Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wake Up

Belief is a block
So hard to rock
Open your mind
Dogma can blind c0nnect1on; to sp1r1tual1ty;
to free th0ught; to p0ss1b1l1ty; unanswered questions being
more powerful than unfounded answers being all right - okay with not knowing
to the end--to meaninglessness peaceonearthtogethernessonenesshealingwholeness and all that entreats and entails
 enlists involves inspires and incorporates
for one and all - forever and ever - amen your 'nner truth
your truth
yourself happ'ness.

All the good connection- real spiritbeing-
deepest thought -richest rewards come from seeing
searching asking wondering, considering and pondering
and doing it again and again and again, even then
still not knowing.

Organized religion is mind control (spirit off)
"god is my autopilot" cruz control, (spirit off)
Get out of the bible verse and into the universe
Swim in the fables, don't tread water in the book.
Science is real - faith not a virtue.

Good comes from within without guilt or fear
but from a standard-issue selfishness-
from a belief that we are all together here.
not equal...  (beyond equal) The Same!

We're closer than fellowship, closer than love
Closer than brothers. closer than brethren
Swallowing the canon will choke off discovery
And steer you away from the only real heaven.

For the bliss of true here and now happiness
See your enemy as your grandmother,
Everyone as yourself in a different jacket;
Then it's easy to love and forgive each other.

I don't have to be scolded and threatened
To eternal damnation if I bear false witness...
I don't behave for being watched and judged.
There are no consequences necessary. I just
Don't do those things to myself. I'm Jag;
I'm another aspect of you and you're part of me.
We're peace, you and I,
We are love.

My EYES Have It

For years I'd worn contact lenses, but about two years ago, I had a very strong instinct that I shouldn't put them in again.  And without ceremony, I simply never wore them again.  Not sure if that's related to this, but I'm putting it out there.

I guess it all started with gusto when I was living at a new Motel 6 every day.  Sometimes, I'd wake up and one of my eyes (whichever one was closest to the pillow if I slept on my side) would be terribly itchy and sometimes to the point of painful.  It felt like there was an eyelash (or a piece of straw, or a needle or a boulder) under my eyelid.  I'd rinse it with water and get on with my day.

I was concerned that my vision was getting worse, too. It seemed as though I was occasionally trying to look through a thin layer of oil.

I would blink furiously, trying to wash it away, to no avail. It was an off and on problem, so I suffered through it while it was exacerbated and ignored it while it was in remission.

Almost a year ago, exactly, I was working at a theater on a role that was incredibly physically demanding. I was exhausted, banged up, bruised and depleted. (Don't get me wrong, I had a total blast doing the play, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!)  But at one point, I was weak enough to succumb to a 'cold'.  This was a unique cold for two reasons: Both of these things had never happened to me before, but in this case, I lost my voice for a few days and then developed what seemed to be a cold centered around my eyes. I had the normal mucus buildup in the nasal sinus and the run-down feeling that I get when I catch colds, but this time, whenever I blew my nose, it'd force snot out through my eyes! Until last year, I didn't even know that was possible.

I would be embarrassed in public sometimes by the amount of mucus on my eyes. When I woke up in the morning they were sealed shut with so much dried mucus that I'd have to pry them open and scrape them clean.

FULL DISCLOSURE:  None of the photos of eyes are me. I took photos of my eyes, but the symptoms don't show up as clearly as they do here. I searched the internet and found these photos that are close to how I look(ed).

Eventually that ran its course, I healed and life went on. I still suffered occasional pangs of what felt like foreign body invasions into my eyes, and my eyesight worsened off and on. I'm at the age where eyesight is expected to really start failing so I didn't get too concerned about that. And I do live my life like a child that's never grown up, in that I roll around on dirty floors, play in the grass and climb rocks and trees and just generally enjoy getting dirty and gritty.

Not only for fun, but I also do much of this for my work. As a Nia teacher, I'd roll around on a different dance floor every day. Some were cleaner than others. I often had sweat dripping in my eyes and sometimes it really stung; especially if I had used any coconut oil or sunscreen on my face that day. I also work in theaters, which are notoriously dark and dusty and often full of airborne debris from set construction, etc.

