Monday, December 23, 2013

Nothing to hold onto but us

She and I would often turn to each other when the loneliness in our heads and our hearts became too much for us to bear. Armed with a couple of six packs and an eight ball, we decided we'd escape Christmas Eve together.

We went out to a dive bar in my neighborhood on the Upper Westside. A few other lost souls were there trying to do their best to remember to forget. In between beers and trips to the bathroom, we sat and talked about our dreams -- the ones that had gone unfulfilled and the ones we'd turned our backs on. 

We were there to rescue each other from ourselves for a few hours. After drinking and snorting our way to oblivion we went back to my place and had sex the way only the truly detached can. We did our best to please ourselves and occasionally acknowledged the other one on top or bottom. Then we passed out. I didn't go to sleep in those days. I passed out and came to. 

The next morning we did sober what we did drunk. Then we went to the Broadway Diner for breafast. It's a little greasy spoon on Broadway and 101st that somehow survives. We ate breakfast and talked about how the next year would be different. We probably knew it wouldn't but it always felt good to look ahead, especially because there wasn't much to look back on.

That night was almost a decade ago. My days of running to a bottle or a baggie to escape myself are long gone. I'm not some saint now. I'm still struggling in many ways and always will be. The only difference is now I'm more conscious and accepting of it. I'm six garbage cans and five lids. I still don't think I'm lovable or worth love, but I don't quite hate myself so much. The end I had written for myself isn't in the cards right now and I'm good with that.

I realize this isn't exactly a feel good Christmas Eve story. Still, I have nothing but fond memories of that night. 

Just two lost people clinging to each other because there was nothing else to hold on to.

** Loyal readers (there are three of you) may recognize that I've written on this night before. I guess it stays with me).  Here is a link to an earlier take on that night that is a tad more descriptive.

Friday, December 20, 2013


I've got a stack of books by my bed. A pile of DVDs in front of the TV. A Netflix subscription and iTunes.

And yet if I did nothing but watch Seinfeld reruns for the next week, I'd be happy. 

Prison Break

I'm sitting here listening to Stevie Nicks singing Landslide. It makes me sad. That's OK. I want to feel right now. I want to feel sad. I want to feel tears falling down my face. I want to think about sad things.

It's OK to do that. It's OK to feel grief. It beats trying not to feel at all. I've done that way too long. It served me well once. It protected me for many years. But no more. My protection has become my prison.

And I need to break out.


I have plans for Christmas Day.
That means no one has to worry about me on Christmas Eve
Because I hate breaking plans.


Looking for the next one to run from
Searching for someone to love
All that's bad inside me
So I can chase them away
Come closer
You must know I won't stay
Be nice to me
And I'll find a reason to push back
Treat me well
And I'll take you to hell

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Shadow Break Me

I was going to try to write a poem, but you know what? Fuck it. Enough with the using poetry to try to make you figure out what's going on. I'll just say it.

The anniversary of my mother's death is creeping up on me. She died in February, but it was January that she went into the hospital. It was actually the day after my birthday that she was found collapsed on the floor of her apartment. We sent someone in to check on her after she didn't call me on my birthday.

I knew something was wrong when she didn't call. I called and left messages. I also tried to persuade my brothers to check on her that day, but they waited until the next day. I'm a little mad about that although I don't think in the end it made much of a difference.

Anyway, after she was found, she went to the hospital. I rushed home. The first week was rough. Then she got a little better and I returned to LA. I wanted to come back again but my brother thought she was showing signs of improvement and suggested I wait. A few days I got a call saying I better come back now.

I'm mad about that too although I'm more mad at myself for that one. I could have and should have come back. Actually, I never should have left. I was there for two of the three weeks she was in the hospital but alas the week where she was most talkative and in good spirits I wasn't there.

When I did return that Saturday night, she was fading. She knew I was there and I think she also knew that the clock was running out. She entered the unconscious world on Tuesday (I think) and was dead by Thursday -- Valentine's Day.

So yes, my birthday and Valentine's Day will now be memories of my mom's death.

