Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Fondly: Catch and Release

June 17, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

 

 

It was the same every summer.

From our first to our last.

It didn’t matter where we were. It didn’t matter who was watching or what lengths she had to go through to do it.

It wasn’t officially summer until she did it.

I remember one in particular. It wasn’t at the beginning, nor close to the end. It was nestled somewhere in the middle, when things could go either way.

Before they went this way.

We sat on the back porch of our home.

It wasn’t the first summer evening we sat out there, drinking good beer and scratching our dog.

Then she saw one.

And then another.

Suddenly our yard was an all-natural, eco-friendly dance club.

There were lightning bugs everywhere—some call them fireflies, but we never did.

I watched her jump out of her chair, and run down to the yard, barefoot and in her PJ’s. She lunged, and then paused. She waited and watched for them to show themselves for that split second.

And then she caught one.

I watched from the porch as she whispered something into her hands, occasionally illuminated through her fingers by the nervous blink of a captive audience.

And then she let it go, watched it fly away and came back to the porch.

As she sat down, she told me, “I named him Herbie. Summer can begin.”

She took a drink, and I looked at her.

This was the part of her I fell in love with.

Sadly, it was just one of many pieces, and we had become very different puzzles.

I still catch a lightning bug every year, whisper a name and let it go.

Sometimes, that’s all you can do with something so wonderful.

 

newestrings

My Blue Heaven, Pt. 1

June 11, 2014

I acknowledge the fact that I’ve written very little as of late.

 

This is for two primary reasons:

 

I’m in the process of curating and revising a book of short stories, essays and poems for a Fall 2014 release. This takes time not to write, but to review what I’ve already done, to coordinate with my editor and designer…

 

But.

 

The main reason, is my reaction to the most current mental funk, manual labor.

 

I’ve lived here for four years now. Every nice day I spend the majority of it out back, sitting on my porch, top step.

 

I write, drink, and play out there. I watch my dogs at their happiest.

 

But I never leave that porch, save to take the trash out to the alley.

 

So I decided to fix that.

 

I love my backyard. It has no trees, but the neighbors do, and that gives me shade, and my dogs room to run and romp and play.

 

So this month has been spent digging, raking, tilling, laying down patio and assembling things.

 

I’m not finished, but I’ve done enough now to sit out here on a couch, typing this blog as Daisy chases lightning bugs and Deuces sits next to me for the ear scritches.

 

Stay tuned. You know I like to share.

 

 

Fondly: It Must Be Love

May 4, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

Madness. It had all fallen into complete madness. A freefall.

 

I had jumped. I needed to for the both of us.

 

It wasn’t always so bad—our life together didn’t begin with such bitter resignation.

 

We used to enjoy one another’s company.

newestrings

We spent our honeymoon in London, or more to wit, inside various pubs of London. Drinking was one thing we still had in common, if little else.

 

It was our last night before returning to reality. We spent it in our favorite local, just down the road from our hotel. We had gotten to know the regulars and bartenders, by face, if not name, through repetition and an open invitation to converse with anyone willing to talk.

hrvys

I bet the wife I could get the bar to serenade her, without asking. The prize, one pound coin.

 

And eternal respect for my charm.

 

I finished my pint, walked to the jukebox and selected the proper song, before making my way  to the bar for a refill.

 

I selected It Must Be Love by Madness. I’m fairly certain everyone in England knows this song.

 

As the song began, I noticed the regulars tapping their fingers, and bobbing their heads, gently to the intro. I began to sing along quietly, just loud enough for the people next to me to hear.

 

When the chorus came around, a burly, bearded old Brit with a cane and a can of snuff stood up and wailed out the chorus with everything he had. His eyes were closed, his face red, his pint was swinging along, spilling onto his had and the floor. That was enough to bring the rest of the bar in for the next chorus.

