tobias crabtree

defining lines; drawing and writing

Tag: Family

Imperfections (perfections)

My Mama has age spots, she’s a true beauty. I know age is a touchy matter with most folks and I don’t know why, after all, it never stops happening. My mom’s spots started a long time ago and I just thought they were big freckles. I love freckles. Freckles and gap teeth. I have neither, but I wish I did. My buddy Nick has one of the best gaps in his teeth I’ve ever seen and it’s the finishing touch on his handsomeness. I finally got an age spot (probably inherited but earned honestly under the big ol’ sun) on my left cheek bone, just about where a gangster might tattoo a couple of tears. It’s a nice one, about the size of a dime. “You can get that burned off,” someone said, “there’s a treatment.” But really, I spent so much time getting it burned in that I’m kinda proud of it. Good job, skin, way to endure. According to the Mayo Clinic I get to keep it for the rest of my life! I look at it as a mark on a map or a coffee stain on the page of a book. This body is in use, I am busy being. It may show some signs of fatigue and I have long since lost the instruction manual as well as the warranty. I will wash it occasionally but I can’t guarantee it will smell good. I’ll do my best to keep it in good working condition, but I’m solid with it’s signs of use.

Both my folks have pure white hair. Dad’s hair used to be jet black, he’s Choctaw or at least some kind of mix. Mom’s hair was blonde with a natural lighter streak in the front. As my hair continues to change it’s color, there is a grey streak where my mama had one. My kid brother has it too. It’s really kinda cool, like a Sweeney Todd looking deal minus Johnny Depp’s face. I don’t think it’s bad to color hair and do things to change our appearance, it’s fun. I’m covered in tattoos, I get it. But also, I just want to say that age is both beautiful and exciting. You know the phrase, “in the long run”? Yeah, that’s life. Life is the long run. I love that. And the bushy eyebrows and hairy ears and the two toes melded together. The weirdnessess and the oddities. Bunions and age spots and moles and wrinkles, cracks and snaps and baldness and moments of revery — these are all proof that we are here. There is no expiration date for appreciating existence. We are not forever 21, that’s one year last I checked, and it’s a pretty cool one, but so is 32 and 47. I think you get my point. Anyway, this is just my two cents worth. I have to love imperfections, it’s all I’ve got to work with in this stumbling bumbling tumbling old carcass!

the lines in my brother’s face

i’m sick. so’s my kid brother. i probably caught it from him because i worked on his neck and shoulders the last couple days. he’s close to my dna. we’re close.

the line of thinking was easy tonight in the garage. i was drawing dresses for my 6 year old friend, ruby. my brother was lining out work for his crew tomorrow on the construction site. these two things are not so different; we’re both good at what we do and we both take it seriously. so, as i draw a pink party dress with matching shoes, josh is telling his boys what time to show and what inspections are coming. he’ll be there at 5 a.m. and i’ll have had coffee with him come morning time.

while he sits across from me, he is my kid brother. at 38. he is still my kid brother. the lines show. he is looking down at his hands and they are thick and tough. his beard is long. when he looks up at me, i see the blue behind the hazel and i see the distance and the time we have traveled to be here, in his garage. his boys are in the next room. i am saying things to him and he listens…he really does. we are best friends.

i recently wrote down the names of my mom and dad’s moms and dads. i also wrote down their moms and dads. i don’t know why, but it bothers me not to know who they were. i don’t like forgetting where i came from. my dad’s mom’s dad was named charles. i said this to my brother, who didn’t know that, and he said, “so dad’s named after him?”  i said yes. he nodded and sipped his beer. i sipped some tea and whiskey. then my brother remembered back. he said, “i remember when grandma was dying, she spoke to dad and called him chucky.” josh was only 5 or so and i was surprised to hear that he could remember this. i said yeah, she did.

here i am, at the tail end of another day. my ma is visiting my grandma betty who is turning 90. ( and i love to say “turning 90” because it means that the world is moving around the sun…it is in it’s turning. and the turning is what we all do, whether we like it or not ) mama will say good and true things to my grandma and they will laugh. i spoke to the lady who is my grandma, who is turning 90…i spoke to her on the phone. she sounded sharp and strong and ready for forever. she still sings in her choir, she believes in her voice. i was humbled under the light of her being.

