At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Monday, December 29, 2008

Drunken Stupor

If one were to do a Google search for images entitled “drunk” one would find almost ten million images (I will leave it to others to judge the societal value of that). At any rate, I guess I’m not alone (is that a good thing?).

My Christmas was an extended and poignant good-bye. If one must say good-bye to dreams and hopes and faith and trust...well...
Christmas is a pretty good venue for that. For, you see, Christmas is nothing if not the embodiment of hope. No matter how fearsome the pain, there is something in the air on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that, somehow, stanches the bleeding...if only for a little while.

Perhaps I’ve faced just one good-bye too many. The last few years have been a most sorrowful litany of good-byes. Is there a limit? Just how much can one heart take? I don’t know, but I think I’ve skated perilously close to the edge. I cried on Wednesday. I cried Thursday. On Friday, I bought a fifth of rum. I started drinking. I bought another fifth on Saturday. And I kept drinking.

I fell into a drunken honest-to-god-I can’t-walk kinda stupor that I haven’t experienced in decades. There are consequences, of course. No, no, I didn’t drive. I didn’t venture forth into the world to wreak havoc and mayhem on innocent bystanders.
I merely drank until my eyes grew blood-shot and bleary, until I wobbled and stumbled in an alcoholic daze and, somehow, managed to crush my eye-glasses beneath clumsy feet.

No matter. It takes a whole lot to kill heartache. I haven’t drunk nearly enough.

And so, 2008 draws to an end. It has not been an easy year. I intend to numb myself to the pain still percolating within these last remaining days. This was not the healing year I had hoped it would be. To the contrary, it was a year of broken promises and abject destruction. A year of sighs and sorrows. I’ll buy another fifth tomorrow...and the day after. I’ll do what I must to quell my brain and numb my heart because...because...there’s only so much one can experience and endure.

Come Thursday, a new year will commence. I can’t say as I like the “feel” of the number 2009, but it’ll have to do. It’ll be a new year. Another chance at salvation, redemption and healing.

I’m gonna flounder my way through the waning days of this misbegotten year. I’m gonna explore the far reaches of the place called Oblivion in the hours left of this singular circumnavigation of the Sun. And then it will be done. Finished.

My eyes have been shuttered too long. My legs have been shackled too tightly.

No more. No longer. No way.

* * *

* * *

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lovers' Conversation

If Love is to have even half a chance of surviving (I’m too battered to add “and thriving”), it helps to learn early how to converse properly.

The truest of conversations are not “polite.” There’s little need for decorum in light of what’s to come. Conversations of consequence are about truths and truths come raw and frightful. Truths are warty, bloody, messy, often unpleasant but... always...blessed things. Difficult to bare and behold. Truths can hurt. Best they be not revealed in anger but in sorrow, knowing that blood and tears and bitter gall will flow. Be prepared to offer aid and comfort. True conversations eddy and swirl in a maelstrom of emotion punctuated by tears, caresses, sighs, lightning bolts, kisses, laughter and purrs.
In no particular order.

Any conversation worth the effort requires effort. Hearts must be willing to reveal, to suffer the listen and strive for understanding. Hardest of all, the hearts must empathize...must feel. Tears will fall as they must when they must and must be treated with respect. Pain shared. It’s no easy matter to face the pain another’s pain elicits.

Lock yourselves in a room with sufficient food and water. Shutter the windows against anger. Let it flash, if it must, as lightning in a bottle, never forgetting it’s grounded in pain. Better to reveal/experience the pain. Given that, it’s best to talk in bed. It may feel like a bed of nails at times. So be it. Lie in that bed together and hold each other close.

Through it all...through all and above all...fiercely love each other.

And if the conversation proves worth the while, it will have changed you. It will leave you pondering for a good long while. A lifetime, perhaps.

* * *

Should it come to pass...after the long night, the tears, trials and tribulations...that needs exist that can neither be denied nor satisfied by the most earnest of hearts...then may those broken hearts bid each other good-bye with tenderness and charity, with all the passion and mercy each can muster for the heart that deserves no less.

