Category Archives: Family Life

On Language and Parenthood (AKA We Speak Our Words Mostly Without Forethought But They Often Land Like The Most Sophisticated War Plans Of Our Species’ Most Strategically Brilliant Military Minds)

Okay let’s pay attention for a moment
Let’s consider how context can rapidly evolve something said simply from plain and perfunctory to pure puncturing pain
Listen!
And let’s take a quick look in degrees
Let’s say three
Three degrees of context
(skipping over some nuances, sure, but goddammit we only have so much time and space here):

“Okay, bye!”

That phrase.
Two words.
Not much to unpack , right?
Wrong!
Dead wrong.
You couldn’t be more wrong.

Let’s try it again, goddammit:

“Okay, bye!”

  • hurts little and actually feels efficient when a work colleague says so at the natural conclusion of a yet another content-filled conference call
  • humiliates and generates instantaneous cheek-flushing when a woman says so to the young man enamored of her and in the immediate aftermath of his incoherent stumbling to find the words that will finally reveal his intrinsic handsomeness and star quality
  • h-bombs the father’s aging but still child-like heart when the son says so, gathered among his friends, after the dad joke is made, ham-handedly sure, but actually quite funny to the now faltering father walking away wounded in his withering heart, head hung, stunned

Life is context
And adjusting to it.
Can you stay true and you in each new scene?
Can you, maggot?
(I’m not a drill sergeant but goddammit I dreamed I would be!
But I can’t be
I just can’t
These kids are so darn cute!)

IMG_3492

Letter to the neighborhood conspiracist following an unsurprisingly heated and useless yammer session.

Dear Steve,

To summarize the thoughts I shared with you this morning over our heaping trash and virtue-signalling recycle bins (as you so cynically dubbed them):

The conspiracy theorist is problematic not because rational people believe conspiracies don’t actually exist, he’s problematic because he cannot offer rational people any persuasive evidence that confirms his often extravagant fever-dreams. He is no detective, but simply a self-indulgent and self-imposed outcast in love with his own fantasies and blind to basic reality and reason.

Everyone knows the truth, except you, Steve. It’s too bad you missed that day at school.

Cordially yours,

Bon

IMG_9834

Know Thyself

All I’ve known is the known darkness
The isolation from you
The loneliness of me
I suppose this has been the great tragedy, the one I’ve suspected all along
I just want you to know me

Dearest, I just want to be known
I just want to be known so someone can tell me who I am

And, my love, when you know me, it’s true: I will seek the same quiet shelter alone
Find that unused absence of light
Wallow in the lost library
Unseen, blind in the contradiction
As long suspected
In unplanned dreams
In wild lapses
Vino’s veritas

I swear it pains me, it does, dear, as if, as if it were some epic trauma
As if I had once been some exalted god on high, now fallen
Called to this earthy morass of light and dark
Ecstatic pain and agony joy

And I swear
Oh yes on my dearest breath I vow
I will always, I suspect, always blame you, blameless unknowing
Companion

Know me, dear
Mommy daddy lover offspring lord
Know me and tell me who I am

33671887651_5f1d176177_o

The Wild Parrots of Malibu

When we would roam and fly the streets
Onward weaving freedom rides, gentrifying in the wild idyl
On foot on board on bicycle
Salt kiss breezes floating our flowing limbs, our gangly hair, ill-worn cloth and nylon
The Point Dume Bombers were active and alive!
Hey, dear valley, go home, we cried
Retreat with your refuse through oven-walled canyons to the unseen hinterland
Retreat!

When we would squawk and bark the repertoire
Limited, yes and at all hours, yes
Mythologizing the day’s frolic in the sea
Where we daydreamed among waves we called our own, origins unknown and unimagined
Calls of awesome, yar, outer, kook
Burning skin in quick glimpses seen
Wanting to linger across the more virgin skin
Unveiled by a quest for color or the blow of whitewash
That touch so far before us

What filled our minds but the imagined adventure and dark intrigue we gathered from the muffled drunken roars heard late in the night through poorly insulated walls of shoddy renown
Dead whales on the beach
Dead marriages everywhere fouling our neighborhood air
We’d witness TV stars at gasoline pumps, scratching desperate lotto cards
Witness that nothing is certain
No matter how high, how gleaming
Your newly-born platinum wall

When we were parrots we saw more than we understood
Intuiting lessons at the edge of a continent where the outcast and the privileged all lay claim to the intolerable beauty no one can ever let in, lest all pride dissolve back to Malibu dust
And back to Malibu sand
Madness conceived when land meets sea, when fire and water collide
As they everyday do in this thin long burg

When we were wild and knew nothing of the strangeness of death
Only the permanence of parents
Their frailty and conundrum

IMG_1891

k-paso in duh neighborhood

Hey Luke!
 