i am lying down. i’m coughing, like my brother in the next room. tonight, we spoke of the folks who made us. i looked at him in his mortal skin. here we go, as worlds are turning.

have you ever heard the migrating geese in that early light between the night and the sun? it holds a sad and lovely quality. it is life.  and i love it in it’s blueish greyness.

a day.

first of all, you might have something better to do. i’m sure there is something else to read. for sure there’s something else that you can watch on youtube. someone jumping upside down, face first off of a urinal. someone talking about something that is so stupid you can’t look away. so this is a disclaimer. if you have something better to do, do it. otherwise here’s a record of a day. it started this morning at 5:30 when i heard my kid brother go out the door to work.

up when it’s dark. colorado. i have a hand grinder for my coffee beans and it’s my early meditation. so yeah, i did that. and then coffee. i bought heavy whipping cream to celebrate the new year, i guess, but it might be just because i like heavy whipping cream. i grabbed my computer and stepped over the dog gate at the top of the stairs. (my brother, josh, and his wife, farah, own a great dane that’s bigger than me…so a gate is necessary in order to keep the furniture in place and stuff). i took two steps and missed a step and fell down the stairs. ’twas 5:40 a.m.

the bump on my elbow is a by-product of falling down the stairs with two things you’re not willing to lose. coffee in one hand+computer in the other hand= bump on elbow. no worries, i like it.

i have a condition. it’s some weird thing that makes me mull over products in the grocery store. i look for non-gmo stuff because i, personally, am planning on putting monsanto out of business. i’m also obsessed with truth. truth about origins and sugar and time and fair trade. i can’t prove a godamn thing but i sure as hell do read the fine print to see if i can bust one of these businesses trying to lie to me about whether or not they shook some farmers hand or not. i’m probably an idiot, but i eat with a decent conscience…pretty much.

so you probably figured out that i went to the grocery store. i got the makings for my food for the day and the drink i wanted to have tonight. then i called my mama. she was at home. it’s my real home because it’s where i spent my entire childhood. it’s still on the same street. it’s under the same sky. what has changed is that my mom is older and my dad is older and i am older. i asked ma about using the sewing machine. she said she only had one bobbin. i went by the jo ann’s  and grabbed 10 bobbins. i was gonna buy 5 but there was a 50% off deal and the lady selling it to me had just had heart surgery. (i ain’t sure why that has anything to do with me buying 10 instead of 5 but it did…maybe because she seemed excited that i was buying bobbins for my ma and that it was a “singer 600 touch and sew” machine, which is old and cool) i bought the bobbins and some needles for other stuff.

ma was waiting for me, i could tell. she loves it when i roll in. she helped me set up the machine and i sewed up my sweater. she said i did a marvelous job and looked handsome with my custom fitted garments. ma’s cool. she really is. i found a picture of her with my older sister in her arms in the sewing drawer under the buttons. it is a tiny picture, maybe 2 inches by one. mama was probably 23 in that pic. soooo hot! i stole it and told her i had pocketed something from the drawer downstairs as i was leaving. she said what she always says when i do something like that, “tobe, you’re so naughty.”

this friend of mine is a bartender in san francisco. he works in a cool little spot called “outerlands” it’s in the outer sunset, where it belongs. anyway, christian, made me this drink once with whiskey and chartreuse and orange rind that might be the best drink anyone has ever had in the history of the world. that’s what i wanted tonight. just one of those. so i stopped and tried to find the chartreuse he had used  that also happens to be made by monks in the mountains somewhere (maybe france?), but i couldn’t find it. it’s pretty integral to the drink, christian said so and i believe him. i did manage to find an orange.

