From work will set me free, to the truth will set you free.

March 20, 2019 at 9:44 pm (My Marriage, Uncategorized)

I was afraid. More afraid, in retrospect, than I had been in some time. She was angry and I had no idea what would come next. She had been quiet for a few hours, in and of itself not a bad thing; but she had opened a bottle of wine. I knew then there would be a problem. I tried to offset the danger with kind words—all of which were shrugged off. I even started hoping that she would drink faster and maybe the rage would have subsided before it was midnight. We were not out, so that minimized the threat of physical pain. Something she preferred in public where she knew I could not respond, or leave.

Once   started there was no reprieve, no space, no ground to give and no place to hide. Nothing was off limits, a form of unrestricted warfare better suited to the Great War. Pure hatred manifested in the woman that I loved. From these moments I understood both extreme depression and the idea of a demonic possession—all in the features of her face. I chose to believe that it wasn’t her. How could it be her, without contradictions we are forced to find the misplaced premise—what was mine?

This was becoming routine, one upon which my life crashed against time and again under the shifting sands of her various triggers. Triggers that would justify any action. Without regrets she would tear into my very being, my family, friends, character; all were subject to castigation. For over a year I dug deeper into the perpetual cycle only now recognizable as control and manipulation. Over a year of increasing isolation—I was alone, friends, family and my principles abandoned in the hopes of appeasement. Forever reproaching myself to save me from the inevitable renunciation of who I was for her needs. The illumination of hindsight showed me the exploitation, laid bare the control, and the depths in which I had fallen.

I was afraid of the truth. The truth that what I was involved in was not love. A phone call to a friend, sometime just before the end, laid bare this fact. In the back of my mind I knew what I was dealing with could not be typical. It didn’t matter how many times I was told that it was ordinary. “Call your friends and ask, they will tell you, it is normal.” Friends who she had already stated were horrible spouses, and in marriages that had failed. She had set the conditions for the trap. I also knew deep down that if I called, they would tell me that it wasn’t right. I did not want to know. I hid from the truth for with the truth I would be forced to act. It would have been the final break between who I had been, and the person I had become.

Then it happened; I was drowning. My insecurities had reached their final resting point, somewhere between life and death. I called a friend only to hear how amazing his life was. A family with children and happiness. The call started as all calls do—pleasantries of hello, generalities that are the grease of conversations. It opens for the subtilties of a deeper connection. A friend of many years saw through the forced small talk and stated “you don’t sound all that great brother.” Light hints at what had happened, things that had been said or done, over a cell phone as I walked the streets of Monterey. He asked me if I understood what I was saying—what it was I was experiencing. I said no, and then again, no. I wasn’t ready to hear the truth. His response—Abuse. That was the first time it was said out loud. My response was, “I know.” So natural, it just sprung up from somewhere inside, I had known, I knew. Now what?

I became withdrawn, more than just sullen. A condition that was more on the inside than on the outside as my spouse required the presentation of happiness and spontaneity—even when none existed. It was once again more important to look right than be right. I know that my response was not assertive and kind, it was passive and meek. A condition that I had resigned myself to in order to keep peace. Of course, it never brought peace. Much like my first firefight, I would relive every choice and decision over and over; to find the fault of my actions. Had I been more assertive, had I been more caring, had I said I love you one more time. It had to be me, my past, my statements, my failures as a man, as a person, and as a husband. It was the final point of despair, the recommittal to the belief that it was my fault while simultaneously knowing that it wasn’t.

I broke a short time after that. Knowing the truth of the situation and knowing that there was no way to fix it. I broke on the inside. In a way that none of my military training had done, I broke. I placed the complete failure and loss of who I was in an empty bottle of scotch which I emptied from sunup to noon. Clutching the bottle, I wondered my house muttering to myself, crying, demurely laying waste to all the lies in which I had lived. Reciting every act, every threat, every devaluation, every cut and blow that had laid me down. My mantra in repetition, a compilation of all my faults and mistakes. I repeated to myself everything she had ever said to me about my friends, parents, and me. I even repeated to myself over and over that I was a murderer for the actions I took in Iraq and other locations. All of the fractures and injuries of my being, no mater how small were voiced. All of the pain of failure, of love, of despair came from the deepest part of my being and entered the empty spaces of a shattered home.

I woke up in the kitchen for just a minute, as I had passed out on the floor. I was covered in items from the fridge, I was watching my spouse pour ketchup on me while calling me names. In my stupor, covered in ketchup and mustard and cheese and whatever else was there, I said to myself I deserve this. This is what I get for being week. For being all the things that she had ever said. And I slipped back into sleep. That was the end of who and what I had become; for all intents and purpose I had ceased to be a person, let alone a man—there was nothing left to give. She had asked for my sacrifice, and gladly I laid down on the alter of her making. Only to find that it wasn’t enough.

The pain woke me up much later in the evening. She had left at some point, as she did from time to time. Never telling me where, just gone. I would text to ensure that she was ok, to state my love for her. Not tonight, tonight was different. It was the end, or the beginning. It depends on which version of me you ask. I was forced to choose between the “thing” that I had become, or the man that I think I once was. Each day became a chance to gain just a millimeter back, not in defiance of her, but rather in defiance of what I was. She could see the changes, or at least sense them, and with this the pressure increased, her temper exacerbated. She shifted from attacking me, to those that I cared about, even those that were or should have been off limits. The untouchables in my life, my mother became a C-word, my friends became gay miscreants cheating on their wives with me and other men, my father became an abuser, and a number of others.

