Did you ever wake from a very frightening dream only to be sorely disappointed that the rest of your world was right where you left it the night before?
Last night I was washed out to sea. I floated on a sheet of old siding and was borne out to open ocean. For a great long time there was the changing topography of the water, and then the current granted me a gift. In the neighboring valleys of the sea there were others just like me. And if we were lucky beyond hope we might find ourselves desperately stranded, broken, without our lives or families but at least in uncertain company.

It was about this time that I woke, alone, in my darkened bedroom, under a somewhat deflated down comforter and shivering like it were a cold ridge-line morning in a leaking tent. I knew it could not be later than 1 am, but the decision to rise from bed to get another blanket was never more difficult. My only desire was to shut my eyes and turn again, back to the unreality of my dreaming sea where perhaps I could justify my shivering cold with the wet and exhaustion. And with that beautiful destiny in mind I steeled guts to amble down the hall and collect from the closet an underused 35 degree sleeping bag. hurriedly and still shivering I tucked my feet into the bottom leaving it unzipped and laying on top of me before throwing the comforter over as well. But I continued to shudder, harder, almost convulsions. Seizing an extra pillow I hugged it to my chest and feverishly pulled the edge of the sleeping bag around me, I need more insulation. All this for getting to bed a bit too long after the heat turned off for the night. but then, as I began to turn a corner in the real world, my mind rolled over my right shoulder and back into the water.

The sky is grey but the water no longer rushes and heaves my fellows and I have landed a few together here is a place unfamiliar, but similar in its brokenness to the one I slid from. The hills are steep and the buildings are short their doors, their windows, and some of their walls. On the beachfront I am wary of my fellow castaways, but there is nothing to know, there is nothing say and nothing to fear. With new eyes we explore a destroyed neighborhood seeing the great boon of all this easy material and pre-made shelter not the despair of its great loss.

On the second floor of a house, the street-facing wall removed, the center hall and bedroom now a great open-air balcony, I spy two others. I and my three fellows approach the house, we offer our assistance. No names are exchanged because what could they mean in a place like this? We can trade only kindnesses. And soon we sit, provisioned and warmed by a fire. As the sun runs out we clarify our new national project, in the morning we will look to find, help, and cheer who we can. Sitting closely by the young woman who had been on the second floor of this house, a laugh rings out from us both and I suddenly recognize her. We had met before but I never could see her in this way, we talk of the future and not of the past, not of loss but of our find.

By a fire with sweet closeness, and dear warming in her eyes I have another date with a woman I always hoped to see in the yellow light of nostalgic love. Our small new future in the light of this fire and new family. Terror, wariness, shivering against hope is all toothless connecting of past to present as the stars make themselves known and a new world is born. A utopia is born from hell.

Then the alarm rings and I am adrift and dry in a bed ill equipped for the world so well appointed. I cannot bear the loss.

Whirlwind in a Watery Mind

After a long stretch of days spent working for someone else, I am disoriented today by an unfamiliar degree of self direction. Its time to break out the pencils and pens. Its time to make the doughnuts. Then just in time to put my feet on the ground, to find my stroke, it will be another stretch of days dedicated to the pursuit of a dollar in a big corporate paycheck.
I heard today that some migratory birds can use a cyclone or a tropical storm, like a slingshot to accelerate to far beyond their typical speed, entering the storm at 7 miles per hour and exiting at 99 miles per hour. There is a whirling, uncertain, unbalanced pressure in my mind, and my resistance says this is frightening, that it may be best to read, to play a game, to turn it off. Or at least to plan, create a strategy, define a new workflow that will improve my lifestyle and productivity. But one thing is sure, flying into the storm means more muffled underwater-ears and swimming vision, more disorienting spinning of the winds.

But this is wrong.

My vision only blurs because I am trying to fly across this wind. This is a time to muster one’s hope, one’s courage and more trust than I know myself to possess and turn into the storm. At one hundred miles an hour I should find the far side of the clouds in no time at all.

Internet-less Hills of Rural Massachusetts

It was almost a week without electricity here on Long Island, and I was very fortunate. My neighborhood has no electricity anytime the wind blows more than thirty miles per hour, and every time I’m glad we have natural gas furnace and stove. But this time, since getting the electricity restored and connected to the Internet I’ve gotten a much better idea of how lucky my area of Long Island was in this storm.

Even with all the luck I feel graced me this week, it mixed with the inconvenience of not having easy access to information and a certain variety of frustration. But mostly the time I was able to spend reading and not feeling the pull of two survival jobs on my time was tremendous. It allowed my to access a degree of clarity of focus on the most important things I have to do which I have not experienced very often. I wrote recently about Fear, and my experience this week seemed to belie the way I thought I understood my fear. There is a sense when you are disrupted by your fear or resistance that it is a largely internal process. While I believe that to be true, my life in the last week was by virtue of its distance from the usual social forces and distractions was in some way insulated from resistance as well. I have not written or read as much or as we’ll as I did this week in quite some time. There were few weeks of my college career when I did as much reading and writing as I did this week. And that feels right to me. Sitting with the ticking clock of my laptop battery and no incoming messages or needless, obsessive, meandering research to deter me, my resistance stood no chance against a quiet house and a cup of tea. It was remarkable to feel my frustration disappear in because I had sat down to do something I often so frustrating. Time was not running against me, for I had no place else to be, and yet I had to do it right then otherwise what would I do? It was urgently but without haste that I set about my work. And in that state I did not need to control, to decide or to plan what I was to write. I could let it become, and follow where it wished to go. Perhaps this is why people like to move to the Internet-less hills of rural Massachusetts.

I am a man who adores technology and the many tools and devices that might make my life more enjoyable or more manageable. I love the Internet, and instant correspondence and close-to-free publishing of anyone’s thoughts for anyone else to read. But it’s hard not to notice as I return to that world unscathed by the storm, I am not stronger today for having learned a great lesson of perseverance, like so many will doubtlessly need to do in recovering. Instead I am stronger today for having stood in the quiet of the now which seems so inaccessible when the world is at your fingertips. Perhaps I’ll need a wooden writing shed one day, so I can bring the virtues of the Internet-less hills of rural Massachusetts a little closer to home.

Brooklyn Rooftop Stargazers

I used to weep when we made love,and laugh out from our rooftop when we sat and watched the stars
she used to look out on our future with an awkward kind of distance

we were Brooklyn Rooftop Star gazers
and we suffered Choctaw losses in our souls
for we never really saw the stars.

My trail of tears turned river down the backs of her thighs
laughing mountain brook turns tallest waterfall,
quiet, meandering, then a path chosen, plummet
into the darkened forest where all things begin
THis is how the world turns

This is how the world turns
in “Come on Baby, give me one more chance.”
turns in, “Sorry, I’m not sorry.”
Turns in, “lets go, weekend, cheap offseason sea side motel, and I’ll run with you every single morning”

This is no Niagra, this does not thunder out its coming
does not proclaim its grandeur.
This is how the world turns,
Brooklyn Rooftop Star Gazers who suffered in their souls
never Learned what they were missing,
in just a little turn of world.

turns like,
“I really wish I could have”
“Maybe not this weekend”