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It's unbelievable, except that it's not.   It happened, all of it, and I know, because I was there.
And now I'm here.
You can't know how happy I am, other than I just told you.
I'm at peace.
But it's even better than that - I have joy, to boot.
It seems peace and joy run together.   They're old friends, maybe.
I don't know.
I've not asked.
It's just lots of fun, is all.   Imagine living a smile - that's what I'm doing nowadays.
I recommend this.
Wherever you are, and whoever, I wish for you this peace.
We sat in his studio in that fading light, my favorite light of the day, one of my favorite places, a teaching jewelry studio, a room which has many different interesting items to catch that light.
We talked it through, laughter in it, joy in it, these past four years strong now in my mind.
There's a richness in this friendship - sponsorship is more than a friendship if/when its done right, which we mostly do - that perhaps few people get to experience.   Not that people aren't close, but it's unspoken, there's so much underground.   This is on the table.
Towering cumulous, and that sky not cushioned by cloud no longer blue, gray now as the Central Texas heat pushes the Central Texas humidity sky high.
I'm just out of the sun, into the dim cool of an Austin slacker caffiene afternoon, these words and my long-assed hair tossed and cooled by that ceiling fan, a double expresso half gone, tex-mex on it's way.
Thus far this year I've held off my pointless yet continual bitching about sweat, I'm rolling with the flow, suffering the sun, praying for peace.
Shade is imperative, plentiful if sought out.
Gotta be cool!
She was looking for a futon.
I was giving one away.
She seems nice, bright, interesting, pretty, maybe pained - is it pain I'm seeing there?
She takes the futon.
I'm running scared, beaten badly, prior foolishnesses; I'm moving very, very slowly.   And not just WANTING to move slowly - I AM moving slowly.
She's not moving any faster.
I find this comforting.
Emails.   And then, an end to emails.
---     pause three months     ---
I send email - "Hey, you seem ok, a good broad, etc and etc, yay or nay?"
An hour later, first time in months, she checks that email.
It's like a line is down.
I still see, I'm not blind - breasts, twats, a nice curve, a pretty face, a tight dress still move me.
But not like before, I no longer want - Need!   Right Fucking Now! - to grab these people (who I never even really saw as people, not when the lust was on me, on them, maybe just on) and haul them to the nearest wherever, or just ravage them right fucking there, wherever there was, tear off that goddamn top, that black skirt, suck, kiss, bite, fondle, my hands sliding wherever they slid.
This troubles me.
Dead as Dillinger, morning traffic, rush-hour, I-35, in my sponsors truck, headed to the hospital.   I'm laying on the seat, my eyes wide.   I'm very dead.
Massive heart attacks.
Two years ago today.
I don't remember a bit of it, I was dead so dang long (Ten minutes?   Fifteen?) that my memory is trashed.   Very annoying; I'm all interested in near death experiences and whatnot — for all I know, me, Jesus, Stevie Ray, Marcus Aurelius and JFK were all sleazing around, doing miracles and shit, getting big sloppy blowjobs from Marilyn Monroe and Joan of Arc and Mary Magdalene and my ex-wife.
I hope so.
Still lots of buzz left over from yesterdays anniversary.
I'm all the time telling people how my death has changed my life.   For the better, to be sure.   I'm a happier guy.   I KNOW how beautiful this motherfucker is, the rain and the sun and the pain and the fun.   You go around spouting the profundity of the beauty of life - Pah!
You don't know shit.
Okay, okay, so I'm sortof a jerkoff.   Nothing new, that.  But I'm a BETTER jerkoff today than I used to be.   A kinder jerkoff.   A gentler jerkoff.   A more sensitive jerkoff.
Just ask me.
Pickaxes.   Sledge hammers.   Shovels.   Concrete.   Water.   Pickup trucks.   Men.   Laughter.   Sunshine.   Sweat.   Texas.   Austin.