Those were the good days. Those were the days that I knew it was wrong. It was the weekly assaults on my credibility as a man that were tough. Tough because where I was once strong and had been weakened to the point of believing them. I knew that I could not sexually please her like her old boyfriends. I knew that she loved her ex-husband more than me, and her ex-boyfriend more than me; I knew this because she told me so. I was learning to accept that it was a lie. That the faults of mine where the workings of her own concerns. That it was a mirroring of sorts, recognizing that what was being said was what was on the inside. It made me ashamed of who she was. The love I had for her began to erode. And these days were just, ok, not bad.

Bad was when she hurt me, when she gripped my side in public until I bled. Broken computers, hate speech, midnight rants to friends of all of the above, the constant threats. The legal threats, the threats on my life, the threats on my friends and their lives, families and careers. All ending in a conversation with our therapist, where she laughed about threatening to tell my commanding officer that I physically abuse her. She laughed and the therapist laughed—this should have been more concerning than what it was at the time. Even as I was convinced to sit back down, I should have recognized that the system would be set against me. From the therapist room to the courts, she would have the advantage.

The realization that I still had no control was a devastating moment. I should have known it much sooner than I did, but I had grown to love the one that hurt me. As I could not admit to the abuse, nor could I admit to the loss of control. Even as she sunk her nails into my side, in public, daring me to do something so that she could call the police for. I dreamed that I was an equal in the relationship—or at least maybe I deserved it. I will always remember the feeling of helplessness when she sexually assaulted me against my will. Yes, I had the power to stop it, physically—but not emotionally. I gave in, capitulated in a number of varied situations. I was damaged to the point where I believed that the only way to say no was to use physical force—of which I was terrified, given the conditioning of labels like murder and PTSD—or to pretend it didn’t matter.

As if the abuse before wasn’t dangerous, as if there could be level of tolerance, scratching but not punching, asshole not faggot, as if character had a limit on its defamation; she added a new level of threats. Before the final joint therapy session, she began to have me followed. While in Ohio she tracked my phone. Then while I was in D.C., her friends went as far as to grab bar receipts. Old friends that I had dinner with became the subject of new attacks and threats of subpoenas. After moving back to D.C. my car was broken into–the police have only one suspect—and a Private Investigator waited for me outside of my front door. In a desperate act she called my parents and told them secrets of my life—things I am not proud of, mistakes, transgressions and experiences from the war. This phone call forever changed my relationship with my own family. Following this she then began to take my life apart piece by piece.

By the time we were not living together it was just shy of three years, including our courtship. In the first month of separation, and almost a year into therapy, I would call every day and ask how she was doing, ask about her search for a job. I would ask if she needed anything. She would rarely ask for anything, but would instead fall back into some minor attack, some statement of my reputation in D.C. It was clear even then that it was the reputation that she cared about, and the less I cared the more frustrated she became. It was then she emptied over half of our assets, then late in the middle of the night, after being paid she took almost a month’s income. She then called my work after trying to blackmailing me into paying even more monies to her. She even reached out to powerful senators in Washington to continue the attacks against me. She found a friend of mine, turned much earlier by the lure of sex and her adoration, who advised me that I was wrong.

It was in this moment that I realized that I needed help. Not just the therapy that had remote diagnosed her with Border Line Personality Disorder, but a lawyer. For years she used legal jargon and threats to stop me in my tracks. Her legal expertise has yet to be proven; yet as I have none, I found security in the services of a boutique law firm. My attorney was able to turn what seemed insurmountable into the normal, the day to day. Calming my fears with promises of safeguarding my position. Armed with my own growth, a therapist, and a lawyer I was able to bring control and order back to my life. As much control as I wanted to believe I had reclaimed, I knew, and will forever know, that my position is built on the infirm ground of a system that will not recognize the abuse that I received. As I needed out, the negotiations would be skewed in her favor even as she waited for almost over a year to respond to my plea for a divorce.

Over the next year while living in the middle of Africa I was able to reclaim my financial stability. I spent the year reducing the threats to smaller problems; I was able to plan, coordinate, seek out help and minimize her affects on my life. After a year of delay and indifference she is now participating in the divorce process, once again throwing accusations, and threats. She is now asking for the money I have made since leaving, all the while with no ability to answer the very specific question of “how do you want this to end.” It is possible that she has yet to decide that it should end. Fortunately, I have a year a healing, a year of help, a year of distance and a reaffirming of my right to exist. From this position I am once again as (presumably) unbreakable as I was when I went combat, passed selection for special forces, or graduated ranger school. In reality I am stronger, and more compassionate, than I ever was.

The recovery was not easy, nor fast. The complete loss of self-esteem and the need to rebuild from scratch is a daunting task. My fortune comes from family, and extended family of close friends that raced in to fill the gaps of my life that were lost in my marriage. With a quickness they depended on me, asking questions, advice, and help; in things so small and at times so large that it forced me to dig deep in my expertise and confidence. To be brought back into the fold. To be forgiven, or told that I need not be forgiven at all. These men, and women upon whom had accomplished immeasurable feats, needed me. Or were at least kind enough to need me for those moments.

