Tuesday, 28 April 2009

King of the Rain

I watched the rain
splash against the window of a moving train
and I think of you
and what all this
could possibly mean to me

I sit alone
trying to remember what
brought me to this moment in my life

I watch the rain
and wonder how I'll ever figure out
what to do next.

And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There but for the grace of you go I"

This little set of words just came to me as I sat in the subway today driving through the open area between Warden and VP and saw the windows covered with rain and all the leaves coming out on the trees and really it's a very pretty area, at least if you're facing North. It really drove home a point for me. It's already almost May and 1/3 of the year is gone and it's Spring and just...wow. Where does the time go? Honestly as much as I was tired of Winter, my lust for snow and ice sated again, I am still not really in a Springtime state of mind. Well, that's not completely true. Better to say that I am erratically in a Springtime state of mind. I've been moody and weird for the last two weeks and I am not really sure why. Since my first day at the beach, it's like my two different "selfs" are fighting for dominance in my brain. I hope the happy, sunny one wins but that's not always the way.

The past has been giving me all sorts of buried treasures lately. In many ways the person I feel I am trying to become right now is the person whom I deserted back in 2001....He's returned and I couldn't be happier about it. Not that I want to regress, but I feel that I need to reconnect to who I was then to know where I can go now. On the other hand, thinking of the past for the last few weeks has brought up a lot of old memories and feelings likely best left buried. I suppose I'll have to deal with them now, instead of suppressing them. Damn. Well, perhaps better late than never.

I find it strangely appropriate that I haven't felt like myself since almost the beginning of the decade, and that I am finally coming back at very nearly the end. What will the next 8 months bring? Time will tell.

Speaking of my first beach trip, here are the lyrics to the song I wrote that day:

i woke up this morning
my hands were bleeding

my lips were cracking
my throat was raw
i couldn't see you
i was all alone again

i woke up this morning and you were gone

i woke up this morning
i couldn't feel you

i couldn't seem to find the will to carry on
but the sun was shining
and I knew I needed
i woke up this morning to find you gone

so i spent all day sitting by the shore
spent all day
wondering what this life was for
if I didn't need you
any more

i woke up this morning
i was finally free
looking for answers
that i don't think i can see
when you can't see me

i woke up this morning and you were gone

Oddly, both this song and the poem at the beginning of this post have one thing in common. When I say "me" I am talking about myself. When I say "you" I am also talking about myself. OR I could be. It's a mystery. It's one interpretation.

See, even talking to myself I'm just a little confused right now.....

Sunday, 19 April 2009

On Another Sunday Morning in April

A shaft of sunlight fell across my
still dreaming face
and lay there
like a warm, caressing hand

I close my eyes to view
a suddenly red world of skin and blood
flowing, glowing
lit from without

and for a moment, I thought I saw you
that it was your hand so warm on my face
that it was your light shining so brightly on my interior world
lighting up my insides
making every pulse
every heart-beat

For just a moment, I thought it was you at last.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Heavier Than Heaven

So I've been contemplating suicide recently....

Nobody panic. It's not like that, not for myself. I would never do away with myself. I've got too much interest in what happens next. Plus I've seen first-hand the crushing emotional backlash the people left behind have to deal with. Couldn't do it, so don't worry.

Won't say I haven't thought about it though. I think everyone born in my generation has considered it once or twice at least. Probably they think of it in every generation, but I haven't really discussed it with anyone born earlier than 1970.

Anyhow, what I should say is that I have been contemplating the idea of suicide in general lately, but of course my opening sentence has a much nicer kick to it, don't you think? There are actually several reasons the subject has been on my mind. The first is that I just recently finished reading a biography of Kurt Cobain entitled "Heavier Than Heaven." Great book, very interesting read. I haven't researched it much to see if it is completely accurate but whether it is or not, it is definitely worth reading.

Now, Kurt Cobain killed himself. Man, that screwed up a lot of people. I remember living through all the angst-ridden teenagers depressed about his suicide. I actually didn't even care at the time. Wasn't a big Nirvana fan when Kurt was actually alive. Sure, I had a few albums I'd dubbed off of my friend's CDs, but I wasn't huge into it. Later on, maybe 3 or 4 years after the fact, suddenly I started listening to Nirvana constantly, and they became one of my favourite bands for years. I know, I missed the boat on that one...

The main thing I remember about the night Kurt blew his head off is that I got into a huge fight with my dad. I was 17 at the time and was at my girlfriend's house with several friends. We'd rented some movies and were just hanging out drinking a bit when we started watching the MuchMusic news and heard about the suicide. Saw Courtney reading the suicide note. All very interesting with a lovely "morbid fascination" vibe that we all got off on. None of us were crying buckets about his death, though. In the middle of this, the phone rings and shockingly, it is my dad calling. I take the phone into my girlfriend's bedroom and my father and I proceed to get into a huge shouting match on the phone. Apparently I was to come straight home because Kurt Cobain had shot himself and I owned some of his albums so now I might also commit myself to an early grave. As if. I was so mad about this call that I was literally yelling into the phone, but of course, in the end, being a still-dutiful son (for a few more months, but we'll get into that another time) I returned home to bum away my night in my room being depressed. Honestly, just the effect my parents were worried about..instead of having fun with my friends I moped about by myself. A self fulfilling prophecy on their part.

