blowing notes of beautiful colors. Colors that reached across the road until they met forming a canopy of infused color-crescendos of color! Everywhere, you are surrounded with colors of bright yellows, soothing greens, fall oranges and brilliant reds. One could see the shades of light-a million shades of light and occasionally, shafts of light bursting through the color. They are spot lights on the two lane road left behind in the rear view mirror. I could feel the air in my lungs rise and fall as I breathed. There is a calming you get upon exhalation just as your finger depresses the button of a camera and inside of you, what is left inside of you is the fragrance and essences of color from these beautiful mountains.

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