Sunday, February 26, 2017

Seven years ago, my little brother died. His life I remember well. My grief after his death I remember less well, or rather not in the same way as my memory worked before that point. The week in the hospital I remember clearly. The angle of the hospital bed, which wall the chairs were against, the faces of the nurses and doctors as they hunched over the machine that was oxygenating his blood and returning it to his body.

I remember my father gently arranging Luis's favorite pillow (which Luis had had for years and served as a sort of abstract teddy bear that he had named "Pika" ) against his side. As he did so, I had remembered that same image from the first year of Luis's life that he spent entirely in the hospital, from the perspective of the child that I was, my father seeming so tall, bending over his pale infant, and the tears on his cheeks. The first time I had seen my father cry.

Endings are foretold by the beginnings, I'd read, and it appeared to be true this time.

That's the last period of time that I remember linearly. The images in my head that followed after Luis's death are rippled and warped, like a stained-glass window. Then that window shattered and fell into the ocean, colored shards dancing erratically into the depths, a glimmering swallowed by the darkness.

I imagine now, that grief is an ocean planet, with no solid core, a sea with no floor. Those broken pieces sank all the way to that center, fell through, and began to rise.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My father fell ill a couple weeks ago. He has always been reluctant to seek medical treatment and this was no exception. Eventually, he was convinced.

Seems better now. He came over last weekend to hang out. We watched The Force Awakens. We've spent more time together this past year.  He doesn't like going out, but I guess I'm just across the street so he makes an exception.

Monday, January 09, 2017

The beauty of the internet is that is reveals how much we live in our imaginations. Stories we tell ourselves, repeat to each other, and treat as "real" as all the other experiences that don't require a power source.

We stare at pictures of people and imagine they're looking back at us. Maybe I should take a series of photographs in which I look at the camera and think of specific people. Would that come across?

Donaldo is doing fine. The final analysis is complex migraines or something. A pain in the ass, certainly, but it shouldn't kill him.

Kelly got snowed in at work in Raleigh, North Carolina. The hotel lost power and they were shuttled to another one. She is flying back now. Watson L. Dog seemed pretty concerned last night when she didn't come home. I think so, anyway. He can tell the time of day pretty well, (having woken me up more than once when I slept through my alarm for work) but I'm not sure how far that extends. He moped all evening and didn't sleep in the bedroom like usual. When I got up to check on him he was curled up by the front door. It's possible he was clued in to my usual Sunday routine, like laundry. Maybe.

I dreamed a lot this weekend. More than usual. My medication limits my dreaming, I've noticed. In almost all aspects, the stuff makes me about 50% less interesting. Since the Venn diagram of "Interesting" heavily overlaps with "Being An Ass", I've come to accept it. For now. WINK.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Donaldo had a bit of an emergency yesterday. Ended up in the hospital. Loss of balance, slurring of speech, tingling in the extremities and face. Sounded like a mini-stroke to me, but after a barrage of tests and scans, the physicians detected nothing. Donaldo recovered quickly and was well enough to be released that afternoon.

Quite strange.

My mother had called me, panicked. I felt concern, but nothing like I might have expected. I remember thinking that a stroke could very well kill him; I understood the gravity of the situation. Having lost one brother already, I didn't think I would be this calm.

I think it's because we're both soldiers. We have both signed up to risk our lives for whatever reason before. The decision has already been made. The military is not the rest of life, of course; the rest of life lacks formality. Life just assumes that every participant has signed on for all the risks and rewards; after all, they showed up for it.

The last text I had received from him was while the family group was discussing Christmas plans. "As long as we're all together," he wrote. I despaired for a moment when I read that. The possibility of losing another brother yawned like an abyss before me. I stepped back, though. There will be grief, and suffering, when it is time for it. But not yet.

Monday, December 12, 2016

"Girl you make me want to feel/
the things I've never felt before/"
-Just A Boy, Angus and Julia Stone

The song came on my Pandora station as I sat down to write. I thought I'd share. Radiohead is on now, telling me Don't get any big ideas.

Are these songs dealing with loss, or about the loss that you're going to feel?

Everything by its contrast, again. Not joy exactly, but hope that joy is coming. And how bad you'll feel when hope is lost. These are old men talking to young men. The old men are the fools, if they believe the young men will listen. I say men because the singers are male. Doubtless the impetus is universal.

I've been trying to make it a habit to see my mom every day again. I feel good knowing she's there, but I think we're happier if it's a daily thing.

Walked six miles on Saturday, but only 3 on Sunday. My feet hurt so I took a half-day.

Sibbitt and the family are in town tomorrow. Having a Christmas potluck. I'll likely make carne asada. I'm excited.

Is there anything else? I don't know. I do know that I am still in the habit of double-spacing after a period. Not a thing anymore, thanks to these "living fonts". How do they know?

Penelope, by Pinback. That bass line could groove me back from the dead. The song is about Penelope, and a sea of struggle or something. Water is definitely involved.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The tents of heaven lie encamped beyond my mortal gaze, farther than I care to look, where the dust drifts upward.

I read the Hagakure, and wonder at the use of the word "perplexed". This translation by William Scott Wilson seems to be the most widely-known translation, and is more succinct than the other translation I have at home. That other translator honed the meaning to a sword-edge and then used that edge to cut away any ambiguity, like fat from a steak.

A line about trying to avoid the rain concludes "When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking."

Other words would fit easily in perplexed's stead. Angry, annoyed, frustrated, miffed, pissed, rankled. I think perplexed is still the best, for my purposes. Specific reactions are legion, but the categorical situation is not. When things go well, it seems that few people question the outcome and assume things are going right. When things do not go as desired, almost all will conclude that it should not be thus, and have ready a list of reasons why to rattle off to the nearest observer.

This disruption of thought is why I like the word perplexed. Thought is finite, and to use this precious resource to desire a world in which things are other than what is will still not affect the now, the one moment of existence, is a risky thing.

Certainly there is a time to for such things, but we're talking about a rainstorm here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Ender and Remy had their first orchestra performance last night at Holdeman. They did well, I think. I couldn't really see.

I remember learning those songs, and I remember performing them. I had zero talent for the violin and no motivation, so I focused on looking like I knew what I was doing. It worked out well for this third chair. Oh yeah, I was actively rebelling against playing the damn thing, but Mother clearly wanted a Von Lopez Family Band.

The crowd was rowdy, but there was a crowd. Standing room only and all that. I think the boys had fun. When I did these things I remember mostly wanting to get out of there as quickly as possible. I don't think I even had any friends in my orchestra class. Nobody actively disliked me, but I was not like them. Perhaps it will all have been worth it if I ever learn to play the banjo. That'll show them. Show them all.

I didn't walk yesterday. My day off.

Still don't know what to do for the New Year. Stay home or go out or neither. Rage against the temporal tyranny.