Interesting side note on this story....My girlfriend's brother walked by her bedroom while I was on the phone and pretty much figured that we were in the middle of a messy break-up, due to all of the yelling. Imagine his surprise when he walked into the living room and saw her sitting there still. Who was Mike shouting at? It apparently blew his mind a bit.

So getting back to the book, "Heavier Than Heaven" was an excellent read because finally you get to learn something more about the man and maybe glimpse why he did what he did. It was hard to know Kurt through his music and interviews and such...he was a larger than life figure and lied about a lot of things to the press. And of course his lyrics were purposely vague and muddled....very artistically written but hard to garner much information from without knowing some back story. Perhaps that is what made them so universal and beloved. Who can say?

My favourite part about the whole story was the love between Kurt and Courtney. Granted, very untraditional, but there was a real relationship there and some ideas that I'd love to implement in any future relationships I might one day have. For example, the two of them took turns reading each other to sleep at nights...I would LOVE this. They also both seemed completely enchanted with their daughter. Both would give anything for her and it seems like Kurt really gave his life for her in the end. A life-long self-loathing and self-abusing person, with deep abandonment issues, poor Kurt decided that his life was wretched due to his increasingly bad stomach pains and his junkie ways, and that his daughter would be better off without him. A stupid, stupid conclusion, but I think that's why he did it. Trying to make the world a better place for his daughter by removing himself from it. Sigh.

Well, read the book if you get a chance. You'll learn a lot. I laughed, I cried, I got far less sleep than I should. I was even inspired to borrow some of Kurt's writing technique for my most recent effort.

Kurt's death isn't the only factor in my recent contemplation of suicide. A few days after I finished reading the book, I discovered that a co-worker of mine had hit a 17 year old boy with a subway train. The kid had a suicide note in his pocket and had decided that death by subway train was preferable to living in a world where his girlfriend had broken up with him, apparently. Sad. At 17, to give it all up like that? Wow. It shook me as well since the subway driver was a guy I worked with for at least 12 weeks and I could just as easily have been driving that train. People don't think about who they might affect when they jump in front of a train like that....but then I guess by the time you are committed to suicide you are in such a selfish place that you wouldn't care any more. Still, it's not a good time. I don't want to see your head turn into hamburger in front of my eyes....go kill yourself somewhere private, asshole. Or better yet, grow some balls and live!

Anyway, that didn't really truly get to me either. It simply made me stop and go "hmmmmmm." The thing that really drove me into deep thought about this topic happened yesterday afternoon. I was driving my train over the Bloor Viaduct (for you non-Torontonians that's a big bridge over a valley). Just minding my own business, going about my day as per usual. Suddenly, about 150m in front of me right in the middle of the bridge I see a person.

"I don't remember seeing a blue light for track patrol on the bridge," I thought to myself.

I slowed the train and blew the horn and waited for the appropriate flashlight or flag signals from the person at track level to tell me to proceed. These signals did not come. Instead, the person started walking towards me. Having not received the appropriate signals I brought the train to a stop and waited, opening my driver's window to look out at this guy. He was quite close to me when I realized that he did not have any of the appropriate gear and that his hoodie was only half pulled on, leaving one arm hanging at a strange angle. Clearly, this was not an employee, but rather an "unauthorized person at track level."

I watched the man approach through my window, looking at details so I could make a description. White guy, average height, skinny, glasses, right arm not in his hoodie and hanging oddly, black baseball cap, left hand cut and bleeding. I stuck my head out the window and strangely I thought for a second that I knew this man. There was a strange feeling of kinship here. I spoke to him, but I didn't yell or use my "Driver Authority Voice" as I normally would. I just looked at this person and asked, "Hey what are you doing down here?" as calmly as I might ask a friend I wasn't expecting to see.

He looked up at me with one of the most haunted gazes I have seen in my life. Glassy eyes, tears that have yet to fall. A look that seemed alien but one that I could relate to as all-too-human and all-too-familiar. I guess it's a look that is hiding somewhere inside all of us. This is why I felt I knew him. In a way it was like gazing in a mirror.

"I couldn't do it." was all he said. I was held in his gaze and couldn't respond until he looked away and walked past my window. There was no doubt to what he meant.

"Well, that's good," I replied. But I was quiet and I doubt he heard me. He had already passed, receding off the bridge and into the darkness of the tunnel, vanishing from sight.

I of course called transit control and they shut down power and made sure an ambulance was there when the man emerged into Castle Frank subway station. I guess I saved him from being electrocuted or hit by a train at least. He had dislocated his shoulder and the ambulance people dealt with that as well. I wish I could have done more.