* * *

The Atheist Christmas Carol

It's the season of grace coming out of the void
Where a man is saved by a voice in the distance
It's the season of possible miracle cures
Where hope is currency and death is not the last unknown
Where time begins to fade
And age is welcome home

It's the season of eyes meeting over the noise
And holding fast with sharp realization
It's the season of cold making warmth a divine intervention
You are safe here you know now

Don't forget
Don't forget I love
I love
I love you

Don't forget
Don't forget I love
I love
I love you

It's the season of scars and of wounds in the heart
Of feeling the full weight of our burdens
It's the season of bowing our heads in the wind
And knowing we are not alone in fear
Not alone in the dark

Don't forget
Don't forget I love
I love
I love you

Don't forget
Don't forget I love
I love
I love you

Don't forget
Don't forget I love
I love
I love you

Don't forget
Don't forget I love
I love
I love you...

Vienna Teng

* * *

My fondest hope and most fervent prayer for you, Dear Reader, is that you came to experience, in some way, the grace of Christmas.

* * *

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Can't Go Back Now

My favorite tune-pusher, Krista, had this song playing on her blog.
It stopped me in my tracks...made me catch my breath.

Yesterday when you were young
Everything you needed done was done for you
Now you do it on your own
But you find you're all alone, what can you do?

You and me walk on, walk on, walk on
'Cause you can't go back now

You know there will be days
When you're so tired
That you can't take another step
The night will have no stars
And you'll think you've gone as far
As you will ever get

You and me walk on, walk on, walk on
'Cause you can't go back now

And yeah, yeah, go where you want to go
Yeah, yeah, be what you want to be
If you ever turn around, you'll see me

I can't really say
Why everybody wishes they were somewhere else
But in the end, the only steps that matter
Are the ones you take all by yourself

And you and me walk on, walk on, walk on
Yeah, you and me walk on, walk on, walk on
'Cause you can't go back now
Walk on, walk on, walk on
You can't go back now

The Weepies
* * *

I can relate.

My night has lost its stars.

* * *

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I have my preferences. I suppose we all do. Here’s a partial list of mine:

Education over ignorance
Science over superstition
Butter over guns
Red wines over white (except Gewürztraminers)
Romance over realism
Romance over lust
Full bellies over hunger
Shared prosperity over poverty
Diamonds over rust
Pearls over dust
Black lingerie over white
Happiness over sorrow
Labor over lassitude
Gratitude over envy
Fact over fiction
Diplomacy over destruction
Idealism over cynicism
Hammond B3 over Farfisa
Wisdom over charisma
Poetry over prose
Peace over war
Blues over Ragtime
Happiness over woe
Charity over condemnation
Laughter over tears
Music over Muzak
Natural over synthetic
Sweat over blood
Joy over sorrow
Discussion over diatribe
Zydeco over chamber-music
Sighs over screams
Piety over platitudes
Cookies over fish-sticks
Mystery over machines
Motorcycles over SUV's
Civility over rancor
Love over hate
Stilettos over galoshes (indoor applications only)
Kindness over disdain
Denim over silk
Nudity over formal wear
Right over might
Curiosity over certitude
Freedom over incarceration
Love over hate
Honey over "high fructose corn syrup"
Honesty over deception
Courage over cowardice
Pies over cakes

The thing is...I consider all of these “no-brainers.” Why is it that we, as a species, so often choose the poorer alternative?

Just askin’

* * *

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Watershed Moment" Defined

I’ve come to the end of my tether. I have. I swear I get about half a dozen hits a day on my blog from people searching for a definition of the “watershed moment.” Now, I don’t fault the seekers and the searchers. I did, after all, post an entry about “watershed moments.”

I think it’s a sense of guilt that propels me to (once and for all) define a “watershed moment.” I hate to think that people venture here only to come away disappointed.


It helps to be a hydrologist or hydrogeologist when discussing watersheds. (Handy Tip: “Water runs downhill”). The term “watershed moment” is born of a hydrological notion: that a drop of rain falling on a mountain ridge may teeter for a millisecond before cascading down one side of the mountain or the other. East or West? North or South? The direction makes all the difference. Say you’re the “raindrop” (oh, yeah, watershed moments are ALL about momentous decisions). You’re the raindrop and you fall on the peak of a mountain ridge. What to do? What to do? The watershed on one side is tumultuous and dangerous. Rivers rampage as rapids down steep valley gashes.