Look, listen:
Lou kissin
Some broad named Tammy 
 
Look, listen:
Lou kissin
Some broad named Mandy 
  
Look, listen:
Lou kissin
Some broad named Alexandra 
 
Oh yeah, Luke, listen: 
Lou pissin 
Off the neighborhood broads
 
You got Tammy and Mandy and some broad called Alexandra
Wah wah – Alexandra – wah wah 
Doopelee dupe duh dee dang dee dang dang 
 
Lou listen: 
Luke’s kissin
Yo momma in duh Kmart parking lot
 
Alexandra! Time for your streusel and viola practice 
 
Get home girl!
 
 
IMG_3272

Alarm Bells Are Ringing

Somewhere in this room exists the kernel of our mutual betrayal
The faded breath of the fantasy, the faint trace of a dream for one who should have never slept in our bed

I don’t know who encountered it first nor how nor why nor why we can’t find it now
But the silent whisper in our minds still echoes and a seething hate is born

So that every mistake one makes in the dishwasher or with the clumsy toothpaste cap
Escalates into napalm blasts sprung deep from our diaphragm, seeking, soon finding the targets back deep in the soul

I agree with you that I’ve lived my entire life as a midlife crisis
Yet nothing prepared me for our slow grinding agony, our actual crisis at midlife, our soap opera better mocked when it appeared on tv or in the tabloids

There will be no ponytails or Porsches
Until this is all over

Sadly the end feels as elusive as this kernel we hope to find and squash out
We know somewhere in this consciousness it’s done but we require the planting of that actual seed

The suffering of emergence, the revelation, the mutual deaths of our pride
It’ll be the last thing we ever share. And there’s respect and closure and real life in that

Help me end this with you

 

IMG_3859 

Two Farmers-Market-Poets’ Hastily Composed Odes To Youth

Today, I encountered topacio althaus for the first time. She regularly sets up a small table and typewriter at our local farmers market, with a sign asking for a topic and a price, promising a poem at the end of the transaction. 

topacio althaus at work

My sister-in-law approached ms. althaus with a financial offering and a suggested topic of our young children: brother and sister and cousin, one of them a newborn, one three, one four.  Here now is the poem that resulted:

 

 

 

I too took up the challenge of the topic and created the following on my phone: 

 

Three 
Three wee ones
Some whipping like warm summer wind
Through the forest of ancient wrinkled calves and knees 
Saturday’s lumbering farmers market shoppers
One sleeping, mouth gaping, chirping like a settling bird
Three  
Three!
Weeeeeee!
Bound by blood
Sister brother cousin
Georgia in her mother’s arms, three weeks old
Isaac, three plus one, so four, patiently enduring the face painter and stares from tiny cousin Merryn, three 
She who is eager to run and play more before his batman cheek is done
Three! 
Bound forevermore by this memory
The warm early autumn morn
Among those busy being old, shopping, and nearly born 

 

 

I made no money.

A good day for poetry.

And berries:

 

 

Three!

 

 

I see you, second uncle shrunken drunkard

I see you, second uncle
shrunken drunkard
Can you see me
Uncle, uncle
See me uncle, uncle

Is this the way to channel the glories of our day?
Another morning bed of bottles, yet more cramping bowels
A head of rusty nails announcing their decay
Your slick-tongued whispers now rotten breath howls

Again
You did it again
Forsaken the miracle
Again

And goddamnit you’re fifty-farking-four years old!
Get it together, uncle.
I’m not judging but this shit is getting ridiculous.

I see you, second uncle
shrunken drunkard
Can you see me
Uncle uncle
See me, uncle, uncle

IMG_1928

People tell me I’m mixed up but check this out

Generally speaking, this brownish-red mole right here on my left shoulder, just here on the deltoid, kept me awake last night from 11:50pm to 4:20am with anxiety.
It’s ironic because it’s the very same mole I worried about earlier that day, and you and I both know that.
Needless to say.
Specifically, all the people who participate in the broader medical field and who discuss issues like these and other issues frighten me.
I’m paraphrasing but my doctor said these exact words that I recorded in my iPhone, “Get that mole removed now!”
Fortunately, it’s malignant.
bah