for about an hour i sat with my nephew and picked out animals that he and i are gonna draw for my buddy, brian foster. foster don’t know i have this little art project goin’ for him because he’s busy growing a baby into a person. having a baby, come to find out, is quite a big deal. like, you can’t just work on it for a month or two and then set it down. it’s like adopting a river or something. it’s like adopting the ocean. so yeah, he doesn’t know i have this huge art project with my 11 year old nephew where we’re gonna draw rare and cool animals for him. he’s going to be stoked.

i went out to dinner with my mom and dad. i tried not to rage at all about government and insurance and how i’d like to break into the whitehouse and rearrange the furniture and leave selfies in weird places. no. i tried to be mellow and talk about other stuff. ma and pa are cool. they somehow have learned to love me no matter what. ma told me i was valuable…that’s pretty cool, coming from mom. hugs and kisses in the parking lot. 2 pictures on mom’s camera; one of me and the old man, one of me and ma.

back at my brother’s house. i’m invited to the party across the street, but i stayed back. i made a half-ass drink without key ingredients that ended up being kind of a whiskey with an orange rind in it. i called my brother and had him walk me through turning on the tele because i basically have a worm’s brain when it comes to that kind of thing. i listened to a few people talk about trivial shit and how to change your life with new year’s resolutions. i turned off the tube, which is easier because you can just pull plugs from the wall to accomplish that. i drank water out of fear of the strength of my one drink. i sat down with sleepy eyes and stitched a couple of words into a pocket i’ve been making for my pencils. then i looked at my computer. the thought occurred to me that the only way i’d be able to write tonight is if i used a good bit of sarcasm. nice that i was able to avoid that at least. so yeah, no sarcasm from this sweet lipped tulip.

typing out words. wondering what the hell i have to say. there’s a fine line between a waste of time and what’s worth while, i guess it all boils down to the heart. i spend a whole lot of my time shoveling bitterness out of my gut and looking to the stars for something that’ll keep me putting letters together. if it weren’t for the lovely souls i know exist, i’d most certainly stop this business of arranging thoughts. but they do. they exist. so this was a day. tomorrow’s another. some folks march alone to the grave, i prefer dancing with my friends till the lights go out. and with that, i’m done for the night, done for this year. looks like it all worked out.

a list…and some other stuff

i dreamt that my sister came to me in the night. there was that old look that i know so well because i’ve seen it on my own face, it’s like certain things expressed in the genes but that you can’t quite put your finger on. some stuff we can hide, some stuff we can’t. anyway, my sis’ wasn’t trying to hide a thing. there was broken-heartedness spilling out all around her. i invited her in the camper and pulled open a drawer that was full of tiny records, about the size of a silver dollar. i picked one out that was labeled “for the broken-hearted” and put it on the player. we sat and listened to perfect words that i cannot recollect and looked out at a moon-filled world. she sat and drank tea. i drank coffee. we both looked out the big picture window in the back and the view was from the top of some high-rise in downtown manhattan, and i felt the dream seamlessly blend the real and the other. malia, me and my camper, looking out over the lights of millions of other hearts, some happy, some broken, some deciding whether to stay or to go, some loving, some losing, some never thinking past the money. i don’t know what really happened after that, but i remember that things were kinda starting to be ok.

life really is just a continuous series of feelings. it’ll run off and be pretty damn selfish if you don’t pay it proper attention. that’s where the soul comes into play. way out there on the end of it’s tether, close to the stars and the circling birds, the soul is outside of races and species and dictionaries and languages. it can’t be accurately weighed and measured and timed, even though we try. it ain’t science. it fills us up.

and life is the result, with it’s sweet, little goods and nasty,stumbling bads.