It has been over a year, in fact almost two years of recovery and over a year of divorce. I am a better man, and happier than I have been in a long time. I forget the damages done, and am only now just free as the Military has finally stopped indulging my ex in groundless investigations. I have started a new life and am not afraid or angry at women, though I have found it hard to trust. I am looking forward to my next adventure as I return to the states from East Africa and get ready to travel to North Africa.



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A Response to D.H. Lawrence

September 21, 2017 at 11:35 pm (Uncategorized)

Oh how a wild bird must feel;

For I am not such a bird.

I have cried in the deepest recess a man can find;

I have shuddered, rolled-over and pushed away the day.

The sweetest taste followed only by the bitterest of longings!

Oh how it must feel to be such a bird;

To die never having felt sorry for itself.

I am not such a bird.

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September 4, 2017 at 5:52 pm (My Marriage, Uncategorized)

I used to tell her “smile, its ok.” Sometimes I would shorten the command to just one word “smile.” I never understood her displeasure with this form of motivation. I couldn’t make the leap she tried to share with me that it was the epitome of my male privilege to tell her that she should be happy. It had been used or directed at me for most of my youth. Maybe my parents assumed that I should just be happy. Maybe my lack of a smile was a judgment or grade of my parents’ skills. Though, I never thought that when I would grin from ear to ear and say, “smile” to her. My prodding was an attempt to lighten the darkening mood that I would find her in. Socially, the same command was used, in public at times, though I do not remember ever shouting the word as a command. But non-the-less in the world around us I would ask her, beg of her and at times order her to smile. My continued prodding failed each and every time to secure the response that I so intensely desired. I tried changing the approach over time, yet found myself falling back on the most simplest of words.

In retrospect and with the barely scratched glasses of hindsight I have found that perhaps it was me who should have been smiling. That maybe that alone would have been enough. This of course leads you to the slippery slope, which is logic, right to the conclusions that my lack of strength was and is the reason that she could not find happiness with me. Where did my smile go? My friends will not dismiss my sarcastic side and my less that optimistic side, but they would have told you to a man and woman that I was going to grin at every opportunity. So where had my smile gone? I will not attempt to answer that question in the next page or so, nor will I play the victim, even thought the reading could be quite enjoyable. Instead I want to tell you about a vacation, an island, and a birthday party. Though not for me, it turns out that I might have walked off with the best gift possible. By now you must know what I found—a smile.

The pessimism and sarcasm in my life over powered my better angles and left me wondering with my head and eyes towards the ground. It was a beating that those pour creatures could not bear and they succumbed to the abuse, shackled and chained over time, the bonds as formidable as any trial that I had faced in my past. From this position, I found that the opportunities to smile, to truly embrace happiness where fading. Oh, I smiled, as I told others to do so. I picked my head up and did as I have told numerous others in their times of need. I got up each morning, made coffee, put my clothes on and continued to work as hard as I could each and every day. I told myself that I could work my way through this impending crisis only to find that the crisis never ended. I smiled as adults do, as the down trodden, as those who contemplate way worse endings than that of which I will find—a smile without happiness.

This was what I had when I landed in Puerto Rico. I used it as I toed the waters of kindness. I threw it out and assumed, wrongly, that I was receiving the positive responses that I remember, but then again what could I have remembered. My life from before was separate, cut off and left behind. My identity, friends and even at times my family were compartmentalized and removed for my self-preservation. And yes, here again we will avoid the slipper slide towards the obvious response. Why is it that we have friends, family or an identity if not for the sake of self-preservation? It is as close to a drowning man believing that the life jacket will weight you down.

Salt breezes, crashing waves, fine sand and a relentless sun greeted me each and every morning. I saluted all that I saw with a cup of coffee in one hand and book in the other. I would, in a weeklong ritual as spiritual as a first communion, great the day each morning, read my book, and patiently await some of the best friends that a man could ever ask for. Like the island I was visiting, I disconnected from the world that I had left, news, emails, and even my phone were sacrificed for the opportunity to worship along the beach, to paddle the luminescent coves and to dine with the company of whom all smiled on impulse. It was disconcerting at times to see how fluid and natural their happiness was, their interactions—all without blame, without each phrase being taken personally in the way that I had come to expect.

I am not slightly off topic. I practiced happiness and smiling with my friends, with the bar tenders. When I was uncertain I was doing it right, I practiced with the pool, with the ocean, and on occasion with the books that I was reading. At night I was patient and would look and find Orion along the horizon, his arms held high with the lion and the club. I would look to him, as I have for all of my life for a sense of strength and purpose. He shouted down at me the answer that I had needed. The heavens did not provide me with the herculean tasks that I had come to expect, but rather a clarity of purpose, using the simplest words, was and still is “to live.”

At this point I could hear in my mind the thousand times I had said this phrase, or had this phrase said to me; “smile.” The physical representation of living fully to me was the same. It echoed in my head and without thought, and slowly, my grin formed and widened. The cosmos had answered me, through the crashing roar of the waves, past the blinding glare of the sun, and the omnipresent winds. In the most clearest of voices possible and contrary to the work of Christopher Hitchens the cosmos shouted down to me to smile, to live, to remember. And surely enough I did. Without difficulty it came to me, without pressure I used it, and with the greatest of joys I found it in the response of those around me. I could see the light reflected off their faces and back to me. I smiled and found myself living again.


