Intervaled Insomnia

A dream was had,

In between

Bits and tads of sleep

Vu’ed Deja

At the age of

Aches

That should not

Be had.

 

Mad?

I used to get

(And still)

 

Sad?

At times

Now always somewhere

But no such time for fret

 

Regret?

Inevitable, you see

When what once was

Becomes belief

Of what is wished

To still be.

Such sanctity defiled

For vile

Self deprecating assurance.

 

But this dream

(As this poem originally schemed)

Seemed to deem

Visions of you,

Above all else.

There was touch

Though ‘twas memory

To feel

How you

Once felt

Sweet,

And smooth,

And soft-

Or so such nocturnal visions

Pulled so taught.

 

Until waking

To the blinds of staggered light

For despite

All my tardy might

In my arms rests nothing,

Lies no one,

Not you,

The soul these arms

Used to know.

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Oh Captain! My Captain, Goes Down with the Ship

“Reality: What a concept!” – Robin Williams

I didn’t know him more than most of us ever did.

I knew him from the screens from which I would watch him as a kid. I watched him as I grew into a man. A boyish man, but a man just the same. I idolized him. I am a comedian, though currently in a slump of performing. I am a comedian, among other things, as he was. Robin Williams inspired me for as long as I can remember. He made me laugh like no one else did when I was a kid. He was Mrs. Doubtfire, John Keating, Rainbow Randolph, Patch Adams and Peter Banning, to name a few, and yet so many other things. He had a fire that no one could compare to and that no one ever will. But fires that burn hot, will burn out faster.

Although I’ve never seen Robin in the flesh, I have seen some go by their own means in the flesh. I’ve watched the last moments drip from a soul who chose themselves their means of exit.

It is ugly.

To say it is sad would rob it of the true tragedy that occurs when it happens. I’ve seen the ripple of hurt it causes. I’ve felt it. To blame myself, most would say, is too much. But I’m a comedian. Too much is what we do. It is our burden to bear so that joy, if only for a moment, could be had by others. Our friends, our families and our lovers and more. Yet the better you get at it, the more you end up doing it for strangers. They come out to see you. They pay money to give you a shot to take away their own pain, if only for an hour or so. Yet any thanks you give them, any thunder of applause or roar of laughter will not be enough. It doesn’t last, you see.

To say that I knew his pain would be grossly incorrect. But I do know my own pain and I do know my own moderate success and how fleeting it can feel as it goes. Some nights, after a show, the feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment can fall from you faster than anything you’ve ever known. When the theater empties and they all go off into the night, it is only you and those thoughts, dark as they might be. Those thoughts that first propelled you to the stage, that threw you in front of that microphone to pour your own tragedy that you’ve twisted into entertainment. That you’ve twisted into art.

Now, let me say this. We are all part of the problem. We will get sad because a man who made us all laugh not only died, but decided to do so by his own hand. Yet, we (and I include myself) do almost nothing to make this world that so many, big and small are opting out of, any kind of better. All over the web people recall the laughter and warm feelings that a man on the the stage and screen had brought us. Yet we sit on our hands about fixing any of it.

If he thought the world was worth staying in, Mr. Williams probably would have stayed in it. You cannot say he did not try to do his part with whatever he had at his disposal. He did, and although I cannot say for sure, I will be so bold to take the guess that he felt as though he had failed. Whether he thought he failed himself or something larger does not matter. In the end, he felt and believed so strongly, that he failed. Our laughter fades and sooner or later, we’re back to our pettiness.

And trust me, pettiness is the privilege of those of you who can read this without a translation. Because outside of that spectrum, is suffering that we cannot imagine. Even if you see the pictures and stay slightly tuned to the news, you do not understand. WE, do not understand. We don’t live in a war zone. We concern ourselves with what we are going to eat today, not if we will. We have water that we waste flushing down the drain every time we take a piss. We don’t die by the hundreds from disease, or famine, or war.

No. Not us. We die from getting too fat. We die from getting old or taking too many pills that were supposed to make us happy. We die from smoking, or drinking, or drugs, or driving faster than we should. Rockets don’t bother us in our schools, our homes, our hospitals. Viruses don’t rip through our villages and towns. Religious maniacs don’t trap us on mountain tops to wither and die, or line us up in a row to be torn down by bullets and bombs. We die from gluttony much more often than from true tragedy.

I’m not naïve enough to think these words I’ve typed up will make anything that much better. I’m also not naïve enough to think that pouring a bucket of water over my head will cure a disease. A few dollars might help it along the way but it is the person losing sleep in some laboratory that will ultimately fix the problem. He or she, of course, will not get that much credit. After all, it is Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the dime, not Albert Sabin.