walking along minding your own business and running headlong into a painful yesterday. creosote in the sandy washes. the tiniest vireo. the smell of rain against the monzonite. the quick tracks of the coyote and the pearly light that hides the bobcat, the huntress, at dawn. the barn owl that peeks at me from deep in that one cave (yes, you know who you are, tyto alba, in your lair above the rest of us). my elbow, clicking and hurting. the sky that holds the moon, much as that cave holds the owl. and that moon in her death throws, here at the end of her cycle, running before the sun with the last of her light…the last of her light. and my coffee that’s strong and cooling. and dad with his thoughts as he lies there next to my mama. and mama with her thoughts lying by my dad. and the rocks on the slopes that hold the recordings from the beginnings. and the puma in the wash with her twins. and the nolina that stands 20 feet tall where the lightning struck the pinon and the pinon crushed the oak. and that heartbeat that sometimes flutters and reminds me that, no matter how healthful i am, no matter how much turmeric i ingest, no matter my meditations on the spirit, i will someday drop deader than a pair of worn out socks. the words that i arrange to say what i mean in varied degrees of success. the cities that hold humans close. the cicada waiting in hiding for that 7th year. the wonderful song that is in the heart of the one who has not yet lost the love of her life but will and who has not yet begun to sing…but will. the colony of pill-bugs beneath the old plastic bag at the end of the road. the abandoned roadrunner nest above the door to the chicken coop. the old man that puts more sugar in his cup than coffee, and who does’t have teeth, and who seems like he’ll live forever anyway. the shack where david lives. the way ruby sings when you play an A-flat. the saddest book i’ve ever read, that i can’t talk about.  my younger brother josh, who i wanna grow up and be like. the distance that i worship because it holds everything including what is near, because what is near is far when you move away. the ocean and her need for us to be more careful and love her more and also to love her heart, which is every beast in her belly. the thoughts of kenneally as he walks toward mindfulness with the wildest of smiles. old photos when my belly was round and my mama had my brother cory in her belly, so her belly was rounder. memories of swimming with guns and radios and men who could use them. twisting lenga trees on the bench where the wind will blow the skin from your bones. barefootedness. openheartedness. the lone and honest sun, who, if you let him, will bleach out your faults, like old bones, until they are lighter and easier to carry. the winding down and the end, which is as perfect as birth but not nearly as popular. this breathing which is now, and doesn’t need to be labeled or claimed…it is simple and should be left that way.

this is what i think is, this and all the other stuff i missed. a collection of sorts.


a list of admissions before dawn

this isn’t an attempt to sound like i’m disciplined; i’m not. i’m not the man my grand dad was and i ain’t the man my dad is and i’m not a harder worker than my kid brother (not even close). all these men have known the morning hours because work has beckoned them. my brother, joshua, builds stuff, like hospitals and medical buildings; my dad works for God, and God likes folks to be at it early; my gramps worked the oil-fields in the early 1900’s. i’m kinda like them all, besides bearing a striking resemblance to them in some ways, i like being up before the sun. sometimes way before the sun, like today. and today i made a list of things that happen before the sun comes around the corner of the world.

-an acorn fell and popped off like a gun shot on the roof of the shed.

-i flailed from a dream where i was with a pretty girl who was explaining that we had a baby together. the baby had little pointed ears and gold eyes and ebony skin and i was doubtful that it was my baby, i glanced at my reflection in a broken out car window (my dreams are often in a war torn setting) and i had pointed ears and gold eyes and ebony skin.

-i groped around in the dark, like every morning, for my headlamp that i last saw on my head when i was reading last night. i found, instead, my copper earring that has been missing for a few days. (and where was that thing, in my sleeping bag?)

-i crawled out into the cold to take a leak. puffs of breath.

-i found my pants in the dark.

-i turned on the shed light. my headlamp was on my pillow. i mumbled, “that figures…” to myself.

-i turned the light back off and stepped out under the freckled universe.

-orion was center-stage, chasing taurus…his never ending hunt. i thought of roger sparks and hunter dahlberg, both sons of that constellation. roger with his son, orion. hunter with the stars tattooed on his body in precise astronomic distribution just as they are on the hunter in the sky.

-the big ursa, that dancing circus bear always circling polaris.

-a screech owl, calling and calling and calling.

-an iron blue horizon, promising cold.

-frost coming on. the grass crackling under my sandals.

-the rooster, letting me know he’s a rooster.

-i make coffee in the camper, humming some 80’s song about the rains in africa.

-i browse the sun magazine while coffee’s brewing. a sad story about someone loving someone who wants to love everyone.