I'm in it 100 percent, I'm a fucking piston, throwing that post hole digger into that hard-ass Texas clay, I'm past caring about sweat or dirt or hurt or anygoddamnthing else, I don't give a rats ass, I'm tired of fucking around, I'm getting it done and next I know it is done.
I love hard physical work.   I love working with people who understand hard physical work.   I love Texas, I love summer, I love getting the job done, I love the fun in it all.
It's 2:31 am, my brain is on 'blank' as I cruise the internet.
Tears are streaming down.   Have been for hours.
I think I'm crying because of getting sideways with Kelly earlier.   But I don't really know.
Maybe grief - yesterday would've been my fathers birthday.
This crying without knowing is relatively new.   Couple of years.   Could be something to do with having died, maybe being on anti-depressants, perhaps it's being older, finally seasoned.
It beats the shit out of those deep, acheful sobbings, mournful sadnesses - fuck all that.  Good riddance.
Regardless, it'd be interesting to know why I'm crying.
That was of course after saying from the time I awoke "I'm not going to drink today, I'm not going to drink today"; my van seemed almost on autopilot, the damndest thing, seemed to drive itself into that stop-n-rob, seemed as I was somehow on remote control as I bought the beer and started sucking it down, damn sure on remote as I drove to the liquor store - I have absolutely no intention of doing any of it, but there I was, doing it.   Like I'd been hypnotized, and I guess I was hypnotized, by fucking alcoholism.
24 years ago today.
You'd give everything you had, were you in my shoes, to have it happen to you:   Between the time I passed out and the time I came to, into my heart was placed the willingness to do whatever it took to never, ever take another drink.
I knew I was beaten.
I knew I was totally fucked.
I didn't know how to never, ever take another drink.
But - I had the willingness. That's a great start.
There was so goddamn much to learn!   And I'm so goddamn stubborn!
Smiling now, sorta bittersweet, thinking how it all unfolded...
I have sortof made the decision (and, amazingly, been able to hold to it) not to bitch about the humidity in the summer here in Austin.   It's made my summer a lot more pleasant.   I mean, wtf, I live here, I have lived here for long enough to know that it's going to be humid, even global warming won't change that, probably even if the planet got hit by a huge asteroid and broken into trillions of kazillions of atoms and whatnot, those particular atoms which came from Austin would probably be sweaty, and many of them moaning about it.
Here's a cardinal; there's some kids swimming, a creek.
We pray, holding hands, knocks ego flat on its ass - two big fucks holding hands at a picnic table, praying.
Me:   "Old Timer- Please help me leave that jagoff part of me over there in the pickup."
Mikey:   "Hey Bud- How ya doing today?"
I just love that Mikey hopes god is having a great day.
I sponsor the coolest people.
It's really, really fun.
I have a picture window into the lives of people I really love, I get to see it all unfold.
I know that writing these hundreds opens me to other writing.   It has in the past led to colors also.
It seems that this opens a vein - creativity flows.
It's not yet a strong habit, as it was.   I'm writing this on July fifteenth.
I 'missed' yesterday.
I want this.   Quite frankly, I think I need it.
Picasso painted every day.   He was a painter.
Painters paint.   I mean, that's why they call them painters - they fucking paint.
Think I'm making too big a deal of this?   Move on, go read Tom Clancy.
I need this.
So I've taken the medications I take every night, my mind slowed now, dimmed, dulled.
Normally I would write before taking that garbage - garbage which allows me to have any sort of life, I suppose I should add here - but, amazingly, outlandishly, I forgot the hundreds yet again, regardless writing earlier today about their dire importance, etc etc.
Maybe I'm hopeless.
Perhaps life isn't worth enduring.
Maybe it's just my life.   Maybe I ought to hurl myself off a building!
That seems pretty drastic.
It really is a pain in the ass, being me, a big job.
They actually have people who roll up the sidewalks in almost every town I've ever been in there in Arizona.
Okay, so they don't actually have people that do that.   But they may as well.
