Driving I-95 S. With Small Gestures.

Katharina-Sieverding-face-eyes-close-up

He’s not there every day, but many days.
It’s a five-second human connection.
But like tree sap, the resin sticks, and it’s impossible to wash off.

I pull up to the security gate.
I swipe my card.
The gate lifts.
I glance to my left.

In winter, the door is shut, the glow of the lamp is a beacon in the pre-dawn hours. He’s there, head down, turning pages of the morning paper or a paperback. He’s approaching the end of his overnight shift.

It’s summer now, the door is open, he’s standing, motionless.

I used to offer a “Good Morning!
I gave up on him after a number of intermittent attempts.
He failed to reciprocate. I was left empty.  I refused to start my day in a ditch.

Now the morning contact is wordless.
One man’s eyes fixed on the other. A recognition. An acknowledgment.
But no more. A Cold War.
But Not. [Read more…]

Driving I-95 S. Playing Catch-Up.

lights-highway-drive

5:25 am. Yesterday. Any day.

I-95 S.

Left hand at 11 o’clock.

Finger tips on right, spinning dial. Playing Russian Roulette with one of 4,378 tunes. DK is Living large. Letting it land where it may.

Left foot tapping. Tapping. TappingLet’s go Man. Let’s go. I’m tailing a black limousine in the left lane doing fifty. A yellow light glows in the back seat. A Suit reads the morning paper.

I re-grip the steering wheel – swing right, accelerate, and swing sharply left. Lynyrd Skynyrd…’Cause I’m as free as a bird now…

The limo is back in my rear view mirror.  I drift into a collage of Vine clips, stitched together with snippets of blog posts, movies, books (6 in flight) and highlights from my binge watching of Netflix. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. You are gulping them down. Gasping for air. Faster and faster.  And then the Nimbostratus. Katrina Kenison, on her Magical Journey, An Apprenticeship in Contentment: “Thirty, forty, fifty – how could three quarters of my life by over? Where did it go?
[Read more…]

Driving I-95 N. With Sparks.

lights-driving

There’s a difference.
When your bones hurt,
And when they’re just tired.
When they are looking to heal,
and when they are looking to get set down.
These Bones are aching, to get set down.

Sparks.
The week’s reflections as I ride up I-95.
They light warm fires of gratitude.

Yes, Mary. It is the work.
My work.
Work that I’ve made for myself.
Work that I’ve chosen to claim my life.
My adult life.

And then, a final spark,
for Mary,
who has brought me Home,
and to my handsome life.


I don’t mean it’s easy or assured, there are the stubborn stumps of shame, grief that remains unsolvable after all the years, a bag of stones that goes with one wherever one goes and however the hour may call for dancing and for light feet. But there is, also, the summoning world, the admirable energies of the world, better than anger, better than bitterness and, because more interesting, more alleviating. And there is the thing that one does, the needle one plies, the work, and within that work a chance to take thoughts that are hot and formless and to place them slowly and with meticulous effort into some shapely heat-retaining form, even as the gods, or nature, or the soundless wheels of time have made forms all across the soft, curved universe – that is to say, having chosen to claim my life, I have made for myself, out of work and love, a handsome life.

– Mary Oliver, Wild Geese


Notes:

Driving I-95 S. With Dancing Nancies.

olena kassian drawings pavane, 64- x 48-

Friday morning. July 17th.  77° F. 8:10 am.
Traffic?  A lava flow.
I’m in the center lane between two tractor trailers. Behemoths. Wall to wall.

The Mind, a Raccoon, ever searching, digging, anxious.
Its beady eyes darting.
Its sharp claws twitching, digging in sh*t they shouldn’t be digging in.

Shiny tinsel flashes from the morning readings.
Fulghum: The examined life is no picnic.
Remarque: The less a man thinks of himself the better he is.

And on cue, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds strum their guitars to open Dancing Nancies

Could I have been / A parking lot attendant
Could I have been / Lost Somewhere in Paris
Could I have been / Anyone other than me

A parking lot attendant? First job. Gas station attendant.
Paris? I’ll take just being in Paris, just once, lost or found.
And, ‘Could I have been / anyone other than me?’
Now, that is a question.

A copper colored Tesla jams his nose in the wee gap in front of me. I close the gap, with my nose within inches of his door panel. The mini cameras on the bumper trigger the sensors: Warning. Too Close. Too Close. He turns left to see my grill, and me, feeling the blast of natural heat. Oh, you know what you’re doing Friend. Save electricity with your Tesla. Burn me up. [Read more…]

Driving Uptown. With MAN from X.

cabs-nyc-times-square

DK:  Broadway and 49th please.
CD:  Times Square?
DK:  Yes. Please.

DK:  Your cab is so clean.
CD:  Thank you Sir.
DK:  How long have you been driving?
CD:  Nine months.

DK:  Where are you from?
CD:  X (A Caribbean Country)

DK:  Do you have family back at X?
CD:  Yes Sir.  My wife and 2-year old daughter.
CD:  I’m saving money to bring them over.
CD:  I do miss them. I’m hoping to see them at Christmas.