-i think of albert camus from out of nowhere…or maybe out of everywhere.

-i think about how i don’t have what i takes to be an existentialist. i do believe in right now, this moment, but i’m a romantic and love the mystery of maybe.

-i step out with my coffee and it seems darker. i scare a sheep that i thought was a bush and it scares me and i spill some coffee on my wool sweater that has a lot of coffee spills on it. “precious coffee,” i say out loud to myself, “what a waste.”

-i find the shed in the dark.

-i turn on the light and wrap a blanket around my nasty little hooves.

-i chuckle and say something about loving this shit.

-light is coming. orion has fled. my heart is clunking away. the future hangs like an exhibit down a long hallway in the museum, i can’t quite make it out, but it looks interesting. what’ya say we go stand in it and call it now?

subtracting tomorrows

there is no substitute for the fiery love of family. when i think of the things that matter, family and tribe are synonymous. i don’t have to work these things out. i know who is who. fire-starters, seed-planters,wood-carvers,song-singers,long-runners,dream-readers,body-workers…they inhabit my life.the following words were an address to my sister not long ago in an email. i think they express, at the very least, love;  “…and there are sea birds continuously circling overhead. i see the ocean from my seat, beyond the ocean, the sky. and somewhere out there beyond the sky is tomorrow coming towards me. days are ticking off and pretty soon, if not already, i’ll have more yesterdays than i have tomorrows. funny how life is so quietly important when you give it due respect. eat right, drink water, breathe deep, love your heart, demonstrate your love through living correctly and healthfully, expect little and nurture compassion, appreciate the road that has formed you, don’t hurry towards your grave but don’t stall either, look inward to see outward. we are brave, fragile, sad, imaginative, wonderful creatures and our time is short. improve what you have just a tiny every day…In no time a little will be a lot.”


a home: from the eyes of a nomad

i am sitting in the upper level of a blacksmith shop. there is a home-made bookshelf that holds hundreds of books standing quietly and knowledgeably to my right. my bed roll is out. i’m plugged into the wall where someone else pays the electric bill.

i pedaled one of Hunter’s bikes to the bar tonight and sat with him over a whiskey and a beer. we talked easily about life and it’s rolling hills. we are buddies, Hunter and i. as we talked, i began to spew about what home is. every now and then, when i start blowing a bunch of air out of my mouth, it will contain something worth hearing. tonight i felt like something was said. it was about home.

i live an unconventional life; in america, it is a little unacceptable. first of all, i owe nothing. i am debt free. i’ve paid my college tuition off. i did 4 years as a marine. i owe nothing to my credit card company. i have very little in the bank.  i’m 45, single, strange, imaginary, and a little sad (and a little happy). as i sat next to my good buddy, having just left my good buddy, nick, i realized that home is wherever i sidle up next to those who are dear to me. it’s not just the being there, it’s the having something to give to my people. what do i have to give? and if i bring enough, i feel at home.

so the wonder is this: if i bring all i can, and i give what i bring, i am at home with the ones i choose to be with. there are names i can give who are changing the world. they are the hope that i have. i don’t really have trouble with hoping for impossible bullshit. i hope for the things that are tangible. i see the fight-scarred brows that sit over the broken nose that separates those thoughtful blue eyes of Brian Foster as he plants his fruit trees in the desert. i see the dirt filled toenails of Nick Mahmood as he digs out the dark black soil from his favorite sink hole in the woods behind his garden. i see burly Hunter Dahlberg stand in front of his fiery forge and teach college students about life’s sweetest curves. i see Joshua Crabtree lift his boys over his head and show me through his love that life is worth the living. these are tangibles.

the names of the people i name might not mean anything to you, the reader, but they are folks. they are home. i haven’t a purchased structure and yet i am never without shelter. sure, i could be resourceful, as i often am, and make my spot in out in the world; but the point is, i am most at home when i am with the ones that love me back. i have slept at the foot of many beds. i am the dog come in from the cold. i smell like woodsmoke and wool. my heart lies, in truth, down in the hollow where the cedars grow tall.