The opposite watershed is something quite opposite. Streams meander to an alpine lake. Raindrops finding their way there bask in liquid tranquility.

You’re the raindrop cascading towards a knife edge. Where to go?

Where to go?

* * *

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Killing the Athlete

I’m going to share a story.

It’s a true story...something I (and a few principal others) experienced some half-dozen years ago. The memory still haunts.

I was running on the indoor track at my community center sometime some early evening. The track is elevated, circumscribing the perimeter of the two full-size basketball courts below. Twelve laps to a mile. Today was “tryouts” for the public league teams. The aspirants faced a simple drill: dribble the length of the court and execute a lay-up. Retrieve the ball and dribble back to the other basket, stopping at the free-throw line to launch a two-pointer.

I wasn’t paying all that much attention to the goings-on. I tend to lose myself in my own breathing. Still, there were the excited cheers and shrieks of happy youth, proud parents and sundry friends to beguile me. Every now and then I’d cast an eye onto the court to follow some paddled-footed, grinning gnome as he did his best despite his youthful incompetence. I’d smile. Who wouldn’t? As my run progressed and the evening wore on, the tryouts continued for the older youth. I saw flashes of talent, dexterity and self-confidence. Yes. Testosterone is powerful stuff.

As I shuffled along my way, I spied a handsome youth at the start line. He was tall and black-haired. Features chiseled and deep-set. Dark eyes burning. He took the ball with a decided nonchalance.
A voice bellowed out: “Show ‘em how it’s done!” That bellow caught my attention. The youth burst into a masterful foray down the length of the court. You could see he was well-coached. You could see that he had practiced...and practiced...and practiced. I was impressed by his talent, humbled in the presence of his athletic grace. But, then, he missed the lay-up! A rookie mistake. His father’s voice careened in anger from every mortified reflective surface in the building:


A rage burst forth inside me. An unfamiliar emotion. I stopped in my tracks. Do I rush downstairs to find the slanderer and slap him seven-ways to Sunday!?! I wanted to do EXACTLY that.

As I stood there, I saw the youth retrieve the ill-fated ball and begin a desultory journey to the opposite basket. There was no fire. No flair. Neither excellence nor elegance. He stopped well short of the free-throw line. He sauntered to the painted stripe and casually let loose a dismissive shot, a dispirited shot, an “air-ball” that reeked of surrender and hopelessness. His father bellowed additional pejoratives. I can’t remember his words.

All I remember is their cruelty...and my rage.

My rage had gone full boil. In an interval of mere seconds, I witnessed salted calumny heaped upon a tender soul. I saw a heart broken.
I saw talent surrender to shame beneath the crushing weight of a father’s diatribes.

I leaned over the upper deck railing and screamed:

(well...there’s no point in repeatin’ it ‘cause rage is ugly and I had fallen into a murderous rage).

* * *

Gratuitous Non-Sequitur:

* * *

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Through Time and Space

I’ve been fortunate (albeit in a bittersweet fashion). I’ve come to meet and know and love a number of truly magnificent women/human beings. Each was unique. Intelligent. Passionate. Caring. Each proved to be a challenging companion (the very best kind).

And yet...

We ultimately chose different paths. Left each other weeping.

How can this be? All the necessary attributes were present and accounted for, yet the outcomes were never guaranteed. I believe part of the answer lies in how we move through time and space.
So much depends on our “personal-velocity” the pace at which we live and love. “Timing is everything” one often hears. It is.

And it’s not even that we move at a fixed rate. In my youth, I hurtled through time and space at a ferocious clip. I worshipped speed and motorcycles. I was in a mad dash to experience life. At that rate of speed, I left a few companions in my dust.

My velocity nowadays is more akin to “stroll”. I’m as spent and beat up as my motorcycle. Tired. Faded. Rusted. Sputtering. I need to spend some quality time in a repair shop. My slow-movin’ ways left me to choke on a few others’ dust.

And so it goes...the saga of travel through time and space.

* * *

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