DK:  How many hours a day do you drive?
CD:  I start at 7:30 am and drive until 8 or 9pm.
DK:  Weekends?
CD:  I try to not to work on Sundays.

CD:  And then I study.
DK:  Study?
CD:  I want to become a Cop.
DK:  Cop?
CD:  Yes.
DK:  May I ask why?
CD:  Police, politicians – are thieves in X.
CD:  I would be proud to serve this city.
CD:  I think I would be a good cop. [Read more…]

Saturday Afternoons. In Memorata.

baseball-glove

Eric, our 21 year old Son, joins Zeke and me on the bed. He’s texting. I’m reading. Zeke’s napping, his paw twitches. The TV buzzes in the background.

Kanigan Men, never have much to say to each other. Yet, he did come in, and sit with his Dad and his Dog. As Heithaus would say in ‘Insides': …Between words – white space and breath, the air moving without sound…all the fecund stuff inside us that finds thought and voice and sound.’

Eric continues texting.

New York Times: Screen Addiction is Taking a Toll on Children: “Texting looms as the next national epidemic, with half of teenagers sending 50 or more text messages a day and those aged 13 through 17 averaging 3,364 texts a month.”

Eric pauses from texting to look out the second floor window and down the street. Three houses down, a neighbor is playing catch with his five year old son. 15 years ago, that would have been Eric and me. On the street, in the hot mid-day sun in Miami. I can hear the ‘clop’ of the ball hitting his mitt. His cheeks are flushed. His hair matted and wet. Wonder if this scene is taking him back? [Read more…]

Walking Cross-Town. Saving the best for last.

dreadlocks-cornrows-hair

It’s not any day.
But every day, that I’m walking cross-town to the office.
I call him up.
Or better stated, he gets called up.
Why this thought among billions of others, I don’t know.
But it flutters in on its wings, lands and settles.
A 20-second moment in life that never returns.
But returns each time I walk on this patch of earth.

It was February.
A warm day, but a winter day.
He’s lying on the concrete sidewalk on 48th street.
Not against the store front.
Or over a grate spilling steam from the guts of the underground tunnels.
He’s more centered between the street and the hulking skyscraper.
Early morning commuters avert their gaze, and step far left or right.

He’s covered from head to toe in a soiled sleeping bag.
He’s sleeping on a thin sheet of cardboard. [Read more…]

Running. With America.

childe-hassam-art-american-flag-july-4th

Words cut.
And she held the knife.
I HATE AMERICA.”
Yes, in CAPS.

5:30 am. July 4th, 2015.
The Wolf Pack was settled in the car and heading down I-95 S.
Six lanes, devoid of traffic.
Eerie. A post-apocalyptic moment on I-95. Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” Gray skies, light rain spitting on windshield. No Ash.

I HATE AMERICA.
“She” is Anonymous on the inter-tunnel. She repeats IT over and over, in Caps, a vitriolic cadence wrapped around each of America’s stated ills.

We’re two miles in at Mianus River Park.The terrain is hilly.  I’m a roller coaster, with slow climbs up, and gravity pushing faster and faster downward.  No. You are a Burro.  A Burro carrying an oversized load with its belly dragging. You strain with each step. Your breathlessness, is a suffering inhale-exhale far less refined than the hee-haw of the Burro.  Sad eyes drooping, staring down at hooves tiptoeing around rocks, roots and ruts.

I HATE AMERICA.
I read the post on Friday. The words still fresh, blood spilled.  Words coming from an American, mid-20s.  A Woman. [Read more…]

Walking Cross-Town. Waxing and Waning.

Simon Birch

It’s Tuesday. 6 am.
The Metro-North train arrives at Grand Central.
I’m walking across town.
It’s there.
I’m, Unstoppable.

Today. It’s back.
The energy geyser bursting from the Center.
The Possibilities? Endless.
Hope?  Springs eternal.
Mystery source?  Soul. Powered. Soulerpowered.*

Other days.
The cauldron bubbles.
The witches’ brew stews.
Lethargy. Worry. Anxiety. Fatigue. Doubt.
Fully Present, in a Civil War of One.
It? It’s just not there.

William James had a bead on it.  The Human energizing. The sum-total of activities. Some outer. Some inner. Some muscular. Some emotional. Some moral. Some spiritual.  The waxing and waning in himself he is at times so well aware.  How to keep it an appreciable maximum? How not to let the level lapse? That is the great problem.

I feel this lapsing.
Mr. Miyagi’s Wax On, Wax off. [Read more…]

Walking Cross-Town. Crossing the Street.

plant-green-water-drops

The morning ritual is…

GET to the office.
GET to the desk.
Fire up the PC.
GET a jump on the day.
Same. Same. Same.

I exit Grand Central,
and head West.
Same route.
As the crow flies,
it’s a straight shot, on foot, cross-town, to the office on 48th street.
Speed traps are meted out by flashing Don’t Walk! signs and traffic,
as jaywalking is a cultural norm in Gotham.

I couldn’t tell you what triggered it.
It could have been a car horn.
A driver shouting at another.
Or perhaps more subtle,
a bird call amidst the gray, inert skyscrapers,
or a unusually, warm early morning wind gust from my left.

[Read more…]