and if you’ll believe me, you’ll see that my home is bigger than anything money can buy. the corners of my home lie wherever the love of my people allow me to be. i love to live with all my might. my heart beats so that i can laugh and sing with my tribe. this is how i am able to be here, in this strange and changing world…my people are my home.

eat your heart out, donald trump. with empty pockets, i am rich.

a little “once upon a time”

from a letter not too very long ago…

it may just be the way things are. you know that saying? i heard it a lot from older men when i was a younger man. now i say it. when i think about it, it seems to be kinda taoist. so maybe there is some natural tao in every old man, in every man growing old…and i guess that includes every man. the younger you are the less you want to pay attention to the someone with shaky old hands. chasing all those dreams with muscles bulging out from under a too tight t-shirt is just so much more attractive. but the now is always now and youth is a shooting star.

do you have time for a once upon a time? i’ll keep it short. i caught a memory this morning. from nowhere, it bubbled to the surface and i closed my eyes and let it reel past while the clock flipped and showed 5:42 a.m.  there was this time when i was 15 and my dad and i road all night to the town where he was born. we each road a motorcycle and neither of us wore helmets (they weren’t required back then in the states we road in…so, of course, if they aren’t required…). i didn’t have my drivers license yet, my dad wasn’t worried over stuff like that. he worried over things like whether my heart was given to jesus, after that everything was negotiable. but yeah, we pulled into a little town called redrock in the heart of oklahoma. it was so old. down a road, half paved, and on and on. a sign said “big dip” and there was one. a left and several miles put us in front of an old house with chickens and several dogs, the woods beyond hummed with the early morning sounds that can only be found in oklahoma. the old pond. everything wrapped in pre-dawn blue. it was cool. there was a light on in the kitchen and i saw a woman. my dad said that it was his old aunt. an old indian man stepped out on the porch and his hair was white and he had on suspenders and horn rimmed glasses. uncle edgar. i stayed for a week with them and it was the only time i would ever see any of them. they are long dead and i imaging the house still sits at the end of that road…for sure it does in that blue morning memory that came to me in the dark…..

that’s it…t.

my brother, my blood, my dear-heart

when my brother, josh, was born, i was 9. i asked my mom when he would start talking. to me, there was a lot of value in holding a conversation with someone, even if it was just talking about how mean my older sisters were or how fun summer was. so, you know, i really didn’t have much use for him until he could speak…like, words, none of this ga ga ga bullshit.

when josh was kicked out of his second high school for fighting i was home from college. i talked with him and then i went in front of his school board and asked them to give my kid brother another chance. they gave it to him. he stayed out of trouble and finished. i got josh hired on a concrete crew and we worked together. he was only 16 and tough and skinny as a rattlesnake. one of the lead men on the crew started picking on josh because  he was young, i punched the guy in the mouth. we were promptly fired.

josh has never needed me to defend him. he’s always been a scrapper. he’s always been loyal to the ones he loves. tough, quiet, lean and honest–that’s josh. and then my kid brother met a lady and they were married and then a little boy and then another and wrinkles and years and losses and birthdays and life. years later, when i finished my time in the marine corps, he hired me. i worked for him as a carpenter. he watched out for me and helped me learn the trade. he became my teacher. i didn’t stay, i never do. i left the country for a year and when i came back he was there, with his family, to feed me. josh never forgets.

his boys love me. i’m that uncle; covered in tattoos, smelly from wood fires, cussing too much, secret bags of tools for making all kinds of things, drawings and pencils, bones, rocks and the color of the sun.  they would take me to school for show-and-tell if they could. they are my little brother again. i look at them and i fill up. when i think of harm coming to them my heart pinches off and my head swims.

i was so cocky when i had less years. so damn arrogant. i spouted on about my grand schemes. i shouted at the government and i shouted at the preachers. i ran away to the woods and stared into fires at the very farthest ends of the roads. i ate what came along and was gaunt in the belly and long haired and fiery as hell. “let the world burn,” i would say, and tip back the bourbon bottle, “let it burn.” funny (not really funny) things happened to me.