Another facet to the story is that I have a dog who I play with, again, like a child. We roll around on the floor and have very physical fun together. In the past, I'd been allergic to certain dogs, but had never been allergic to River, that I know of. And usually my allergy shows up as a narrowing of my nasal passages, not eye-discharge.

Since all of those things are factors that could make my eyes itch or could introduce a foreign body into my eye, each time I felt the symptom come back, I'd attribute it to my lifestyle or a newly acquired allergy and suffer through it until it resolved itself.

All of this has been over the past two years. During that time, I've also had at least one stye in each eye, that I took care of myself with a hot compress and a Q tip.

So this brings us to about a month ago, when I started noticing the pinkness around my eyelids that I'd gotten accustomed to over the past two years was getting redder. And, upon closer inspection, I could see tiny flakes of crust in between my lower eyelashes. I decided it was time to see a professional.

I first saw a general practitioner who said I had "blepharitis".  It sounds like he made a diagnosis, but in retrospect, he really didn't. Blepharitis only means 'inflamation of the eyelids'. Anyone could have told me that if they knew the word for it. He gave me a topical antibiotic and I spread the gel onto my lower eyelids twice a day for about five days. After two days the redness was gone.

I'm now starting work at the same theater as last year when I had the 'cold' in my eye. Sitting in the house, chatting with the director and cast about the play, our characters and the controversial subject matter, I started to notice my left eye was really itching and the cloudiness was getting thicker.

The next morning (today) I woke up to see that both eyes were rimmed in red and both eyes had boogers in the corners, whereas on a normal day I don't usually notice that. Also the upper lid over my right eye was red and so puffy that it made the eye look half closed.

This is a genetic condition in my family. Our eyelids get super full and heavy as we age. My grandmother had to have her eyelids surgically reduced, and my father would have benefitted from the same procedure but he was deathly mistrusting of the entire medical profession, so he never did. I wasn't sure if this new development was just my destiny or if it was a medical issue. I called the Kaiser Permanente Ophthamalogy department and described everything to them. They suggested I come in immediately.

The ophthamologist did a more thorough examination of my eyes than the GP had done a month prior. He grabbed my eyelids and turned them inside out to see under them.  And it was funny because as I was standing at the bathroom mirror this morning, that was my instinct, too. I hoped he was going to do that. If he hadn't, I might have asked him to.

I half-expected him to say "OH MY GOD, there's a colony of termites in here." but what he did say was far less dramatic and more believable. He said my eyes were infected by bacteria. When I described my lifestyle to him, he smiled and nodded and agreed that it was probably any one of those dirty environments that infected me.  But it is impossible to determine which one.

He prescribed me a different antibiotic.  This time in the form of eyedrops rather than the messy gel I was applying last month. I'll drop these into my eyes four times a day for ten days and hope to have clear-looking and clear-seeing eyes once again.

For those interested in this type of thing, the first antibiotic I applied was erethromycin in the gel form. This batch is neomycin-polymyxin-dexamethasone in the form of drops. I'm generally not a fan of using antibiotics, so this was a major decision for me.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Gift of Pain

I'm grateful for the pain of others, but only if they share.
To Phoenix, we must first be challenged, burnt, hurt, broke.
We never try to improve what's running perfectly smoothly
But those who've survived through the fire have built the best bulwark.

Thanks Scott, Debbie, Jack and Jill for setting your journey alight.
you ignited your trials and blazed a path to your success
Generously affording me the fruits of all your labors
Without my suffering from the original distress.

Someone without asthma never has to learn how to breathe right.
Your battle with scoliosis has taught me perfect posture.
I'm intimate with my shoulder thanks to your inner journey
of rehab and recovery from a bad dislocation. 

We've been given a wealth in the form of our imperfections
Obstacles we overcome can be our greatest offering.
Please let us share and revel in each other's struggles in life
The gift of your handicap was meant to strengthen everyone.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Prison of Stuff

The years of accumulation
Trap me in a prison of strife
Surrounding and protecting me
From experiencing my life.