Tucson, Phoenix, Flag, etc and etc - they have almost no pulse at all, as far as art, as far as nightlife, as far as music/ painting/ literature/blahblahblahblah.   The spirit of the towns actually fall asleep, they have special 'spirit beds' just outside of every town, the spirits stumble there about 8:30pm every goddamn night and fall into deep slumbers, often farting in the night.   Ghastly.
So it's very late, and I'm to be up early (for me) tomorrow, and I've had a day so full that it actually burst apart, spilt over into both yesterday and tomorrow, it's run over like a beaker in a bad science fiction movie.   Today I've been a sponsor, I've been a good citizen, I've been a shopper, I've been therapized, I've been to AA meetings, I've changed my clothes, washed my face, farted heartily, walked loudly, my boot heels clicking wherever they did.   These words suck and they will continue to suck, I'm just headed for 100 and then I'm
We drank tea.
First date - we're on good behavior, making nice, cooing and billing, no farting, etc.
I ascertain, covertly, that her religious beliefs exclude astrology; I'd sooner date a fundie Jesus-jumper.
I'd painted a small painting, gave it to her as we sipped tea.   She's dressed nice - South Austin - her bright eyes carry intelligence, fun, sadness, neurosis, warmth.
She seems happy, she's not some miserable mope, and men aren't to blame.
She has a cat, but not ten cats.
Our hands moved slowly toward our hats. Maybe we'll toss them in the ring...
One year ago today.
I didn't pray today.
It was not fun to be me.
You'd not have wanted to be in my skin today.   I goddamn sure didn't, it didn't fucking fit, it was binding like underpants that are made wrong, or are too tight, or something.
My undies were in a bundle.
I was twirling.
Thank god I caught myself before I inflicted me upon Kelly.
Grace got through, somehow, I began praying in the shower, continued after getting out, my hair dripping some.
I found the peace.
It doesn't take long.
It does take prayer.
A beautiful new building houses the art collection which UT had crammed into another facility.
So much space, so much light.   Vast, soaring halls.
But they've displayed even less of the collection than was displayed in the smaller building.
I can barely believe it; a stylish building is their priority.
It is an outrage.
I haven't seen this collection in five years, as the new building was raised.
And, tonight, I still haven't seen it.
Somewhere in Austin are thousands - literally thousands - of amazing paintings, sculptures, statuary.   Artists souls laid bare.
No one is going to see them.
Myself, I'd drive one of those new five hundred plus horsepower Mustangs (bright blue, if you please) over a BMW any day of the week - beamers are pigs, garbage cans, they've got no guts at all, it's like driving a fucking bread truck, whereas driving one of those Mustangs is close as you'll get to heaven this side of eating psilocybin - stomp the gas, dump the clutch and you're creaming your jeans, and who gives a rats ass about what car makes women wet, these new Mustangs handle like a fucking 'vette, they scream and howl, and so will you.
A leather sack isn't designed to carry acid.
A soul isn't designed to carry resentment.
AA101:   From resentment stem all forms of spiritual disease.
Repeat:   All forms of spiritual disease.
Title a sheet of paper "I'm angry at/about".   Begin writing.   (Helpful hint:   Allow yourself plenty of time to write.)
You will be astonished at how much resentment you carry in your heart.
The hardest resentments to let go of are those that are 'justifiable':
"That man is driving like an idiot."
"That woman stole my hat."
"That man killed my son."
Seventy times seven.
It is the only way out.
The problem with kittens:   Soon they're cats.
Cats are berserk.
What if he turns out to be a paranoid schizophrenicat?   No anti-psychoticat medications are available.   You've commited to a crazed animal.   It's like marriage.
I don't have a cat, but I sortof do - Kelly adopted a kitten that I found out roaming in the night, terrified, alone.
He's the best!
Pretty soon we're gonna get his balls cut off.
I kid him about it all the time - "Ha ha, pretty soon we're gonna get your balls cut off!"