a dear friend died. and then another. and then another. and i fell in love and i had my  heart broken. i lost and lost and lost.

when i fell way down–and, oh man, i did fall down–i realized that this was not something new. i was having life happen to me. a friend sent me a poem by Rumi called The Guest House. i read it. oh my, it said some things and i had to listen. it is so easy to be lost in self pity; it’s a dark and tricky forest with trails that circle back on themselves. i read Mary Oliver. i called my brother. he said, “come home, dude.” of course he said that…of course he did.

i am not a guru. i am not even a philosopher. i’m not a wise-guy or a doctor, nor do i have “cum laude” after any title i’ve ever held (and have i ever held a title? hmm, i did win this thing once where you have to hold your breath and…ah, nevermind.) i do, however, have this view on life. it’s pretty simple. life is what we have. that’s it. it’s everything. it’s laughing with your mama. it’s playing pranks on your lover. it’s stopping by a friend’s house and remembering with them after they think everyone has forgotten. it’s staring at the stars and allowing tears because it’s so good. it’s crying 10 years later…hell, it’s crying 50 years later. it’s smiling at a pretty girl and having her smile back. it’s back pain. it’s the sound of sirens too close to your house as you drive home from work and say to yourself, “don’t let it be, don’t let it be.” it’s a healthy baby. it’s a healthy baby crying all night. it’s the tone in the doctors voice when he says he’d like you to stop by his office to talk about the tests. it’s that old guy with the one, white, teary eye and his cup that he holds every morning as people walk past him for their five dollar latte. it’s a perfect sun in the perfect blue on a perfect day in february.

all this. fill up, man. we may have only this one chance, who’s to say?  take what there is and call it wonderful. as for me, i’d give all i got to that kid brother of mine…if he’d take it. he wouldn’t i’m sure, he’d probably tell me to save a little for myself and play with the kids.

a nod to the end of the world

i guess i can talk about this, seems like everyone is these days. this morning i thought about the end of the world. i was eating a handful of kale and sipping coffee and then i was wondering about what “the end of the world” means. is it the end of everything, or just people (after all we are so important, right?)?

i weighed the difference between human extinction and total oblivion. things do seem to be quite a mess. we fight over who’s in charge and what government is best and who’s god is the truth.

and so i decided that i don’t care. that’s right, i don’t care…except for that girl in the health food store that talked to me about kale and smiled so much and said she loved my earrings.

i don’t care…except for my kid brother, who ain’t a kid anymore and who works 70 hours a week but will always pick me up from the airport at any hour no matter what because he’s my friend and he’s just made like that on the inside.

i don’t care…except for that elderly woman that was walking her dog through central park and saw a broken version of me on a park bench, ( me, with long shaggy hair and tattoos and a beard and a shadowy soul) yeah, and she sat next to me anyway and asked me if i would be ok and her wiener dog licked my hand and i said that i didn’t know and she said that sorrows pass no matter how big they are…all this and it was fall and sunny and cold in new york city.

i don’t care…except for little 3 year old (almost 4) ruby reed who calls herself ruby rose because that’s more glamorous and who dances with me to adele and who can eat four (maybe 5) doughnuts on a wednesday afternoon in october.

i don’t care…except for my sister who quit drinking after she crashed and crushed her body and changed her life and became amazing again.

i don’t care…except for big raw-boned Hunter Dahlberg, who looks like he eats nails and could never be hurt but has been hurt so he can know when someone (like say, me, for instance) else is hurt and so he shows his heart and his heart makes you want to heal.

and if smart phones and ipads and macbooks and email and trending and friending and skyping and wifi all go away, we still have each other. and as cynical as i get, i see my reflection in the eyes’ of my nephews. as frustrated as i get at the guy who absolutely must be in front of me before the next traffic light, i know he is human. as fearful as i am of the possibility of my own broken heart, i feel it reaching out for something missing.

so maybe i’m not ready for the end of the world. besides, oblivion seems kind of boring.