 

I walked over to the wife and took her hand. She smiled and blushed, a growing rarity as the calendars turned. I lead her to the center of the bar with the drunk, singing patrons all around her. I winked, and rejoined the chorus.

 

I still have that pound coin.

 

What I felt once upon a time; It must be love.

 

Madness.

newestrings2

Fondly: Fumbling in the Dark

November 7, 2013

fndlygrphc

It was dark before he even got home.

 

He, of course, forgot to leave a light on. This meant fumbling in the dark, something he should be used to by now in every sense of the phrase.

 

He didn’t do anything for the first thirty seconds through the doorway. He just stood quietly; his dog jumping in place in the mixed euphoria of his best friend’s return and dinner.

 

He took a deep breath, placed a calm hand on the dog’s head, and sighed before heading to the kitchen.

 newestrings

As the dog inhaled his dinner, he mixed a drink. Carefully—deliberately.

 

Solemnly.

 

The kitchen window had already transformed into a mirror, giving him a darkened, slightly obscured reflection.

 

He looked more disheveled than normal.

 

Usually, it was a part of his charm, but now he just look defeated.

 

Deflated and beaten down.

 

It wasn’t any one thing. It was every little thing. One thing after another, in every part of his life; raindrops collecting in a bucket that was just about full.

 pollbk

He didn’t bother taking off his coat, merely loosening his tie as he walked back to the living room, his dog trailing at his feet.

 

When he flipped the switch to turn on the lamp, he was met with a flash and a pop, followed by darkness. That was his last light bulb.

 

When it rains it pours.

 

He took a drink and sat down, as his dog curled up beside him, head in lap.

 

Left to fumble in the dark until sunrise.

mtchmid

Fondly: Not for me

November 4, 2013

fndlygrphc

She climbed onto the sink, her towel falling to the floor, her back to me.

 

She was putting on her makeup for a show; I was merely admiring the view.

 

She leaned in closer to the mirror to add her eyeliner and fake lashes.

 

I looked at her feet. They were filthy.

 

I had neither seen anyone, nor anything more beautiful in my entire life than in that moment.

 

But she wasn’t doing it for me.

 

And she had no idea what either fact did to me.

mtchmid

Nocturnal Admissions: Kindling at the Ready

September 27, 2013

len1

I have had a rather strange week. Strange only in contrast to the week prior, full of professional oddity and the type of strange that has somehow become my norm.

This was an inadvertent, self-imposed variation of a semi-solitary confinement of sorts. I didn’t try to cut myself off from the outside world, save for brief moments of self-supposed wit and charm via the social satellites of love…

I just did.

I’ve mentioned in recent posts that, save for poems and short chapters, I have been a bit at a loss for words.

It’s not that they aren’t there; there are simply far too many. Far too many unfinished chapters and half-started explorations stemming from a mind that moves faster than the hand, whether by ink or keyboard.

I am, by trade and reputation, an emotional, passionate man. I am learning from experience that I am best admired from afar, lest you see the unavoidable truths of the temperament found within me; found within a complex man in search of simple things.

I am, by trade and reputation, a tornado.

But this week, without planning such, my emotion has been vacant, my passion focused and quiet. There have been brief moments of contentment, longing, angst and melancholy, but they only creep out like a soft light emanating from underneath a bedroom door.

Without trying, I’ve spent the week in a cosmic ambivalence, by and large, shrugging the universe off in trade of simple images that say more than my words ever could.

More than they ever should.

Loud images, in a quiet place, my mind focused on nothing but.

icarus

It is an artist’s burden to feel so damned much all the time. It allows us to display these emotions, explain them, or at least show the world they exist, so they can feel them too.

Or perhaps, know they aren’t alone.

Without, of course, the privileges and benefits of slowly going crazy as a result.

 pen

Emotional ambiguity. To exist in this state for too long is a tragedy for any man or woman. But for me, right now, it’s kind of necessary. Even were it not, I am here nonetheless.

I’ve thought too hard. Longed too hard. Spoke too hard. Loved too hard. Lost too hard.