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The Americans

September 16, 2014 at 8:03 pm (Uncategorized)

Three and ten years ago our nation was stricken a terrible blow; one that altered the course of the world. Not since the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor has a singular event so shaped and forever changed the world. Today some among us ask what power has she left? For thirteen years the United States has exhausted every resource at its disposal to oppose those who reveled in the travesty of September eleventh. I will not claim justness in the actions that occurred since that fateful day; but I will claim justice in spirit upon which it was delivered. With a swiftness the United States crashed into the Middle East setting a blaze one of the largest and most transformative events in the region since before the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Today these events are still transpiring and from their ashes has risen a new power; one that is decidedly set against not just our way of life, but the very fabric of our humanity.

The world, and some at home question the willingness or capability of the United States to answer the call to arms. Some have gone as far as to say that she is now quietly ignored like a child at the adults table. It would be slapdash to forget that for over a hundred years the United States has answered these calls in support of any friend and to oppose any foe. Though the trumpets of the doubtful, and the commentary of the nay-sayers rings loud across the airwaves and on our television sets, it is the quiet call that we miss from around the globe asking for our support. From those in the pacific-rim struggling though natural disasters to the trapped souls on the sides of mountains in Iraq; their voices share stories that make you proud to see the Stars and Stripes fly above every school and courthouse across the land. We as a service and a nation have answered MacAurthur’s daring call to bring hope to places where hope is forlorn.

With some haste we pulled away from the fire that is spreading across the Arabian Peninsula and with measured patience we are wadding back into the same storm. To those who look across the seas at us, be reminded that the reach of the United States has no limits. And for those at home, never forget that soft power is nothing more than the amplification of real power; of which we still have plenty. Let no one doubt the resolve of the American People for the men that I have met and have had the honor of calling friends, brothers, comrades-at-arms have paid a ransom to the boat man and yet still stand tall and sure when they speak clearly just five words. “Here I am, send me.”

On this modern-minted-hollowed day just thirteen years ago the New York skyline—a testament to the world’s future—was scarred horrifically by men misguided by the desire to uphold an identity that is as false as the world has ever seen before. These men and their faiths under appreciated the resolve of a nation and a people. They were and are unable to grasp what it means to be free, to be American, to be part of the world’s humanity. And though I will not dare try and tell you what it means to be an American. What I will share is what it is not; it is not a nation that will sit by and watch others suffer, nor is it a nation that will forget that fateful morning and what it means to have glimpsed the fear that others live in continually.

The United States, to her credit, has yet to rip the poem from the base of the Statue of Liberty, her towering presence still screams out hope and steadfastness to the weak, wretched and huddled masses yearning to breathe free. And from these people, the Americans, no challenge has been un-met, no obstacle not overcome, no goal not reached; so to shall it be today. That when she decides she has seen enough of this travesty they call The Islamic State, the United States as she has time and time before, will reach her colossal hands across the world and smite those who would see her ideals burned to ashes. With a vengeance our young men and women will storm across the world armed with the most powerful weapon in the United States arsenal; righteousness.

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Coastal Rant…

June 19, 2014 at 11:53 pm (Uncategorized)

I am alone on a boat, locked into my own private island; swift brown water to separate me from the rest of those who would claim my time and attention. Lost among the metallic chimes of the marina and consumed by the problems of a confusing electrical system of a boat. Hoping that the red in the mirror is the start of a tan rather than a burn, hoping that the new electronics package are plug and play. For years I have claimed the hoping is not a method; yet, i seem to be quite reliant on it every day here beneath the costal stars.

The stars are everywhere, and yet nowhere at once, as they dance across the night sky ducking behind the curtains of clouds the drift over head. I swing from my hammock stretched out underneath the boom starring up at the sky, and wondering the familiar musing of whom else is also starring up at the same stars. From the deserts of Iraq to the coast of Carolina I have taken comfort, as our forefathers have, from the constellations above.

The first day is always the worst, as you try to hang on to your worldly attachments—messaging, emailing, and sending pictures of what you find to be sublime. It is even hard to sleep on the boat the first night, your body rejects the calming of your mind, rejects the simplicity from which it find pleasure. By the second day, your mind and body begin to embrace the new reality, one in which the ocean breeze is barely strong enough to stave off the sweat of humidity. As my mind rejects the complexity of life in shore i cant help but to find myself contemplating a life of tough work along the waterways of the coast. Days spent bent in toil under the sun, and nights relaxing in waterfront taverns.

Tomorrow I will push away from the bonds of hard ground and sail out into the blue. Pushing only far enough to strain the boat, like stretching before a long race; hoping to find where it will hurt before you injure yourself. The will push Morgan’s Folly into the wind and feel her strain under the weight of the wind and the tides. I will bend her to my will and take to sea like the adventures of old. Searching for my lost treasures. I will find them in the plow of the waves, I will find them in the grain of the hull, and creak of the rigging. I will bend with the boat to the wind and cut the waves with her bow. Tomorrow I will be free, even if it just for a moment. Afterwards I will reward myself with music and scotch as all adventures must, so that I might have a forum to tell these tails of the sea.


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November 22, 2013 at 12:52 am (Uncategorized)


Like Alexander and Pompey before me,

I go searching for a guide.

The stones of Delphi sits silent as I am forced to face the future,

my future.

Delphi opens wide her ancient chasm of pythian vapors,

she deafens me with her silence.

I hear only the drop of a tear in which holds my reflection.

Would Alexander be as calm, I think not.

No woman stands before me for my Neronian revenge.

