Friday, August 23, 2002

formed from remembrances
and moments lived
pain denied
joy exploding
and unforgettable acts of tenderness.
appear fully
to disappear, fade away
precious moments later
I comprehend what they
what they
what they
for me

Thursday, August 22, 2002

...his hand brushed slowly - deliberately against the nape of my was odd how he even found his way next to me on the couch - placed between Noah, tears still framing his eyes, and I. In my mind's eye he was still just walking through the front door, it felt like it had been years since I had seen him and with the weight of the day pushing heavily down on both my shoulders and my spirit - he was such a comforting sight.
My hand worked it's way to his knee - a hybrid of touch and accidental resting place - as we talked of Mike there was some shared anger and resentment, there was sadness and melancholy, and intermingled amongst it all were these three friends - side-by-side for the first time in so many months. Walls created, though not always visible - from the break-up and the break-down of communication.

... I didn't cry. I was offering my strength - a life time of knowing how to hold back my tears til I was alone - broadsided only once when Noah held up a teddy bear Mike had given him. He pressed the button on it's furry black paw - filled with some polyester or fiber, wrapping around the wires and tiny recorder beneath - Mike's voice, so fucking surreal - a prerecorded message "Goodnight Sweetheart". A chill climbed easily to my shoulder - when was the last time I had heard Mike's voice while he was alive ? Suddenly the realization that that last time - was the "last" time.

There were other visitors - some there for the same reason - some not. Smiles, jokes to break the tension. I can hold melancholy like a marathon dancing companion when I'm alone - but in front of others - I tell jokes, I laugh things off - I do anything but show what's going on inside. There was flirting, we watched movies and the hours passed. Should I go now ? What about now ? Do I go home and look through photo's, find the one's I'll bring to the memorial. Can I handle that - alone in my house - 3x5 ghosts slipping through my fingers. Where are the photo albums and boxes and pictures - at his house or mine?

Back on the couch - more bravely - I offer my reassurance by tracing patterns on the back of his head - my fingers dancing lighly across his shoulders - how many times had I been here before ?
No malice.
No tension.
We were here in unified sadness.

What if had been he or I ? What if I really lost him - could I live with that, could he?
Was there a message in Mike's death? No note - so what was your message - what would you say about the way we were conducting ourselves at this moment if you could ?

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

I received the rather unsettling and depressing news this morning that my friend Mike took his life.

This news took over a week to get to our circle since Mike moved to Orlando a few months back - odd, you never think in this day and age - that news this grave wouldn't be just a quick call/email/IM away.

So what now?

My mind races...when was our last conversation - last month, right??
Did I make you laugh?
Did I make you smile?
Did I remind you that I loved you?

I remember your going away party - was it three months ago - a couple of weeks before this break-up consumed me. I was so happy for you - I thought the change would be good for you. You didn't want the going away party but it was so nice to see the people who showed up. You insisted on leaving immediately the next day - no Sunday BBQ - you were severing some ties - I could see that - funny how blind I still must have been though, uh? Well, not too funny.

You called Lucky and I after hearing we broke up. You were so geniunely upset by it - crap - did I even ask about you - the last time we spoke - did I even look beyond my own problems during the conversation. I always tried to treat you extra-special, with kid gloves, you always seemed to feel the odd man out : in our circle, at the gym, at the often would I find you alone in the corner, quiet, a gentle waning smile, those huge brown eyes, something about you seemed so fragile - a remember refering to you as a "sad puppy dog" one time - what a fucking ass I am.

Did I make you feel that way? I swear I thought I gave you love - I remember offering my friendship - a message I left you on your answering machine: "Ya know buddy - you could just come to the movies or the bar with me sometimes - you aren't just Noah's friend/boyfriend/ex-boyfriend?" - you were cute about it afterwards. At the gym - you just wanted to be part of it - so four of us would try and get through a routine, I doubt I even hid how much that drove me up the wall and added on to our work-out time. You were at a different end of the lifting spectrum. I tried to spot and encourage you - you always tried too hard - I just worried that you were gonna blow a muscle. Dammit - you stopped working out with us - felt you were slowing us down - did I make you feel that way Mike? Did I make you think it wasn't worth it to have a hug and a smile from you?

