Zero Fucks Given: The End Of Brangelina

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Facebook has a major case of the poo-butt.  Everyone is heartbroken over the demise of Brangelina. 

It’s the end of an era, like when the dinosaurs died out and you could no longer buy cars with 8-track players in the dash.

I wonder if they can return all those children? Probably not, but maybe if they still have the receipts.  I mean, it couldn’t hurt to ask. Right?

Anyway…

One time, when I was 24, Angelina Jolie helped me get a job by marrying Billy Bob Thornton at the Little Church Of The West in Las Vegas. I didn’t work there, yet.

The chapel photographer assigned to the case shot a few extra rolls of film and sold the photos to The National Enquirer. This lead to her immediate termination and to my  phone ringing with a job offer. So thank you, Angelina Jolie, I owe you one.

I don’t know why Billy Bob and Angie called it quits. Maybe because she kept rescuing children from atop floating doors? Who knows but here’s some ironic shit, Brad Pitt adopted all of Angelina’s adopted kids after they got married so technically he has to pay child support on them now.

In a similar situation my step-brother, Will, married a woman named Moonshine who was already pregnant with another man’s baby.  When she had the baby, Will put his name on the birth certificate as the father even though his-dad-my-step-dad told him that was a sucker move and not to do it.  Twenty-some years later, Will and Moonshine are still married and have so many damn kids that they have forgotten the first one’s name.  Because he is confused about the nature of responsibility, Will has gotten really fat and miserable.  We don’t communicate.

Facebook may have it’s panties all in a bunch but, personally, I’m not losing sleep over the status of celebrity marriages.  Because why? Why should I care?

When I was going through hard times, getting divorced, neck-deep in financial shit, in serious danger of losing both my house and my car to foreclosure and under constant threat of multiple law suits, did Brangelina express their concern in any kind of way? Phone call? Facebook message? Condolence card? Dinner for two at Taco Bell? Were they there for me in my hour of need?

No, zero fucks given by Brangelina. I feel it’s only fair to reciprocate.

 

 

 


Alternate Outcomes

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It’s strange how the simple things in life go on while we become more difficult.                                      -Richard Brautigan

 

I heard the news today.

He died of cancer.

I had no idea he had fallen ill.

His wife probably did, since she was there and all.

A new widow has flowers in a vase now and many condolences.

And to think I was once jealous of their house.

 

 


In The Way

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Earlier today I found this piece in my Google Drive.  I had saved it there on August 8th, 2014.

I was recently divorced but somehow already involved in a toxic relationship, living alone for the first time ever (at the ripe old age of 38), drowning in oceans of paper and unpleasant memories.

Having never lived alone, I was truly overwhelmed with the magnitude of trying to take care of both the house and the yard plus the pets and myself.  I was hungry too, thus far I had never learned to cook.

And then one day I was alone.

Sort of.

Alone, but all the stuff was still there.

Everywhere.

The good news is that I learned to cook and the bad news is that cooking just added to the mess that I already could not keep up with.

The clutter was about to reach mushroom cloud proportions.

The following story sounds like it’s about stuff – but it’s never really about stuff, is it?

The real clutter that keeps us in the fortress is obligation with no return on investment: toxic relationships are the clutter no one wants to discuss.  Toxic relationships with other people, with our means of earning a living, with outstanding debt for which we have nothing to show.  THIS is the clutter that builds the real fortress.  The toxic relationship that must be addressed is the one we have with ourselves.

I wrote this over a year and a half ago.  I remember sitting in the only clear space in the house, writing it on my Nook because I could not stand to sit at my computer desk.  I was unhappy then but I felt that the stars were orchestrating massive changes, I just had no idea what they had in mind and, frankly, I wished they would hurry the hell up!

It is now January of 2016 and my life is on a completely different trajectory.

While I still struggle to contain the stuff – like unopened mail and such – I promised myself that I would root out the toxic clutter from my life and banish it forever.

I’ve done well.  I’ve been true to myself.  I found an awesome life partner and for this I am particularly thankful.

CLUTTER

written August, 8, 2014

All my life I’ve been immune to clutter. I just didn’t see it, it didn’t bother me. The purpose of empty space was to put something in it. I was indifferent to the clutter until one day, not that long ago, I wasn’t.