In the ruins of Apollo’s dragon, its stony broken teeth raised to the sky.

Oh, Delphi how you sit silent!

I gather the strings of fate up into my hands.

Oh, how way leads onto way.

And I pull tighter on the meridians attached to my own ends.

Searching for my own Ipseity.

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Not Waving but Drowning

May 2, 2013 at 2:20 am (Partly Truth and Partly Fiction, Question: Are you where you thought you would be in life?, Question: We live the lives we choose, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Nobody heard him, the dead man,

But still he lay moaning:

I was much further out than you thought

And not waving but drowning.


Poor chap, he always loved larking

And now he’s dead

It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,

They said.


Oh, no no no, it was too cold always

(Still the dead one lay moaning)

I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning.


-Stevie Smith

I close my eyes and try and remember the day I committed suicide. What was once fresh and easily distinguishable has blurred to another random sentence in the book that is my life. How can one person be both the victim and victimizer? How tight are the bonds that hold humanity together? For my simple act made me the aggressor towards others who deemed my life forfeit for their own comfort.

Though there are as my types and reasons for suicide as there are the multitudes on the earth. This but the silent majority, the ones that shock us when their story ends in ash, have a narrative that is as tragic in its ending as it is in its typicality.

Many years ago, before consciousness, something must have happened, something must have been done, or said. Maybe it was you, maybe your parents, or maybe even the world. But with such lessons, at such age, there is no recovery. Failed lessons become reinforced; and way leads onto way. Without realization you are forever marked. You are so young when you realize that something is wrong; that something is not functioning right within your body. You move forward unable to share this feeling with others because you can barely describe it yourself. By the time you are able to recognize that the buzzing noise that relentlessly drowns out every other feeling is pain, pain that threatens to drown you, it is too late. You immediately look up and out to all of those who pass by daily. For so long you just assumed it was natural, that it was normal to feel this way. Its when you choose to look for it in others that you become scared. All of the other children look back absent of the pain you wish you could share; and you just can’t understand why they do not feel the way you do. Their happiness seems to span the constant tic-tic-tic of the clock, and yours is only for the moment, lost as soon as it is found. How is this possible, what could possibly be wrong with you.

Deep unsettling despair descends upon you, and now instead of being suffocated you are drowning. Looking around you see no one else struggling and you go out of your way to hide it. And every night you pray to your gods and family that it will end tomorrow, that tomorrow will be the day that you wake up and your body works correctly; to be like everyone else. It is these early years that you dream of being normal, that you dream of being like those who seem to have it so easy. This is before the scarring, this is while you are still teaching yourself how to be strong in the face of all that is clearly wrong. Each night you convince yourself that it will be better. You can only lie to yourself for so long and then it changes, you convince yourself each night that you are strong enough to endure. Yes, right here is where the world fails to take notice. It is this moment, this change, that the outside worlds of influence, leadership, love and concern cease to be the defining factors in you life. Self motivation prevails, and with this self induced strength comes a pride. Though the pain only deepens, and the waters pull you under with more strength, you now accept it as a part of who you are, for as much as you want it to be different you demand the pain as a part of your very identity.

Somewhere in this struggle you will attempt to match the outside world with the one on the inside. Most will hurt themselves in a futile attempt to make what is felt rational. If I am hurt, then I should feel pain; but, the pain will stay and the hurt will go away. This mantra will be repeated again and again with similar ends. They will cut at themselves for the momentary relief, and the scars left will only serve to remind them of how much it still hurts. Others will commit to their most base objectives in an effort to relieve this pain even for a moment. Sexually, artistically, athletically, all will find something that will take the pain away for just a breath, and they will fight harder and harder to have it taken away time and time again. This internal motivation allows them to achieve so much, yet they can enjoy almost none of it. They are lost among the success and failures with no concept of how to determine right from wrong as their souls feel only torment. Every night, going to bed, fighting against the urge to make the pain go away. For now they know that it will never leave them. If they are lucky, the pain is shed, gone, like a frustrating cold that just up and disappears one day. But, for the rest, it never leaves. They deaden themselves towards the rest of the world and step boldly forward, knowing only defeat in the arms of victories.

These mortals are little swayed by encouragement or retort at this point in their lives. They have survived so much more than any of us could imagine, and are not afraid to balance that against your tiny words, your lifeless hugs. Neither then should you make the mistake as to believe that you can encourage them to this end. No amount of conversation, or lack thereof, will push or pull these individuals to their desired ends. You can only at this point set the stage for the final execution of a lifelong dream. These men and women who have done great things end up leaving this earth in a heart shattering event that leaves them condemned by their religions, stripped of their accomplishments by their peers, and a forever sense of shamed by their own blood. In what world do you think you have the ability to change what they know to be true when they decide that they have had enough. In what world do you think your condemnation, or threats of striping away their institutional awards, will change their choice that night as they sit alone.

At what point does their suffering outweigh our perceived obligations that they owe to the living? A selfish act you call it, I ask you why? Is it in consideration for others? What amount of pain must I endure before I can let loose those bonds of humanity. Why must they owe us such?

