Wednesday, March 31

I Don't Live Today

I've got a Jimi Hendrix song stuck in my head. It's not like that's a bad thing, but it sort of just came to me out of the blue.

    I can't really think of the last time I heard this track, but there it is.

It's the kind of thing that happens to me a lot. Kinda like musical daydreams, where songs sort of find their way into the back of my mind. It's a different thing than hearing something on the radio in the car or on the phone while you were waiting for an operator to pick up and having that tune get stuck in your head.

This is more like.. the DJ in my subconscious digging through the stacks and putting on just the right tune to fit my mood. It's like that jones that makes people want to hear classical music every now and then instead of what they normally listen to. It's the kind of thing that keeps the blues alive.

Sometimes it's just in you, and there's nothing you can do about it.

It's one of those early Hendrix tracks - one of the ones he took from the Delta, plugged in to an amp and turned into something completley his own. It's one of those songs he always seemed to play live, the ones that end up on the compilation CD's. The phrasing is sometimes different performance to performance, but the energy, the heart of the thing is always there.

...I like this song.

But I'm not sure where it came from. I'm not really sure why this track is the one thats in the player right now. I get a feeling like my subconscious is trying to tell me something, trying to paint in a color that I will recognize, or speak words that I haven't been able to hear yet.

It's been a really long day. My energy has been just kinda ...off. It's like my patience has been way too thin, my temper way too quick to show itself. What's worse, it's one of those sunny Florida days where you can smell the seabreeeze every time you step outside. It's been one of those days where the ID badge hanging around my neck feels like some kind of yoke.

    It's nobody's fault.. but I desperatley don't want to be here right now.


Tuesday, March 30

Monday, March 29

Fast Times

Ok, so I just got punched in the neck breaking up a fight in the halls. I don't really think the kid meant to do it, I don't even think he realized that he connected

        but it's still a punch in the neck
        and it still friggin' hurts.


The school board tells us not to get between students having physical confrontations. They specifically tell us not to break up fights. The idea behind this is that making contact with a student, even if it's an attempt to restrain or protect them could lead to accusations of impropriety, or even a lawsuit.

The county tells us to let them fight, and then just suspend everyone involved.

       ...I don't get that.

To me, letting a fight go on in the hall and then cleaning up the mess afterwards makes teachers look like pussies. It perpetuates the appearance that we are nothing more than obstacles that need to worked around in order for normal social activities to take place. I mean, stuffs gonna happen one way or the other -- I'm not naive enough to think otherwise, but if the kids start to look at us like we're hockey referees who will simply toss them in a penatly box after they do the crime, then what the hell good are we?

At the same time, there are a handful of teachers and administrators around here who act like a dress code violation or having a personal CD player is a capital offense that should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. It's like the system works too hard persecuting the little things and then looks the other way or "waits until it's over" when something serious actually happens.

    And it's not like these kids can't figure it out.
     ...It's not like these kids don't know.



Saturday, March 27

Murk

Last night my head was dirty water, unclear with clouds floating through currents without ever finding a place to settle. Last night I found myself in the same places I seem to find myself anymore, but without the same filters to keep it from becoming a problem.

Last night, mired in my own bullshit, I looked over at the fish tank and noticed that the water was really cloudy, kinda tinged with yellow and green. We had added a second fish recently, sort of as a companion to the one who had happily been swimming around in there for a few months now.

He seemed ...lonely.
It felt like the right thing to do.

Last night I decided that I'd clean the fish tank ...first thing in the morning.

      This morning the new fish was dead.

In a panic, in a guilt - I put the old fish in a different fishbowl while I cleaned the tank. I emptied the water, changed out the gravel, and did all of the little things I should have done... last night.

The fish looked uncomfortable in the old tank that used to be his, but at least the water was clean. At least he could breathe. I took a shower and got myself dressed so that I could head out and get a new filter for the tank.

When I came out of the bedroom, the other fish was dead.

...Just floating there, in crystal clear water.

            When I don't take care of things, they die.


                                                  ...when I don't take care of things, they die.


Friday, March 26

Who Are the Brain Police?

Here it is, the last semester of the school year. I've been with this group of 8th graders every day it seems since the end of August. This week I've got them working on an essay project that discusses what they did while they were out on spring break.