That's OK, I was never too fond of either of those days.

I didn't really get to say goodbye. Does anyone? I know in movies and books there are those beautiful moments where one says goodbye to a loved one. I'm sure it happens in real life but not this time.

And that's on me. I could have said something or sought some closure but I went into shutdown mode. I had to, it's what my mom taught me.

She once wrote in a letter to me:

“By the time I was three or four I knew never to cry about anything, including pain. I’m not trying to arouse sympathy; I’m trying to explain why I must have seemed remote and detached (probably still do) to all of you. It was a survival technique, that’s all, and once mastered it’s difficult to shed.” 

Indeed it is.

But the shadow may break me yet. God I hope so.

Deep Thoughts

When I first watched the movie "Sideways" in 2004, I thought it was a compelling story of two men at  a crossroads in their lives looking for answers.

Almost a decade and eight sober years later, I realize it's actually just a move about a couple of drunks on a road trip.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Loose Thread

Sooner or later we will cross paths
Can't keep avoiding the inevitable
Missed each so far, but that won't last
Honey would it really be so terrible?

Don't know why you turned on me like you did
Never saw it coming, and it's still got me on the ground
But I really just want to get that moment over with
Because otherwise I'll just keep going round and round

Can't keep replaying every day in my head
Just keeps me away from what's real
I know you think I'm just dead
Another heart you were able to steal

Just want to see that vacant look in those eyes
That plastic smile on your face
So I'll for sure know you're full of lies
And then I can get you out of my space

But until that moment comes you live on
In my heart, in my head, in my soul, in my bed
Even though for you I've been a longtime gone
I still carry you like a loose thread

It's ready to be pulled and unravelled
Leave me like a puddle on the floor
Funny how you friend those with which I travelled
Trust me, they're all that you're not and more

Can fool me but you're not fooling her
So just take the knife out of my back
You won, I'm not trying to lure
Don't need to be reminded of what I lack

You never looked the same in any photo
That should've been my first clue
That something about you just didn't go
That something about you just wasn't true

Nowhere to roam

Need to be somewhere
Where I can feel like I'm nowhere
And know everyone else feels the same
Back where we're all together in being alone
Return to those dark streets
And those dark bars
And those grim days
And those lost nights
And those rent a girls
And those cheap delights
And that magic sense
That I'm throwing it all away
Nowhere to roam
Just me alone
Waiting for a lifesaver
That never comes

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It Never Came

Came up from the subway
To a sky filled with smoke
Saw those guardians fall away
And with them all hope

A beautiful blue day
Full of blood and tears
Couldn't even think to pray
Just walked toward the fear

People running lost
People running blind
People running scared
People running out

Took three more days
For the skies to open and shout
And the rain came to stay
To finally put that fire out

Memorial at the end of my street
Filled with stuffed animals and flowers
Looking for some sign of peace
In that darkest hour

But it never came

Sunday, December 1, 2013

So Much For Being Pro Choice

So since I no longer meet girls the old fashioned way -- through drunken one night stands, I often find myself trying online dating.

Fear not, this isn't going to be one of those stories. I just thought I'd give you a little idea of what it is like to be in this particular hell.

If a woman I write is not interested in getting to know me I would rather she just not write back. No need to send me a note explaining you don't think we'd be a good "match." Your non-response is message enough.

But this particular woman did feel a need to drop me a line on why we wouldn't be good together.

She wrote: 

"Don't think we'd be a match because I don't like making choices on where to go, etc."

It took me a little awhile to figure out what that response meant. Then I remembered that in the Match profile there is a question about "Favorite Hot Spots." I wrote, "Once I find my match, she can choose where we go." 

It was a throwaway line meant to show that whatever she wants is fine with me and I'm more interest in who I'm with than where I'm at. But apparently for some, just the idea of choosing a place to have a cup of coffee is just too overwhelming in this crazy world. 

Woody Allen was ahead of his time with this scene from "Annie Hall." 

How'd They Know?

I was driving on Westwood Blvd. tonight and a sign said, "Rocky Road Ahead."

I think they're right.