"I couldn't do it."

I'm glad, sir. Somehow I doubt you'll ever read this, but if you do....I feel for you. I hope you get the help you need and deserve. I'm sure you have your reasons for almost doing it, but just know, you're not alone.

So that is why I have been contemplating suicide lately. "Heavier than heaven" indeed.....

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Recovering the satellites...

so I'm here waiting for plans to form and I decided to blog and I have two different things I want to blog about but instead of either of them I just stood on the balconey and looked out at my ever-changing view.

the moon is almost perfectly full tonight and it's reflecting on the lake like some kind of dream. The tiniest ripples cascade the circle of the moon into a billion points of silver and it's so beautiful I think I might just cry.

It's erased all the thought from my mind and all I want to do is stare at it out the computer window. How can this world be so bleak and grey one moment and so fantastical the next? I don't understand existence at all. What can all of this mean? If the medium is the message than what is the world trying to say?

Am I a throw-back? How come I can stare for hours at such a sight when so many people shrug and blow it off? I know, it'll be back tomorrow and every month for my entire life, but is continuity any reason for a lack of amazement? Am I the only person who sees this? Did television and the internet and the clog of a trillion electric lights remove any sense of amazement we as a species can find in natural light and natural beauty?

Perhaps I am just obsessed with water and light. Perhaps I must stop to consider that maybe the problem is me.

I can't get over how wondrous that view is. I'll appreciate it all alone if I must.

She sees shooting stars and comet tails
She's got heaven in her eyes
She says I don't need to be an angel

But I'm nothing if I'm not this high

But we only stay in orbit

For a moment of time "

Sunday, 5 April 2009

stream of consciousness has it's revenge!

I am poison wrapped in skin
alcohol phenomenon
taste the sweetness of my sin

make you feel the way I do
reluctant martyr speaking true
will be a martyr just for you

prison sentence got off light
where to find the will to fight
all my will's tied up in insight

tell me what this life is for
lay me down on mud-drenched floor
bury me behind closed doors

kill me sweetly deep blue eyes
looks to burn and paralyse
free me from my bleak disguise

show me love and blooming trees
show me heaven; on our knees
kneeling to our fantasies

illusion makes me want to cry
it never seems in short supply
on naked thought I strive to spy

i'll make you my reluctant muse
sharing moon-drenched clouded views
hand in hand we'll be abused

what am I but dust and skin
trying hard to let you in
without the knowledge to begin


i love you
i want you
i need you
cannot find the words to say
i need you
i want you
i love you
befriend the words to my clich

in a thousand years it never matters anyway

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Excerpts from the Beach

So I woke up this morning in a very contemplative mood and looked out the window and saw the sunshine and knew that today was the day. I had to go to my beach and reclaim my lost self, or at least ponder existence for a few hours. So I packed up my acoustic guitar, my iPod, a biography of Kurt Cobain, a bottle of rye and diet and a brand new, untouched notebook and off I went. It was great. I wrote a huge journal and I wrote a new song. Some of this writing I thought might be worth sharing so as i sit here and listen to Leonard Cohen and sip bourbon, I'll type out a few excerpts from the journal (possibly edited for clarity or artistic license):

"Here I am at the beach....once again looking for answers.

What draws me to this place time and again? I was thinking about this as I took my tightrope walk (where the ocean meets the land) once more.
I think it's several things.

First, I love that all four elements come together in such a powerful and natural way, uncontrived and obvious - unmistakable. The force behind this soothes me....I can listen to the waves, feel the wind in my hair and experience the sand and rocks under my feet, the sun beaming down from heaven, now a caress, by and by a hammer's fall. I am molded into a new entity as I step along the edge of the world. Or perhaps I am just returned to myself. The ultimate reset button.

That brings me to the second reason i love the beach...the many possibilities for metaphor. As I walk along I feel I walk the edge - between the known and the unknown, the past and the future, life and whatever comes next. I can look out on eternity...
To gaze at something so much bigger than me, than us, than all of us - older than civilization, older than time, unknowable and uncontrollable...the seas had to part to reveal the land....i can't help but love the seductive combination of serenity and chaos that is as deep as a soul and just as unfathomable.

The lake IS seductive...powerful and sexy and with a strength I don't understand. I can relate to the siren's song, even if I don't know how to answer it's call. Mysterious. "

There is a lot more to the journal, but you get the idea...once I finished my writing I smoked a cigarette and pulled out the guitar...nothing like playing with the sound of waves crashing on rocks as percussion....I almost immediately started playing a new riff and the next thing I knew I had a song. I haven't decided yet if it's a good song, but it was just what I needed to do today. I am finally feeling like myself again, after all these years...perhaps for the first time since 2002 I feel like I am becoming me again...maybe it's just a trickle of water inside me right now, but I feel the water rising, and soon the dam might just burst. If you're standing near me, you may be splashed....we can only hope

the little boy that sits on the mountain with his cowboy hat is me. He's still there inside after all....i was worried he was gone for good....