Sometimes I drink too hard, and perhaps I simply live too hard.

It can make a man tired.

 newestrings2

Sometimes, when I feel everything, I need a little time to feel nothing.

But.

It’s a farce. Deep down, I know better.

Hard as I may try, to stop feeling altogether would be to stop living.

And regardless of how one lives, for this brief moment in time, we are alive.

Perhaps this emotional dissidence is merely a temporary calm before a rather large storm.

The biggest blazes all start with a spark, and I am but kindling at the ready.

mtchmid

Fondly: Grip

August 27, 2013

fndlygrphc

Back on the porch.

The music was on, his dog playing in the yard, running in wild circles, as if it were the first time there. He had stayed inside too long for either of their own good.

It was just too cold.

He always said there was a difference between being lonely and alone, but the former was overtaking the latter. So he hibernated, sharing a jail cell with his thoughts.

He pulled away from everything but work, and even that had become a struggle. He had given in to the blinking lights, unable to tell which voice was his—which thoughts were healthy.

Which thoughts were true.

But his fractured brain, two hands holding tightly to that which it could not change, squeezing as hard as they could, were finally starting to loosen their grip.

Fortunately, it was just before he lost his.

Another season in every sense of the word.

But it was still cold.

And he was still alone.

hldymid

Fondly: From the mourning

August 22, 2013

fndlygrphc

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”

 

She whispered it over and over again in my ear, neither of us letting go.

 

Neither of us able.

 

It was the dead of winter, the point that beats down the last of us standing, driving us inward—driving us down. It was overcast inside as much as out, as nothing but gray crept into the bungalow through the curtains. The cab idled out front, its lights on, the trunk already open.

 

She had spent her last night with me, not him.

 

That meant a lot. Or at least it meant something.

 

We held tighter, as she continued whispering the same phrase, over and over.

 

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”

 

So many times I started to believe it.

 

So many times I wanted, more than anything, for her to stay.

 

But she had to go, and I was the one who convinced her as much.

 

So I closed my eyes and listened to her mantra, feeling her warm breath in my ear, each word a kiss, each word, mounting proof that ours’ was a tragic tale, more so than a divine comedy, unless it was one of errors.

 

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”

 

newestrings

 

Fondly: Commuting to the apocalypse

August 8, 2013

fndlygrphc

It was just beginning to rain. Light, gentle. It barely got him wet. The overcast sky seemed to fit his mood. Apathetic and indifferent. He sighed, then unlocked his car door.

He didn’t start the engine right away. He just sat there, looking straight ahead, the street already devoid of neighbors’ cars by virtue of the daily commute.

He would not be talking to her throughout the day. He would not see her after work. They wouldn’t snuggle up on the couch together watching something mindless, more background for the togetherness than a form of entertainment.

He was alone, and it scared the crap out of him. He had never been alone before in his life. But he had a feeling he had better get used to it.

mtchmid

He took another deep breath and sighed again before starting the car and joining the other worker bees. He left the radio off. He never moved in silence.

There was already enough noise in his head.

The rain began to pick up as he got onto the highway, but he didn’t turn on his windshield wipers. He didn’t care. He watched the drops getting bigger, falling harder.

But he didn’t care.

Then he closed his eyes. He wasn’t trying to die, he just wanted to see if the universe thought differently. He accelerated. He could hear the rain, his engine roaring, occasionally the rough sound of the car hitting the shoulder of the road. He kept his eyes closed and pushed forward, the rain turning into the sound of static in his mind. His heart began to pound.

 newestrings2

But.

The universe didn’t want him that day.

Or perhaps, it merely wasn’t paying close enough attention.

ashtry

Even though we are…

May 13, 2013

rogue

We are but delicate flowers made of candy, subject to the temperament and circumstance of that which we cannot begin to understand through notion.