I woke up one morning and realized that I was drowning in clutter. It was everywhere.  Where does all this stuff even come from? How did it get here? Most importantly, why won’t it pick itself up?

When I finally started to see the clutter in my environment, I began to understand some other things as well.  For one thing, I saw that all this stuff was literally robbing me of my living space. I could not think or function in my own home and furthermore did not enjoy spending time there. This lead to spending a lot of time and money in coffee shops with wi-fi while the clutter continued to free load off of me, claiming squatter’s rights in my personal space.

It also came to my attention that our external conditions are the physical manifestation of our internal conditions. Clutter is not a coincidence, it means something.  So, for a time, I stopped looking at the house and started looking in the mirror. What’s going on in here, I wondered?

What was going on was a lifetime of out of control clutter.  Mental clutter, intellectual clutter, emotional clutter, personal clutter, professional clutter. It was as if I had never learned to sort things out, never learned to prioritize, never learned to discard things that no longer served me because I feared that I might still need them some day.  Inside was an even bigger mess than the outside!

Lastly, I realized that all this stuff had created a terrific fortress and that I was not at all happy about being trapped inside of this thing.  I not only wanted, but needed, to bring improvement into my life. Different and better circumstances, people, and things but the problem was that the fortress was keeping them away because it was hogging up all the space.  I could not attract better things into my life because I literally had no place to put them!

The first step in getting what you want is letting go of what is in the way.


Above The Clouds

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Here at 30,000 feet the weather is below and the sun is above; hot, bright, burning her face and unchanging.
I’m not even speaking English now, she thinks in vague images.
She’s sleep deprived and hungry but sees the edge of happiness on the horizon.

Clouds like a carpet for a thousand miles and he waits for her in the land of the living.
There is so little time for thinking these days.
But we all know that thinking leads to trying, leads to striving, leads to nowhere except right here anyway.
Remember when we were young and didn’t know what we didn’t know?

We’ll not be given time to create, we’ll be asked to create in real time.
What time?
He has time now, on the road in between, navigating the weather under the clouds.
She has time now too but she looks old today. Maybe it’s because her eyes are tired.

She looks down on creation and wonders why people argue about god, like an opinion matters one way or the other.

The truth doesn’t change and nor does it care.
This road goes nowhere and everywhere.
It goes to the future, but we have to go now.

The plane turns left and the sky is only blue.
He drives.
She flies.
Soon.


Caught In The Moment

 

When the waves roll in

we shall not resist.

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She drove through the misty mountains for what seemed like eternity,
but her face looked the same.
Clouds sat heavy in the cactus,
headlights cut the fog,
humidity soft in her chest.
It was a long drive but not because of the road.
It was a long drive because of the place.

After a lifetime at highway speed
she found the turn
and just like that
the rest of the world could not follow.

She cut the engine and saw him standing on the porch.
He’s here, she thought, and that was all.

**********

They played mind games on the lawn while the Milky Way shuffled its hand.
She sat with him on the couch in the empty house.

They spoke of water and of life.
They spoke of power and of freedom.
They spoke of fire and the way of the mind.
They spoke of everything and of nothing.

Her eyes were open and she saw the things he could not hide no matter how dim the lights.
What began as a respectable distance became no distance at all.

**********

He stood in the breeze of the window,
not anything but himself.
With no good explanation she wrapped herself around him, close, but looking away.
She felt his hand in the small of her back and the other in her hair,
“What’s on your mind, Love?”
Don’t call me that unless you mean it, she thought but did not answer.
Tears rolled down her face and there was no way to stop the breath from catching in her chest.
She knew he noticed.
She saw her life going by, conflict stung her eyes, so many angles to separate the light but not a single word that could be spoken.
She waited for him to push her away, to free himself of her embrace and go back the way he had come.
She waited but he stayed and finally she said, “Sometimes my life seems like such a fantastic mess and sometimes it seems so simple.”
He didn’t know what she meant by that but he knew he was being called so he held her.
There was nowhere else he needed to be.