Know that not all men are created equally, nor are all daemons faced the same. The stories of childhood were never written to let us know that dragons lived, but rather to give us the hope that we can slay these beasts of our minds. As we award medals to those whom have served faithfully, and then demand their return when they take their life, are we not the damned. I ask no man to live his life for the sake of mine, I will not live my life for the sake of another; and therefore will not condemn a man that knows his own damnation. He wears those scars openly for us to bear witness to and leaves a shattering quake behind him as he lays open a truth that we are still afraid of what we do not understand. I do not condone the choice of suicide, but I will stand tall and honor the man that lived his life to the end of his choosing.

Rest in peace; Captain Fallensbee and all those like him who have met his fate. To name a few others that were living success for us while paying a price we could not understand and they could not bear; Ludwig Bolzmann, Admiral Jeremy Boorda, CSM Lewis, Sam Gillespie, Ernest Hemingway, Megan Meier, Sylvia Plath, Roy Raymond, Hunter S.Thompson… and the untold masses that have impacted our lives at the sake of their own.

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December 7, 2012 at 2:55 am (Partly Truth and Partly Fiction) (, , )

A chance coincidence, a delayed flight, a brief encounter…

I was sitting in a small cantina across from Gate A23 in a random Airport, in a random City, as I crossed the country one more time. I sat at a table of four, not paying attention to my boss and his staff while they discussed the mundane and over appreciated. My mind had wondered to the musings of the world and the delay in the flight. As my gaze lowered from the ceiling my eyes passed over a woman, slightly leaning against the wall, looking up at the same board that I had been. Calm and powerful, a greek statue or a Jacques-luis David –perfect and ephemeral beauty– with eyes that displayed little emotion; yet, the statuesque pose was enough to trap my fascination.

Ironic that she is a quarter mexican as I sat in a faux mexican restaurant. Ironic that she was alone and I was pretending to be alone. I wanted to know more, I had to see her, I had to have her in a way that comes and goes so fast across the mind of those that are romantics. I left to walk it off, to move on, to find my fascinations elsewhere. When I returned, she was still there, oblivious to me, or so it would seem. The flights were delayed again, and then canceled, and as if by divine appreciation for my needs she lined up behind my party of four for the airline help desk. As all adolescents do, I acted out until she noticed. Working hard for her to smile, to shed her indifference. Slowly but surely my antics were noticed and she smiled, oh if that had only been enough. If nothing more had happened, I would have been secure in the small victory of bringing warmth and a smile to a beautiful, fascinating, stranger. We left for the baggage claim, knowing that it was over, without regrets, without remorse, I could smile.

She stood there,  as if she was waiting for me, at the baggage claim. I couldn’t resist, I had to say hi, I had to know if she was staying at the same hotel as us. The words came out so quick, I volunteered our ride to wait for her and her bags. My mind was racing, I was trying to be ‘cool,’ to be calm, to be in control. The ten minutes in the van, the awkward looks at the check-in counter and the twenty minutes in my room should have put things back into perspective. When I walked past her to dinner, she turned and looked at me from the hotel bar. So we talked, we worked around some assurance policy that we would be able to meet up. I could see it in her eyes, only then as I wrote down my number, the whole night played out before me as we looked at each other. I knew that she would wait for me in the hotel bar. I suffered through a working dinner, waiting for the text ensuring me that she was till there. Leaving behind my responsibilities and any sense of accountability I said good night to my coworkers and went to her. She had been patient, nursing a drink, waiting for me, texting me.

I sat next to you, and steadied my hand that wanted to reach out and touch you. We forced ourselves to settle into the rights and passage of the conventional. A protocol of small talk and drinks when we both knew that we were passing time. Waiting for it to be more appropriate than what it was, or what it would ever be. We fended off would be interlopers, I would wait them out. Or at least in one case, piss them off so much that they would leave. I wanted you to need me, so I talked. We worked slowly through the night, forcing ourselves not to make it obvious, to be social with everyone while all I wanted was you. As the hours went by I could see you looking up at me, ever so slightly changing the dynamic, your face marked with hints of desire. And it was then that I watched the vultures of our minds circle, because without you, right then, the world would have lost meaning. In efforts to hide our true intent we walked, room to room, from singular moments to singular moments of passion; desperately trying to ignore their addition. Finally we stopped moving. We stopped thinking, we stopped being individuals, we were young again, insecure, curious, clumsy, and entwined.

The hours would pass and the sun would be working its way to the horizon when we parted company, one final embrace one final look. The world was different somehow, not dramatically so, only slightly, in only a way that this woman and I would know. With uncertainty we looked at each other from across the room in the same airport from the day before. Casual glances, afraid that any interaction would give it all away, that the whole world that we damned would know. Fear, fear of a future that we would deny, knowing that the seed could not grow, yet somehow, I have found myself writing these words. Smiling, content, happy with the night; a night I would do again, I would work for and hold in appreciation of the subtleties of a romantic tryst found on a cold desert night.

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December 5, 2012 at 4:12 am (Partly Truth and Partly Fiction) (, , )

I have no doubt at all the Devil grins,

As seas of ink I spatter.

Ye gods, forgive my ‘literary’ sins –

The other kind don’t matter.


I watched in pure enjoyment as my thumbnail slid behind her jaw bone. My wrist pushed up against her chin and I could see the confused look on her face as her knees dug deeper into the black bench. Her eyes on me, if she was trying to decide how much she enjoyed my hand around her throat. The confused look turned to joy as I my heart rate rose and my breathing shallowed. It was noticeable over the music in the room, with its heavy beats that were drowning out everything else. Her naked hips moved with the sounds and her chest heaved up and down in front of my face. We were surround by others, other who were enjoying the sight of this woman straddling me, pushing with all of her might to satisfy her hidden desire and my not so hidden intent. Others, in this crowed room of naked bodies and desperate men, did not find this to be as enjoyable, and quicker than my inebriated mind could grasp I was lifted up, I think on my own, though it could have been with the help of the suited six foot, fourteen shaved headed bouncer.