In my class essay writing is done through a series of steps that includes prewriting, drafting, proofreading, peer editing, and revising the work before turning in the final paper. It's a little more drawn out than maybe it needs to be, but it's important to me that they understand how to help make their writing better. It's important to me to show them how they can all become effective storytellers.

Every time we've done this in the past they've complained, dragged their feet, and generally done a half-assed job of things, which usually turns me into an angry frstrated a-hole who assigns extra work to try to get my point across.

..So today in class they came in and I told them to finish up their peer edits in preparation for revising their work to turn in. They groaned, opened their notebooks, and got to work.

Everyone here in the classroom - reading and writing, doing the things I've offered to them during the year to help them write better essays. Sitting at my desk waching them work, I suddenly realize that I don't have anything to do.

      ...God, I'm bored.


Wednesday, March 24

Looking Osceola, Feeling Pensacola

It just occurred to me, I must be blind
why do I try so hard to keep my cool
when I'm about to lose my mind?
there was a vision flashing by
of a summers' day I spent with you
and a child who never learned how to cry

When those around me fall in despair
I call upon my common sense 'cause
someone has to care
a sudden decision - I can't explain
though I've often tried to change the rules
the game remains the same - for love

I've played the part so many times,
it fits me like a glove
but I'm the victim in the bitter end
I know you need me to be strong
I just don't know how much longer
I can pretend...

       You always need me to be
       a good man in a storm


It sometimes scares me, the further we go
just how much we understand
and just how much we know
so whatever happened, in our hearts
while making perfect sense of life
we still remain so far
...apart

       You always need me to be
       a good man in a storm


try to fit the social norm
and be a good man in a storm
trying hard since I was born
to be a good man in a storm


            - Level 42, "Good Man in a Storm"


Tuesday, March 23

Phantom Power

There's a strange kind of wind blowing today. The sun is out and the trees are still, but when you step out of your car it sweeps around your feet, circles you from underneath.

      It's a chill that stays with you,
      even after you've closed the door.

Yesterday it seemed like I was always just a step behind myself. Always just missing the things I should have been doing, the things I should have been saying. And whether I intended it or not, it created this sort of blowback effect, like spray coming off the back of a crashing wave that kept making me turn my head at times when it feels like I should have been looking.

    I don't know.. maybe I'm not explaining this right.

There's this thing that happens sometimes with microphones when you plug them in. The polarities don't match up, or the system isn't properly grounded, and the electricity that is used to drive the magnets builds up instead of flowing throught the circuit.

...There's this thing that happens sometimes when you get close to a live mic to say something. You lean in to tell your story, you lean in to sing -- and electrons arc towards the enegry in your skin. A spark jumps towards the electricity in your nerves, the moisture in your lips.

        It shocks you.

And it hurts. It hits you right where you don't expect, and it bites you like an animal that feels threatened. The pain doesn't stay, but it hurts in a way that your mind holds on to. It hurts in a way that makes you hesitate every time you think about getting close to that microphone again.

Sometimes it takes being zapped two or three times, but eventually you start to sing "at" the mic, instead of into it. Eventually you start to avoid that negative stimulus, start to utilize fight or flight in even the slightest of ways.

     Pavlovian Rock n' Roll.

...I should say what I mean. I should lean into the microphone. Speak into it, not sing "at" it. I should just close my eyes, bear the electricity, and make the music that I was always meant to create.

            ...but there's a strange kind of wind blowing today.


Monday, March 22

How I Knew Spring Break Was Finished

This morning while getting dressed

         1. I had to find socks
         2. I had to find underwear




Friday, March 19

Norm

Friday night, crowded bar. I'm hangin' with dear friends and doing my usual Jagermeister and Guinness damage incorporated when I notice this guy at a table across the way looking at me. His eyes have a half-smile/half uncertain thing going on, but it's hard to tell if it's anything specific or just the result of all the beer bottles he's got sitting in front of him.

A minute or two later, he comes up to me with this huge smile and says,

       "Brian!!"
       "What?"
       "Dude, Brian! ..Aren't you Brian?"
       "Sorry pal, My name's Dan."

He looks me over for a second - and then he says,

          "Dan!!"


Wednesday, March 17

Green Eyed Lady

    I painted my toenails last night
    they match the color of my guitar.
    It's not really what I had intended,
    but it's still kinda cool.