I remember your birthday party and double dates and circuit parties and tea dances - you always went home early. I remember the night I pulled up in my shiny new car - we had the windows down - it was a Spring night, Lucky across from me, you and Noah in the back - the four of us drove around, my first passengers in my shiny new car. I wish I could remember what the CD was that was playing - I thought it was Chicane - which ironically enough I bought for the Bryan Adams induced vocals on "Don't Give Up". Is that what happened buddy, you just gave up - sick of feeling sick, sick of feeling tired, were you sick of it all - were you sick of us ? You thanked me afterward for letting you be the first passenger - you hugged me and you told me how much I deserved this and my new found success, you said you knew how hard I had worked - at first I thought you were just in a k-hole, but you really meant it. I remember dropping you guys off and then driving off with Lucky - the love of my life by my side and those words - your words still echoing in my ears as I got home.

My God - did the world turn upside down since that sweet, warm Spring night?

You fucker. You absolute fucker.

I can't say goodbye. I can't say don't do it. I can't ask to help. I can't offer to hug you and tell you to hold on. There were more chapters in the book - there was so much more to read, there even blank pages - pages we could have all written on together: about parties, and barbeques, and boys, and movies, and jokes, and friends...but now they'll just go blank.

You took that chance away from us all.

I'll miss you.



Monday, August 19, 2002

I believe that if stranded on a desert island with John Madden that:

First - he would bore me to death with his never-had-but often thought about love affair with Joe Montana

Second - he would then proceed to tie my limbs together like his freakish Super Bowl Turkey, throw me on a fire and then devour me with 1 bite - 1 gulp - 1 burp

Third - he would then proceed to bore himself to death - but on his final death bed - confuse himself in near-death dementia with the fucked-up Super Bowl Turkey sitting on a bed of greens - and devour himself.

Yeah !!! Monday Night Football - DIE JOHN MADDEN.

Sunday, August 18, 2002

falling backwards - gentle swooping somersaults
deftly performed
by your smile.

I hope today (Monday) is a lovely day for you - perform some aerobatics - curl those lips - perform...a smile. if walking on black ice in downtown Milwaukee after one, two, seven Mandarin & Tonics at Elsa's in the dead of winter (flashback!) I approach the subject of sudden departing, disappearing and reappearing bloggers.

It's times like these that the "real world" with it's face-to-face, tactile, man-handling, hugs and kisses on the cheek, seeing what I look like at 8am on a Saturday morning fresh from bed (well - actually skanky from bed) or drunk at 1am searching the bar for self-assurance, self-recognition and self-confidence, wins out. The friendships I build in that world still come with those wonderful red velvet museum ropes - you know the ones that keep you from ever getting to close to the art - allowing you to see the beauty of the painting (whether it suits your personal taste or not is a different matter) - but not every brush stroke, every color, every detail. I can be guarded and I have some control.

In that "real" world I still risk building friendships with people who may find jobs in other cities, move across town to a bigger house with their new beau or even reach the expiration point of their lives (thank god we don't come with those damn freshness date stamps they now have on beer - wouldn't that freak me out - I EXPIRE when ???!!!!)...but if they do - I still am giving a chance to say goodbye, go to the going-away party, or drive across town (because I would) for the housewarming party or come to the wake and look down at you, tears filling my eyes, but a gentle smile curling across my lips as I think of a private joke.

You see in the real world - even if there is not always warning there is still more time to say goodbye. I don't flip through my links one day to realize that some people went away one day and never came back. I don't just show up at a web page to be confused by a cryptic message or a goodbye note. Leaving me somewhat wounded - a little hurt - and saddened at your loss.

I'm not slamming anyone here. Writing these things is an extremely personal issue for most - and for many it needs to serve a cathartic purpose and just like therapy of any form - sooner or later - it may not be needed. One day all of my jigsaw pieces: Work, Home, Family, Love and Sex may fall effortlessly, perfectly and wonderfully into place...and if they do I hope to write about them...and maybe at that point I may go away. But for me this blog has journaled over a year and a quarter of my life - I have walked back through every entry (some clever, some depressing, some lame, some wonderful) and been enlightened to the good, the bad and the ugly of who I am - and it is the people who have read me, and written me, and cared for me - that have made me feel so very alive - so incredibly connected to something so much bigger than I - the WORLD.

But it is easier in the real world and that's where I think I'll spend the rest of today - with my dog, with my friends, with my thoughts...

...though I promise you I'll be back.