“We do not put our hands on the girl!” with such authority, and clarity, I had no choice but to respond with “yes sir.” The girl grabbed his arm with both of hers begging for leniency and gentleness, I am sure with the expectation that my pocket book would extend past closing at this high-end strip club in Denver. “I want my lawyer” came from somewhere inside of me, and like magic he was there. “Pierre, whats happening?” “Kim, they want me to leave…. Cant touch the girls… Why do I have a french name… Hand around her throat…. He touched me…” Kim threw his five foot six frame between us and said we would leave on our own volition. And we were out in the fresh air, breathing deep the cool Colorado breeze. We made it a block before he started laughing, and another before I stopped talking about seeing the girl in an hour.

It was a week later over a couple of beers that I was educated in the differences between choking and strangling. I am surprised to this day how much worse it sounds to say “I was strangling a girl,” rather than “I was choking a stripper.” Semantics, but more than potato or tomato, there is a visceral abhorrence to the idea of strangling; where as we are all more comfortable with the sexual connotations that exist with the word choke. I now spend time going word to word that we use interchangeably looking for another such dichotomy. In reality, it was not the pronunciational difference such as the tomato or potato comment but rather an inherent misunderstanding of the definition. If words are to have meanings, and de facto making them important, it is just as important that we know what those meanings are. To write the way our for fathers would have wanted us, or even to meet the standards of Christopher Hitchens would require a significant better understanding of our own vernacular.

During our small chances of lucid conversation between the laughter, we were able to piece together a night where this story is but just one small part of the amazement that the team from the small corporation Captains, Inc. – a fake company we created, to hide our jobs and to completely separate the night from our daily reality– were able to walk away.

Twelve hours prior to me being forcibly removed –sorry, I left on my own according to Kim– from the night club; we were laughing at my luck with women. Something that clearly would not change with the night. This was followed by the creation of a small consulting firm designed to help with movie productions, specifically that weekend in Denver. A chance to possess a persona in which we could slough off accountability and obligations. I found that my french name came from the restaurant that we dinned in. Here we only spoke french, well in reality only one of us spoke french, the rest would make nasally guttural sounds. “Ughh ugh,” and “Pierre, Jean, and Francis” were shouted back and forth in toasts to our good luck. The wait staff was disappointed in our lack of french skills as Francis ordered for us and apologized for us, flirted for us, and eventually helped us leave before we caused more harm than good. Then it was my turn. We moved to a night club in Larimer Square and were escorted to a table where bottles of vodka stood waiting.

Our rock star status was solidified as the women begged to spend time with the jacket laden crew and their free flowing booze. Dancing was followed by dancing, which can only lead to making out. Making out can only lead to making out inappropriately. Our venture at this club was coming to an end as the manager was chastising our server for her friendliness and the other tables were inviting us back to their condo for after hours. Lights came on, bets were lost and won, booze was imbibed and given away and we were happy when we were walked down stairs to the waiting limo.

Walking backwards, I passed through the black curtain that separated a small room from the hallway and was unceremoniously pushed down into a chair. The chair was more of short bench spanning from black wall to black wall. The girl that was doing the pushing was also doing the smiling. A sly grin, not hiding the suggestions that it held as I braced myself with both hands on the bench. The conversation was short, and witty, though the banter was quickly lost as my eyes, hypnotized by her movements, focused on the girl in front of me. Like an indian snake charmer I was sat immobile and mesmerized. Slowly, as I began to relax, I smiled. Another song is played, and the act begins again. There was something in my relaxation, something in my look, that infuriated her, she recognized my esoteric disappointment. She couldn’t take being pushed to the back of my mind, she need it to be about her, about the money I was giving her. She was tired of being just another girl, tired of it being just another guy with more cash than they should be allowed to walk around with. With a rising sense of desperation, her sharp nails dug deeper in to my shoulders and her mouth pushed against my face. My response was fast and immediate when she sunk her teeth into my neck. With my hands around her, I grabbed her, pushed her, tried to bend her into me. Her breathing was loud and rhythmic, the music was louder and two more songs went by. We found each other smiling, not in love, or of joy but rather the smile that comes after exhaling deep, the release of all excess and indelicate emotions – of satisfaction. I found my hand around her neck, and her hand on my wrist, her body on top of mine, moving ever so…

Given our proclivity for women, booze, and inappropriateness we managed to find our way to the late night strip club. There is a story of a camel who carried straw, and it would seem that one strand of straw broke his back. As you can see the wheels were coming of this train and the wreck was going to spread from the front steps of a strip club’s back door to the hotels fifth floor. We were seven deep, five originals (with french names) and two additional women when we struggled to convince the man at the back door of the club to let us in. With missing IDs and credit cards we still managed to get us into this sprawling palace of erotic fun. I can not speak for my friends at this point, in fact as the story goes some immediately turned around to leave, only to be left wondering floor to floor in the hotel threatening the lives of all residents who tried to get in their way.