He's feisty as hell, tons of fun, cute as a bugs ear.
Two times I had to cut and run, or felt I had to, and did.   We were best friends but it wasn't healthy, wasn't smart, wasn't good.
We spoke today, first time in five years.
We talked an hour, I drove as we talked.
What's changed?   Lots.   It was good to talk, fun.   He needs some help, I'll help.
He knows nothing of the writing, the painting, my going nuts, Kelly.   He knows just a bit about my death, not much more about my life, as it is now.
He knows all my past, is a large player in it.
Oh, fuck it - I've got to write something FAST and I've been dicking around pretending that I have time to write this hundred, and I don't, Kelly is waiting for me over there, I've also half a cup of still-warm tea over there also, and I want to get back over there, we were 'settling in' and BANG! I remembered I'd not written this 100, so I'm here now, and not over there, where I want to be, and will be, soon as this fucking counter hits one hundred, which I goddamn sure hope will be pretty goddamn soon, this is
All that being said, I think that our current prez is as bad as any in my lifetime.   Best in my lifetime was Eisenhower, a fine man, and honest, and good.   Maybe Kennedy — who knows what might have happened, probably he'd have pulled out of Vietnam.   He was escalating it but I think he'd have either bombed them to the stone age or gotten out — either way lots better than what happened.  Johnson was earnest, same caliber man as Eisenhower I think, a very good man, did anything he could to get his agenda passed, dropped the ball on Vietnam, and knew it.
Yah, it is one of the funniest things that I've seen - all these mopes being such 'individualists' by having tattoos and whatnot; I always smile, sometimes cannot help but laugh out loud.   And how about the clothing they wear, stategically torn to show those horses ass tattoos - yawn yawn yawn.
The only woman who deserves any credit for the tattoos they wear are over forty, forty-five, because when they got tattoos it really WAS making a statement:   "I suck filthy dicks behind the titty bar I work in".   The statement todays pinheads make is "I'm a fucking sheep.   Bleet.   Bleet."
I don't know where it comes from, it's on me before I realize it's even in the neighborhood, the motherfucker is clawing me.
My head is fucked.   My thoughts are racing.  My guts hurt.
I want to sit alone.
I need to talk to you.
LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE.
I goddamn sure don't want to tell anyone, not unless they are bipolar.
At least now I know what it is - I remember this shit happening before I understood bi-fucking-polar disorder, feeling like a caged animal, trapped, slapped, shackled inside my fucking skin.
Prayer my only real peace in this day.   Yeah, the sponsor thing is good, in fact it's real good, and a great way to spend that part of the afternoon.   And I love that I'm now (mostly) sponsoring guys who have some sober time, and who know what's up, that know the way out is in step work, prayer, forgiveness.   I like sponsoring newly sober people also but they almost always go out - big news, right? Alcoholics drink.   But it sucks - you spend time with someone, get close, and then know that they are back in active alcoholism - it sucks.
I've been away from prayer/meditation.   Using it as a spare tire rather than a steering wheel.   Which is better than nothing but I'm missing the peace, that ease in my heart.
So I hit my knees, said "Hey Old Timer- What's shakin'?" and here's old JC, comes floating up from somewheres, grinning probably, something along these lines - "If you're fixin' to come to prayer, and you're crossways with someone, go get that right first, and then come to prayer."
So I did.
Two phone calls.   No, three.   An email.   A letter, set to mail.
And then prayer, and meditation.
A sweet day.   Yesterdays prayers continued today - how is it that I let prayer go?
So I lived that prayer as I could, the day flowed.   No, it didn't flow, it was a day, good and bad, life as it is.   But I flowed, through it, or with it, or something.
Central Texas summer- towering, dazzling white cumulus, blazing shimmering sunshine, brilliant blues, humidity all but visible.
And now it's deep in the night - a slice of moon cutting west, cool upon the land, the trains wailing clear; Texas at rest.
Dear, sweet Austin - I love her so.
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