I don’t mean to guilt everyone though, at least not more than I mean to guilt myself. For even though I’m saddened by his loss, Zelda and Cody and Zachary are more upset than we’ll ever be about it. We can’t understand the way they do. We all idolized him, but to them, he was real. He was Dad. And what do you do when Dad gives up? I know I can’t say.

I’m lucky. My father hasn’t given up, even with all the hurt he’s seen. The least I can do for him, and Robin, and all the rest of you apes, is take what ever skills I’ve got and make a better world out of it. That’s what he did for me, some sad punk kid he’d never met and never will. My only hope, is that I can do just a little bit more for those who come after me.

Stringing Sayings

Words can trickle,
Be fickle,
And cause pain.
Toss blame
Bring shame

Claims humans make
Promises break
Hearts shake
And quiver
And shatter

Hands can sew tatters
And touch skin
But words can go within
Without doubt
Or with it.

(In fits of rage)
Remorse
And passion
Make bedmates
Of a fashion
That timid souls
Cannot bear
Or cannot see
If that’s how
We choose to be

Be see
And hark!
Now listen to me
Yes you,
Thee.

For the words
Can wander
And meander
But no slander
Shall fall from beyond my teeth
For when I speak
I mean to say
Thoughts I’ve buried
Tried to make dead
Inside this head
This skull
(This soul)
Owes all to you
And will
Until this body,
An organic space ship,
Withers
And wanes
And grows old

Or so goes the story
These words have told

Sunday Morning Thoughts: 8.3.14

A great man died not too long ago. They cooked him up and put what was left in a box with a big picture of what he looked like when he was so full of life. Humans have some strange traditions. This happened yesterday.

The box and the picture rested before a pious stage, in front of hundreds of humans who’d come to say goodbye. His wife and children were right up front. Off to the side sat and stood over one hundred men in the uniform that the great man in the box once wore. A uniform that I myself might be wearing soon, as my father did for most of his life.

But that great man is now a dead man. Many would say that great men die every day, and maybe they do. I just never knew all those other ones. I knew this one, though he probably wouldn’t even recognize me today. I was just a kid when I met him and haven’t seen him for years. I had hardly heard about him getting sick but it happened just the same. It went quickly. Poison, you see, that he got helping to clean out that pile of rubble that killed so many over a decade ago. If you’ve been paying attention, you’d know that stuff has still been killing people years since those buildings collapsed.

This great man was not even the only one I’ve know in my life to be killed by the rubble, in one way or another.

But to us living, the death of a man such as this begs questions. In fact, it demands certain questions about our lives and our legacies. After having been to a few such events this year, I’ve run myself through the ringer of what all this life business means. It’s sad for me to admit, but I’ve been going about parts of it all the wrong way. Perhaps the greatest issue I’ve found myself falling into is wishing I could go back to change something. Now I’m sure you’re thinking, “well Brian, doesn’t everyone wish that they could go back to fix something, or stop themselves or someone else from doing something?”

And I would have to tell you that you are right. Even among the greatest of men and women, I don’t believe a single one lived a life without the tiniest regret. But my particular issue has to do particularly with me and this inability I have had to see the present because I’m too stuck on something behind me. It was such a perspective that plagued me until quite recently and although I keep wishing I could go back, I know it would be for naught.

But cheer up gang, I’m not here to be grim because that is not how I choose to deal with such business anymore. I was brought up to deal with death through celebrating life, so that’s what I do. And after years of conditioning myself otherwise, I have broken that whole deal about wishing for the past. Although I’m not quite a perfect practitioner, I am certainly putting forth all the effort I can muster away from wasting time and wishing away the present and future for what has already been.

Does that mean things I used to have will be gone forever? No, it does not. Or at least I believe. We can’t go back, this much I know is true. But we can go forward and anything in the future is possible, or at least the dream of it is.

I have regret, trust me, I do. I used to be ruled by my regret. Yet, I’m too young of a man to let that go on any longer. Sure, happiness is an abstract concept and based totally on conditions but that in no way makes it so far-fetched that it’s out of reach. It’s only out of reach if you make it out of reach. I don’t want to do that anymore. I’ve played that card and it holds nothing but emptiness. Great men do not stand in the way of their own happiness. I want to be a great man. I have to be, as I was told many a time yesterday by all those men in uniform, I have very big shoes to fill when my turn comes. And here it is, comin’ around the bend.