Lights, women, cages, music, and the allure of private rooms had Kim going back to the ATM machine with a frequency that could ruin your credit and mine. I myself was immediately infatuated with this innocent looking girl who grabbed my by the hand. “Can I dance with you?” My defenses were still strong, and I passed at the opportunity. Checking on Kim and the others I made my rounds. Convincing friends not to use the ATM machine, not to get separated, not to lose their room keys. It was not to much longer that I had given up on trying to put the wheels back on the train, or taking straw off the camel and I jumped head first into the river, placed my debit card into the machine,  and was carried down stream by a vigorous dark haired figure, until I too ran ashore.

Happy 30th Birthday to friends of whom I am not worthy, whose time is too valuable for the likes of me and my antics. To them I offer this epic night, where this is just one of many stories that would have you crying, and the teller blushing.

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Like Everyone Else

July 20, 2012 at 9:30 pm (Question: What bothered you the most?) (, , , , )

“So, just like everyone else? Thats what is bothering you, isn’t it? The fact that you have to experience the same things as the rest of us, the masses.”

An interesting point made in a conversation about a personal situation in my life. I had just finished telling my friend that its “not my style,” and “thats not how I normally am,” or even “that is just not me, I don’t make those mistakes, I don’t allow those responses.” She sat across from me and pointed out the obvious. I don’t like to be lumped into the greater masses of humanity. I don’t. As we all tell each other and mostly ourselves that we are special and different, I am walking down the back end of one of the most common mistakes that can be found, it is a shame I guess that it took me thirty years to make it (or more importantly to learn from it.)

They say that to fall in love is the demonstration of our humanity. Or, maybe they don’t, and I just came up with that. I have lived my life as a realist with the desire of a romantic. Staring at the skies, dreaming away the here-and-now for a distant future. Yet I have always grounded myself in the reality of the moment; the shifting landscape of my life and my instability. My world around a card table, with the deck open and the cards laid bare; in a rash and desperate gamble I went “all in.” Was it a bluff, God, yes it might have been. For I have no idea what would have happened if I had won this hand. But, even as I pushed my chips forward I knew the outcome. Deep down, where my rational and disciplined mind still churned away, angry and pissed that it was being ignored and pushed to the side, yelled out “bloody hell, what a fucking mess.” It is this aspect that my friend was trying to tell me makes us human. That our desires will overpower our most basic survival mechanisms. That logic and reason can be lost to the temptation of passion. That we are willing to ignore all of our other senses to hide the most basic truths around us. That I could be blind to such transgressions that would make the relationship almost untenable no matter how the cards fell.

We look out across the world and our senses are bombarded by the graphic displays of love, romance, fairy-tails, heartache… It is on our TVs, played out in movies, and dominate the music we listen to. Yet, avoidance of these logical failures is almost impossible as our basic needs drive us towards relationships, and companionship. No, I did not want to be like one of the many, I wanted to be strong, different, rational and still in control. And as my control slipped and my desperation climbed, I could feel my dignity slowly slip out between my fingers. Dignity; that is the hardest part about this. I wish I had quit the situation a day earlier, a week earlier, a month earlier; but I couldn’t. I held onto what we all do in trying times, hope. Misplaced, unreturned, and torturous for a man who has stated time and time again that hope is not a method.

Clearly by this point I have given you enough to understand what the general situation must be in this relationship. Well, what was a relationship, for the ultimate in todays modern, hip-generation of closure is the de-friending of someone on Facebook, thank you Mark Zuckerburg. So we moved full circle from where we never made it official, meaning no Facebook status, to officially over, because we are no longer Facebook friends. Such is life, such is life, God I hate those words, I hate the prospect that the loss of my dignity, the time spent thinking over each word said, each action taken, or each word not said, could end up being nothing more than a personal lesson to take forward with me to the next. I have hurt others, but I have always been honest; and now I have been hurt, though this is the only time that you will read it, or hear me say it. I am stronger than that, just as each of you are. She was not honest in her dealings with me, and gave me a false sense of hope and security. A girl, no more than a child playing at adulthood, could not fathom what was going on around her. And I forced her to make a decision in the face of my honesty, one that should could not make for weeks (or without her parents,) until finally she said no, “stop pushing–please.”

Am I like the rest of you? Clearly. Have I ever been different, no. No, in the sense that humanity shares more similarities than differences. No, in the idea that as I travel around the world and discover that every culture shares ideas, values and dreams. I am one of the rest, though maybe more stubborn at times. The concept that my uniqueness is unique in and of itself is an allusion. For if each fingerprint is different, if each grove is unique, then are we not all the picture of the 1960’s Berkley students sitting on the wall -demonstrating their individuality by all looking the same? In the shadow of our electronic personas maybe we have created (engineered) an even more separate account of who we are, allowing for the differences in time, location and ability to give us space to shape who and what we want to be; forever changing the nature of truth and how we share truths or how we create a uniqueness. In the end the truth is that you move on, you learn, adapt, accept, and maybe even grieve (I am sure this sounds more like an AA meeting now than a blog.) for a moment, though I have always claimed to be different, separate, alone; for just a moment, I was a stereotype, a cliche’, a story so old that never needs retelling because of its ubiquitous nature. For those weeks, days, hours and minutes I was as all star-crossed lost souls are; hurt, weak, and shameful in the shedding of my pride to win a prize that was never mine.

So another day forward, one less minute spent on a problem that was solved two weeks ago. Another day forward, and one less minute.

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