atlanta illinois is a real place and people live there
south st. louis
you know when you call a friend but their significant other answers their phone? sometimes it’s fine; you didn’t call them but whatever. other times it’s like wtf
we’ve been friends through a lot of significant others. whenever i’m in town we find ourselves on the inside of laughs and mischief. in fact the first draft of this was reminisces of our battles on convention but they doesn’t make sense here. none of this does
friday morning i call. her partner answers her phone, he’s crying and that’s it. a different kind of wtf. the three of us saw each other the week before; looking back she seemed less like herself… the underground stage of RTS
her viewing is my first viewing, i’ve never seen a body all made up the way they do. up-close, it’s a lot. the funeral home is full and everyone is sad. people cry. some of the girls scream. everyone’s dressed in their best blacks (a normal color choice for her mourners on any day). it’s uncomfortably somber. i think: this is not the funeral the girl i knew would want – the girl i knew would want a bacchanalia. no clothes allowed. i say that to the girls and they laugh, if only for a moment. it’s true, though you may not know it without the reminisces of the first draft.
her father gives a sullen speech. it’s short. he pauses then tells everyone the ceremony is over. and that’s it: friendship’s over
this was difficult to write about, especially at the time
it’s backdated with the gift of hindsight. thanks hindsight
one foot in front of the other. i start with 10 minutes of exercise. im out of shape and constantly checking my pulse. i got fat. not super-fat but fat enough – fat enough that in my ultramarathon of over-thinking my beating heart means “heart attack”. i haven’t moved like this in years, outside of a dance floor anyway. i stick with it and grow with it. a daily routine. my blood flows; i exit stasis
i need more and find meditation impossible with the whole over-thinking ultramarathon thing, i start my yoga practice. my first classes suck: the misery of being lost in a matted sea of others with no idea where we’re at or what we’re doing and i can’t stop thinking: how much longer is this class. this person next to me… wtf. wtf. wahhh my ego. then class is over and i feel satisfaction in its completion. the next day i show back up for the same fight. and the next day and the next and the next and the next. i start understanding the physical: the flows. the poses. the breath. i stretch a little further than before and for brief moments it’s as if time stops and i think of nothing – which is everything
the second month of my practice my studio holds a month-long challenge: do yoga everyday. i stop counting classes after sixty – im figuring out the breath and feeling the connection of the mind and the body; what yoga’s really about. my mood lifts and life is becoming better / more magical: serendipitous, synchronicitous, calml
before the first footing i was an ultramarathon of over-thinking. depressed. near the bottom – in the darkness. some time ago i soared the skies of possibility. i was up: a glimpse of love, purpose, spirit but now nothing. it was a year since up and my ego wouldn’t surrender; the only part of me staying in a fight: a useless fight over tough decisions i know were already decided. finally, i let go. the walls, which were keeping me from starting over, crumble. at last in pieces. i build again. first one foot
everything [this site, this journey] has led me to this point – i understand that what i was doing took me to this rebirth. i had a vision of what’s possible when i was up, but have to do the work to get there. infinite paths infinite times would still lead to this: life’s boot camp and it takes as long as it takes. yada yada yada im a phoenix
not everyone knows what it’s like to soar the sky. to travel. to be. to feel. heights so high there are no higher. to see all. to feel all. to be all. and thankfully not everyone knows how deep the depths can get. where light is blocked by the walls of the abyss. where the abyss becomes everything. where everything is nothing.
the highs make the depths ever deeper and the depths make the highs ever sweeter. especially when looking at light after so long in darkness. the short-term key is to stay self-aware; to not travel from one extreme to the other too quickly, too swiftly – doing so will always lead to anxiety, paranoia, fear…one must find balance. the long-term goal is to keep soaring without looking down, growing ever higher with each lesson learned…until it’s real
this phoenix thing only works if one works to stay a phoenix. if not, it’s back to the ashes. back to the abyss…until that one foot. at the time of this writing, im a phoenix and im working hard to stay a phoenix, but this is life and one day in this life i may run this emotional saṃsāra again – but with a set of tools more powerful than any i’ve had before
national mall, wdc
after europe, returning home to explore america’s capital for the first time was surreal. it felt like walking through a life-sized model. was it even real or had the idea of what it’s “supposed to be” become the reality of what it is? (isn’t this the case for all things?) even after liberating itself from colonization, our founding fathers saw this nation as the new roman republic – i always knew this but seeing it in person was something else entirely. i walked the museums of the national mall to see our artifacts and treasures with my own eyes, though through a layer of gloss so american the experience felt more more like an amusement park than a history lesson. yet somewhere under said gloss, through the bullet-proof glass, and beyond the interactive buttons, one can see a glimmer of light still shining from the enlightenment… before a guard asks for identification anyway.
there is no auntie ann’s at the national mall | pointing at the white house and asking others what it is is fun | there are no guns allowed at the lincoln memorial | the national galleries of art have signs reading “do not touch the art” obviously because people were touching the art enough to necessitate the signs | dc metro trains are beat up and ugly. our visiting dignitaries ride above ground in limousines with police escorts and don’t have to see the real shit | asians sleep in museums | monica lewinsky’s dress is not part of the smithsonian’s permanent collection
special thanks to lindsay and max for the incredible hospitality
listening to bjm’s and this is our music (2003)