Through our personal commotion.

mtchmid

We are slaves not only to ourselves—to our personal demons, but the winged creatures that circle the head of everyone around us. We are not special.

Even though we are.

 chp

Fondly: Until he didn’t.

May 7, 2013

fndlygrphc

He usually felt fine.

 

Until he didn’t.

 

It never came for a good reason…usually it was just a matter of too much at once. He’d hit a wall.

 

It was rarely spawned from something tragic, or nefarious, just too much to do, with nowhere near enough time. The more he had to do, the closer he came to shutting down completely, incapable of even the most simple of tasks.

 

He’d begin to feel like a failure. Which lead him to think about past failures, reviewing the tape, as it were, like a quarterback on Monday. Trying to figure out what he was doing wrong.

 

Then, he would spiral.

 

The past would continue biting him in the ass as the future loomed heavy, just another, larger deadline he was going to have to meet eventually.

 

Then he would give up.

 

And accept responsibility for all the wrongs in the world, which he somehow felt were his fault.

 

Suddenly, he was worthless, useless, wrong on every level. Answering the phone or mail brought about an unnatural anxiety, and eye contact was impossible, even with his own pale reflection in the mirror.

 

All he wanted to do was sleep, but he never could.

 

Then, all he would feel was emptiness.

 

Until he didn’t.

mtchmid

Fondly: Corners

April 22, 2013

fndlygrphc

All that was left was to pace the floor chasing old shadows, waiting to find her things in every nook. Her hair bands and bobby pins, pieces of fabric and sequin from her costumes ripped off and left in a pile on the floor, all waiting around every corner.

They used to make me smile and think of her fondly. Even though she was five hours away, these things used to make her feel close.

Now, they were the ghosts of Christmas past, left to haunt my soul for god knows how long. Every space she once inhabited still somehow held a piece of her.

I wanted to curse the heavens, and punch a wall.

Songs I could never listen to again, warm moments made cold.

All that was left was to pace and think, and hope. To hope she remembered the love. The love I gave. A love she would never feel again. Not from the next guy, the guy after that, or anyone else.

Not like that.

Even if it wasn’t enough, it was something.

I wasn’t ready to jump in front of a bus, but were a bus to jump out at me, well, I was indifferent to the idea.

So I paced.

Eventually, rather than fearing what was hiding around all those corners I was going to have to figure out how to turn one.

But not today.

mtchmid

Fondly: Zero Visibility Part 1

April 19, 2013

fndlygrphc

What it really boiled down to was this.

I had never been in love. I had loved, but I had never been so undeniably in love. The passion—that end of the world feeling of being apart. The pain of the truest yearn.

Desire in its most honest attire.

I really didn’t know what to do, how to feel, other than like a man atop a building who truly believed he could fly.

And now I was jumping off the ledge to find out.

I was driving through storms for this. I squinted my eyes and did my best to get there as quickly as I could without dying.

newestrings

It was done. It was actually, officially done.

I threw my life in boxes, bribed my friends with pizza, beer and pure desperation, and created my own, new world, ready to be filled with this.

We had waited. I had waited. I had to.

I wanted her. Every part of her. From the moment I saw her walk into that bar, my life, I wanted her. Not in the easy, carnal way. I wanted her.

But not like…that. I didn’t want to be that guy. She was not the other woman. She was the only woman.

The only one that mattered.

This would not be a small “what if” lurking about in the shadows of my mind just before slumber for the rest of my life. This was a story that was in need of unfolding, whether there was a happy ending or not.

So I waited.

I did what had to be done.

And now, it was done. It sucked. It hurt. It was the beginning of a long, long process to survive.

But now, I could drive through torrential downpours and zero visibility like a man on a mission, with a clear conscience.

I thought about my wife, sitting alone in our house with our dog. Maybe she was crying. Maybe not.

Definitely drinking.

I imagined the house was silent, save for a sob, sigh or spill.