Tuesday, March 9

Reading Lorna Dee Cervantes

...and thinking of red Shakespere's winter not so long ago - I pause.
The sun is so very, very warm; a witches moon.

       And this,
       it seems,
       is me.



Monday, March 8

Neckbones

Every little thing adds a flavor. Every ingredient does something. Sometimes the effect is subtle and hard to pinpoint - but it's there. That extra pinch of spice, or teaspoon of oil are all there for a purpose; all fill some space that makes the everything hold together in a certain way.

      You can always tell something's missing when it's forgotten.

I believe in spice. I believe in adding flavor and texture. But I wonder sometimes if I get too caught up in it. I wonder if sometimes I don't know when to quit. I get so locked in sometimes to getting the little things fixed up just right that the big ideas sometimes pass by unnoticed. They say that heaven is in the details, but isn't that heaven a distinction, a finery that gains beauty by being different than the norm? Doesn't the norm have to exist in order for the anomaly to separate itself?

My favorite Chinese takeout dish is General Tso's Chicken. I swear, I could eat that stuff all day. But the thing is, I haven't found the place here in town that gets it right yet. To me, the best General Tso's is a perfect mix of sweetness and heat. The sauce needs to feel like honey but taste like hot peppers. But no matter where I go in town to get it, it's like they can only seem to figure out half the equation. Either it's tangy without sweet, or sugary without kick. I'll eat it anyways, but it's like I'm always wanting for more. And we don't get Chinese takeout all that often, so for me to find flaw in what amounts to a special meal seems kinda silly...

       But I know how I want it to taste.
       I know the way I want to lick my fingers.
       I know the way I want to feel.

So I keep searching.

But the weird thing is, all the Chinese restaurants in town look exactly the same. Sure, they all have different names - but they all seem to have the same picture menus on the the wall. Every place has the same artwork in the waiting area, the same style of tables and chairs. They even have the same little white plastic drawer organizers filled with spoons and packages of soy sauce. Every place I go to pick up food from seems to have a line of people in it waiting for their brown paper bag to be stapled shut and handed to them by the pretty girl who works the phones and checks lines the map with her index finger.

It's the same place. The same surroundings. The same recipie.

Yet here I am, looking for them to do something differently. Here I am, trying to dig detail out of marrow.

Once I find the place that makes the killer Tso I'm gonna stick with it. That's the plan. That's the reason. That's why I'll drive all over town even when there's a place that does takeout less than a mile from my house. They make General Tso's. I've had their General Tso's. It's okay

         ...but it's not it, you know?


Friday, March 5

Only Monkeys Fling Poo

    Must remember that... must remember that!!


Wednesday, March 3

Mokey

    Your dog keep licking my nose, and tearing up all those letters
    saying "you bettah!"


Monday, March 1

Beneath the River, West from South

Happy conflicted. Conflicted happy. Chocolate cake and cherry pie. Everything is ripples on water, spreading concentric outwards; warming my bones against the cold in a way that I'm too intoxicated by to want explanations for. Music is new again. The house is clean.

     ...and I don't want it to stop.

And yet there is shadow. Light moves overhead as the ground beneath you spins. In the morning it follows where you go, and as the day leaves you have the chance to see yourself on the ground, stretched and leaning away. It's a relfection. It's a projection. Gravity and light, undeniable truths.

        What is it with me and playgrounds?

Connect and discover, transmit and receive. Wait for the words to appear, or know them without saying -- the differences are enormous, but it's a place I feel, almost like lyrics and rhythm.

       Strange how the scale forms,
       in tiny patterns
       on my antenna
       and the Five O'clock Show ...Hello Hello


The Golden Age is 10 songs about planes, pirates, submarines, and rain - but there is a mood there, a current underneath. I can't really explain it, because it's just something that happens when the notes hit my ear. It takes me somewhere, like an emotional passkey. It's not attached to a name or a face.

It's just a mood. A kind of blue.

Perhaps that's what's made these days the way they are. Because there is a feeling there. Something close to covet that appears in the reflection of the eyes. It spreads over me like a blanket and it flows to everything and everyone I know.

     I mean, honestly - the bathroom hasn't been this clean in years.

...How can that be a bad thing?

            Be in my broadcast
            when this is over
            give me your shoulder, I need a place
            to wait for morning.



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