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You Can Get Out Any Time You Want

Step on, get in, you are going on a ride. You sit down, wait for the safety rail to come down and when it fails to, you look at the attendant for an explanation.  Safety? he says, You don't need it; you can get out any time you want, and he smiles, because he always smiles and did you see his face slip a little, a fleshmask over something else, something... did you imagine it?  But it is too late now and anyway, you can see that he was right; the way is easy, the track stretches off into the distance and you know it must curve, but you can barely even tell, maybe far off down the line, it turns? The ride is slow, and you remember the attendant telling you that you can get off any time you want to and maybe you do, just to prove that you can, you get out and you walk along, you sit down next to the tracks and watch as the car keeps rolling into the distance.  It is easy here, easy and fun, and you catch up and get into the car again because riding is better than walking. You relax,…
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Rats

The boy walked across the field with his grandpa.  The old man carried a large dented gasoline can, the old timey kind, rounded on the top and probably older than the boy's dad.  The boy liked being around his grandpa, liked his silence and his tolerance of the boy's questions. The boy was quiet for the most part, studious, and curious and interested in learning, so his questions were never the inane kind, but usually of the how does that work, why do you do it that way, can you show me how variety which the old man appreciated and approved of.  The boy liked his time with the old man and he liked when one of his questions would make the old man pause and he could tell he had said something that had made his grandpa think about something in a new way or from a new angle.

 He looked over to their destination, the storage shed, large and dark, filled with the smells he associated with summers out here, dust and grease.  There was something special about the air, the boy had deci…

Hello, My Name Is

My high school class lost another member recently, an exceedingly nice guy that had apparently spent most of his life in service to others by way of being a first responder.  His name was Mike.

In response to this, someone created a KHS class of '96 group on Facebook, and I joined when I was invited, because why not?

People started posting pictures that they had dug out of various closets and photo albums.  Someone posted all the pictures of the senior class from the yearbook, and there I am, in a Minor Threat T-shirt that I happened to be wearing when they were taking pictures of all the kids that didn't get senior pictures.  I never got senior pictures.  They were expensive and we were relatively poor, but that wasn't the reason.  If I really wanted them, my mom would have found a way.  She found a way for pretty much anything we wanted or needed.

I haven't posted any pictures, though I have commented a couple of times when I thought it okay.

Here's the thing. I-

The Terrible Darkness

Out there in the darkness, something is circling us. something cold, something terrible.  It circles us, and sometimes, it takes one of us.
Punks tend to have a short lifespan. We die early, through overdose or violence, through neglect or disease.  And we die of suicide. It happens. Way too often, it happens.
It is patient, this terrible thing, it waits.  We huddle together around the light we created for one another. The thing hates the light, but there is just too much darkness, and the terrible thing whispers, and sometimes, one of us, we listen.
We come to punk in self defense; in many ways it is a reaction, a response to a hostile and uncaring world. Hardly anybody comes to punk as an adult. You don't come to punk because you are well adjusted. You come to punk because you're fucked up. You're fucked up and angry and young, and then you hear a song, and the sound sounds like you feel, and the words speak like you feel, and you realize that someone out there feels like y…

Yeast Party!

The trick to fermenting honey or apple cider, or any sugar really, into alcohol is to set up a yeast party.  What you want to do is set up a perfect place for your yeast, a little yeast heaven, filled with good food and warmth. You want to create a fun, wild, yeast party, one where everyone feels comfortable and happy, where yeast can really chow down on all the stuff you have provided, where nobody makes them feel like a hog if they eat too much or dance too wildly.  Yeast like atmosphere; give them good dim mood lighting and a cozy space and they are down to party for a while.  You want it to be just right. Not too hot, not too cold. If you don't get the temperature right, the yeast don't want to party at all. They just sit down and quit, no small talk, no picking at the snacks, they just shut down. 

I like yeast. I identify with yeast.  Given the right environment, I too like to party.  I also hate it if it is too warm.  I too like being cared for, and provided with the thi…

Always a Cardinal

What I remember most is the laughter.  We stayed up too late, singing Jimmy Buffett songs, and those tragic oldies, Neil Diamond, Bottle of Wine... I remember drinking, and smoking cigarettes, and laughing.

We-

I am feeling-

Maybe I should just state the facts, as if there are facts to state, as if I were capable of just stating them if there were.

I had a friend, and his name was Ben.

Ben died, recently; he was a relatively young man, when it comes to dying, not yet out of his sixties.

When I was sixteen or so, my friends and I would hang out at his house, and our band would play shows and practice in his garage.

He was my friend's dad.

I don't know what to say here, except my feelings are complicated and ever changing.

My friend is dead and I don't even know how to feel.

He was a veteran of the Vietnam War.

He was, and remains, a large part of my life.  He was a huge influence on me. And yeah, my adult self cringes at the idea of a kid drinking and smoking and laughing w…

I, Failure.

Listen carefully, because this is important.

You are going to fail.

There will come a time when you will think it was all for nothing, all of your time and effort, you will think it was a waste.

You will look at all you have accomplished, all that you have done, and you will not feel pride at the things you have managed to do in the face of resistance and adversity, but a numb despair that, after everything, this is all you have to show for it, these shabby relics, these nothings.

You may consider quitting.

Maybe you will quit, you will tell yourself that it isn't worth it, that arriving at the destination is not worth the hardships of the journey. You will try to walk away.

You are going to fail, and if you fail, you are then a failure.

You will be a failure.

Maybe you have had nothing but success up to this point, maybe you begin to believe that the usual hardships have just passed you by, maybe you will begin to think that you are just lucky, or that all the warnings have been …