I had never been the one to do the leaving before. This was all new and confusing. This sudden freedom. Being alone to make the choices I wanted, rather than resigning myself to the choices made for me.

But I wasn’t really alone. I had a safety net to break my fall.

It was a two-hour drive…I’d driven longer for less.

I leaned forward, squinted my eyes and stepped down on the gas pedal.

pollbk

Fondly: Brick

April 14, 2013

fndlygrphc

Lately he had been feeling like an outlaw on the run, though he was only fleeing from himself. Seeking refuge in the dark, wishing for the light, he carried on by struggle and force, a natural instinct that left him exhausted most of the time.

He didn’t feel like this because he wanted to, or had to, merely because it’s all he knew these days. He didn’t know why. It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling, just hard to understand…And lately it was a far more regular one. It was becoming the new normal, this season’s new black.

 

Sometimes he wished he could just shut down completely—hibernate like a bear and wake up when it was warm again.

He wasn’t a coward, he wasn’t afraid to try, effort is all he had most of his life, even when it fell unbearably short time and time again.

mtchmid

Every struggle was a brick.

 

Every time a friend told him to keep his chin up, another brick.

 

The closed doors, empty hallways—more bricks, building a wall so high his view of the sun was blocked. A wall so great he couldn’t see the top, and didn’t know which side he was even standing on.

If he could just make sense of it all perhaps he could break down the wall, but even he didn’t understand why he had to feel like this. He couldn’t Googlemap his soul. All he could do was wake up tired, disappointed by the fact he woke up at all, waiting for the night to return so he could attempt to sleep once more.

All he could do was force a smile for the world around him, so nobody gave him another brick.

newestrings

Fondly: Deep Down

April 13, 2013

fndlygrphc

I was sitting on the porch. I’d been back there pretty much since getting home, save for a moment to eat and empty the dishwasher. The weather was so beautiful…so perfect…The sun was starting to set, and the cicadas were singing loudly—calling out and answering to another group off in the distant elsewhere. I wondered what they were saying.

Probably good-bye to the summer.

Earlier, I got lost staring at the sky, still warm and blue, as the clouds rolled by at a low, lulling pace, shifting as they went. I hadn’t really done that since I was a child, sitting in the grass under a tree in the park; the park I played baseball and soccer in, flew kites with my father and sister—the park I would one day smoke cigarettes and have sex in. I just sat and stared at the clouds, finding the shapes and silhouettes of dragons, a drowning man, a bear and a lonely hand reaching out towards the sun.

My dog was keeping himself entertained behind me, occasionally getting distracted by a twig, or the sound of another dog off in the distance, calling out to anyone who would listen. We played fetch for a good long while,  him panting and wagging his tail and smiling. It had been a nearly perfect evening.

All that was missing was her.

 
Deep down, I knew it wouldn’t work. She wasn’t going anywhere, and neither was I. But when I tried to imagine life without her, it left me feeling empty. I felt a yearning. I felt what I had always hoped I would feel for my soon-to-be ex wife, but somehow never did.

It was nothing I was used to, but perhaps, something I had always wanted—needed.

I wanted a spoon. I wanted to feel like I wasn’t going it alone. I wanted to have someone’s back, who had mine. I wanted to cook together, eat together, shop together. I wanted to wake up to her.

Not to someone. Her. Every morning.

I wanted to know I was all she needed. I wanted to be that.

But deep down, I knew better.

mtchmid

Fondly: Tracks

April 11, 2013

fndlygrphc

He saw it coming, like a train off in the distance, lumbering, rumbling, roaring toward him, smoke billowing, as moans and screams rose up like an echo.

But he dared not step off the tracks. He dared not look too long nor dwell upon the earth as it began to move ever so slightly beneath him. Instead, he turned around and stared off in the other direction, at the open tracks, the blue skies, the silver clouds hanging like half-dead helium balloons up ahead.

He stared miles off in the distance, and did his best to keep his balance, as he walked.