**********

She slept but he didn’t.
He watched over her the way he always had.
He knew she was playing her cards close, choosing her words carefully.
He didn’t know what was left unsaid but he looked on anyway to see that she was safe in the night.
He was there when the demons approached, when her brow furrowed and her body tensed.
He reached over and put a hand on her chest.
She didn’t wake but pulled him around her like a blanket.
Peace was restored and he could never let go.

**********

He stood on the curb and watched her drive away.
She had slowed down to reach out and take his hand one more time.
He didn’t tell her goodbye, wouldn’t tell her goodbye, but the time had still come for them to part ways.
He watched her leave and went back inside.
He sat on their bed in the middle of the universe.
His heart was coming undone.
It wasn’t the first moment
and it wasn’t the last.


The Lumberjack

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There once was a young lumberjack who was very skilled at what he did.  This lumberjack was so strong and so talented that he could cut down nearly twice the number of trees in one day as anyone else and he was widely regarded as the best in the land.  All the girls wanted to get with him and all the boys wanted to be him.  He was happy and proud of himself. He was comfortable in the idea that he would always be at the top of his game.

The other lumberjacks had a great respect for him so they studied his techniques endlessly in hopes of some day being like him.

As the years passed the once young, but now aging, lumberjack began to notice that he was no longer cutting down twice the number of trees as everyone else because everyone else was cutting down more.  Not only that but, even though he was still working just as hard as he always had, his actual yield was going down.  Every day it seemed he worked harder than the day before but his work continued to decline.

After awhile, not only was he no longer the industry leader but he found himself at the back of the pack in last place.  Even the newbies were cutting down more trees than him!

With great exasperation, he would complain to his friends, “I am doing the exact same thing that made me a champion but now I can’t even keep up!”

At the end of the day, the lumberjack could always be found drowning his sorrows at a sketchy watering hole that stank of grease traps and toilet sanitizer. It was on the dark side of the tracks and fly paper hung from the moose head by the door. Men with dull hair whose wives never saw a paycheck and women with skinny legs and no last name sat mesmerized in the glow of Deuces Wild, hoping to win but planning to lose.  It was a sad and predictable scene at the bar called Diminishing Returns but it was still a step above going home. One night while the lumberjack was taking up space and once again regaling everyone with his tale of woe, the bartender’s ears started to bleed so he leaned over and very quietly asked him one question.

“When was the last time you sharpened your ax?”


Home

Sometimes things don’t work out.

No, sometimes they don’t work out at all.

And, sometimes, it seems heartbreaking.

Things were not as I thought I wanted them to be.

As it turns out, I thought wrong…

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Once upon a time on a mountain in the sky,
Arizona burned bright with flames a mile high.

And it waited.

It waited while a boy stood at the crossroads, asking for a sign.
Caught in a fluorescent bath of indecision, he looked at his watch, he looked back at his car, he looked at the suitcase by his feet.
It should be so easy, just get on the plane.
“I prefer to be in the plane”, he thought to himself, but his feet still didn’t move.
He thought of his dream, turbulence in crossing the Mississippi River.
A blaze of glory with a sudden stop.
Going down in flames to die a proverbial death.
Something’s gotta give.

He stood in the parking garage and considered his other dreams…

Once upon a time on a mountain in the sky,
with thorny arms and hot breath,
Arizona changed his mind.

“You don’t have to take your life at face value”, he would breath in the words from her mouth as she said it to him later, though he heard it then.
He tried to reach out and grasp the glow of her heat but it was on him already.
In him already.
Compelled his thoughts.
Already.

He didn’t know what he knew while he stood at the corner of uncertainty, not exactly, but a spider moved in it’s web and the wind stirred the surface of the water.

“What if I told you that if you get on this plane nothing will ever be the same?”
He heard the question though it too was yet to be asked.
“What if I told you that you can’t go home again?”
“What if I told you that you never left?”

Once upon a time on a mountain in the sky,
a silent creature in Arizona waited with unblinking eyes.
Warm sand against it’s belly, in the shadow of a tree.
Without worry.
Patiently.

Xavier locked his car and picked up his suitcase, this is what fate feels like.
It was time to go.
Home.