Looking back only reminded him of what was coming. Knowing he was about to be struck down would only make it hurt longer—hurt more.

And stepping off the tracks was out of the question, for without them, he knew not where he was headed.

He only hoped there wasn’t another train, just around the bend.

tw

Oh Look! A Puppy!

May 17, 2009

My best friend is a heartless bastard.

It’s true.

He doesn’t beat up senior citizens or drown orphans or anything drastic and obvious. On the surface he seems quite normal and content. But skulking around the fringe and beneath the surface, he’s a heartless bastard. His soul is as black as a coal miner’s lungs.

My best friend is a heartless bastard because he doesn’t like animals. At all.

He didn’t even cry at the end of “Old Yeller”.

His is a pet free world, and that will never change. No dog nor cat nor ferret will ever grace his home, or enter his heart. His child will never have so much as a gold fish.

It’s hard to trust someone who doesn’t like animals. That’s probably why every president has had a pet of some nature, usually a dog. Had I known that my best friend had such an aversion to all things cute and fuzzy, we may never have become friends in the first place.

I learned he was born without a soul after it was too late.

I’ve asked him on more than one occasion why he has such a deep-rooted disinterest in animals. He never gives a straightforward answer, usually mumbling something incoherent about a dog named “Peanuts”. In the tenure of our friendship I’ve managed to piece together a tragic tale revolving around the family wagon, a Cocker Spaniel named Peanuts and a metaphorical farm.

His aversion to animals might stem from a sleepless night in South America spent laying on a mattress which he discovered, mid-way through the night, was infested with rats. To this very day he can’t watch a Speedy Gonzalez cartoon, or set foot in Disney World without breaking into a cold sweat, and possibly wetting his pants.

Me, I love animals; more than humans. I’d take a bullet for my dog Bodhi without a moment’s hesitation. It’s those big brown eyes, and the way he cocks his head and perks up his ears when I talk to him. I love the pure unbridled joy he has when I return home from a hard day’s work, or a 15 second foray to take out the trash–No matter how long I’ve been gone, he’s always happy to see me.

And no matter how long the journey, or hard my day has been, I’m always happy to see him.

Yes, I’m that guy.

Let’s not sugar coat it; I’m a fairly angry, bitter old man. I’m that guy who’s always cursing under his breath. I quit smoking, and drive a car with no horn through horrible traffic daily. I come home hating the world, and most of its inhabitants nearly every day. But the moment I cross the threshold from the trials of being a grown up into the comforts of my home it all washes away. Because he’s there waiting for me, tail wagging fervently. He takes it all away– The evil forces conspiring against me fade away in the wake of a minute  when I scratch Bodhi behind his ear.

They say petting a dog adds years to your life. Research has shown that heart attack victims who have pets live longer. Dog owners have lower blood pressure and fewer stress-induced aches and pains.  But more importantly, they make us feel safe and unconditionally loved.

Even looking at a puppy is enough to pull me out of the stygian darkness my waking life oft becomes.

If everyone would carry a photo of a puppy around, perhaps there would be no need for prozac. Some dumb bastard cuts you off, and just before your justifiable road rage starts boiling to the surface you hear your passenger say, “Oh look, a puppy!” Moments later your anger subsides as you look into the eyes of a cute little puppy dog.

I know it would work for me.

If my wife kept a picture of a puppy in her purse, I would probably never argue about politics with my father-in-law, or abuse obscene finger gestures while driving, ever again.

My boss comes down on me for no reason?

ppy1

Gas prices Soaring?

ppy2Republicans?

ppy3Nothing in the news but stories about Octo-moms, Pandemics, Socialists, and the end of the world? (Leonard Bernstein!!!)

ppy4Evil forces slowly conspiring against me?

ppy5
It doesn’t matter what the event, large or small; end of the world, or just the end of another unfulfilling day, a puppy can change a grimace into a grin…

Unless, like my best friend, you’re a heartless bastard.