Now all the things I had once owned
Rotisserate me on a skewer;
Demanding regular upgrades
And maintenance, keeping it newer.

Electronics need updating
Wardrobe the same, plus washanddry.
As I practice for mastery
Toys take up my time nightandday.

But the biggest captor of all
Is my pet; a highly strung hound.
I sought a companion and pal
But now have a headcase profound.

Every day I'm on red alert.
Danger ambulates with megrim.
Myself, friends, family and strangers
Are jeopardized by his wild whim.

The question is, who's owning who?
Who is in charge when we go traipse?
Dog on offensive, I'm defense
I find myself plotting escapes.

Oh to be unhampered from stuff.
I think I'd do well being free
From those collected things and junk
Psychologically undoing me.

I could live without much of it
But some things are deeply ingrained.
The most painful thorn in my side
Is another sentient being.

The picture is larger than I am
My feelings must be set aside
Life is precious and so is he.
I must take my torment in stride.

Life is too short for complaining
About having too many things.
Even a man who has nothing
Is often the one who most sings.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


Sometimes my life's a cruel and painful joke;
Conspiring against me and only me.
Well it's not funny and I've had enough.
Uncle! I give up!
Uncle! I give up!

Dreaming about disappearing disconnecting retreating.
Romanticizing hermitizing in a far-off grotto.
I anathematize the modern age; help me, I cry, now.
But when you notice I'm gone, well you know why, now.
I fantasize, I comminate, but don't try to get out. WOW!
Not surprising that I can't figure out how.

Don't come looking for me.
Don't come looking for me.

Things that normal people find useful- for me, unusable
Daily objects that work fine for them give me heartache no end.
The label says it's easy to connect, NOT easy at all.
the dogma is that you can plug it right into your phone; bullshit.
I commiserate with friends, but learn it works just fine for them.
"I don't know what to tell you. That's not happening for me bro."

Frustrated enough to commit uncharacteristic sins
I want to scream "FUCK YOU" to everyone I know and meet.
And eliminate the frustration from my dark existence.
But of course the source is only me so how can I break free?

It's petty to voice my infinitesimal
infinitesimal infinitesimal
paranoid entitled frustration when
there are real legitimate problems in the world.
People are starving, being tortured and detained.
Innocents getting gunned down by poor veterans
mentally/emotionally ravaged by war.
The "alt-right" is working hypocritically
to steal away benefits, rights and dignity
of women and minorities while all the while
sending young men to their death (or insanity)

All for insanity.
It's all insanity.

Embrace the fact that
perspective is power
surrender to "all you can do
wherever you are just relax be yourself
start with a smile you do you!"
The harsh world I see is my own bad reflection.
All I can change is within
The harsh world we see is our own bad reflection.
All we can change is within.

illustration by Melissa Dzierlatka

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Eat the Art

peel the carrots
carve the bird
baked to juicy, golden brown

chop the onions
soak the beans
filteredwaterrinse the greens

juice a lemon
add a fig
salt and pepper, parsley sprig

with fresh ginger,
let it sit
until it's aromatic

berries, kale, creme brûlée!
avocado, curds and whey!
sweet potatoes, fish filet!
rice pilaf, fois gras pate!

preserve the beets
stew the prunes
blend the celery, butter scones

pinch of basil
top with cream
zest of fresh-picked tangerine

grind the pepper
shuck the corn
brew the coffee (keep it warm)

sprouted almonds
black eyed peas
cauliflower cheddar cheese

berries, kale, creme brûlée!
avocado, curds and whey!
sweet potatoes, fish filet!
rice pilaf, fois gras pate!
sausage, eggplant, rhubarb pie!
sauté, simmer, broil and fry!

French toast, German
chocolate cake
Jerusalem artichoke

capon, crouton
Grey Poupon
ketchup, mustard, provolone

berries, kale, creme brûlée
avocado, curds and whey
sweet potatoes, fish filet
rice pilaf, fois gras pate
sausage, eggplant, rhubarb pie
sauté, simmer, broil and fry
dabbling in the culinary arts;
the yummiest way to each others' hearts!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

No One's An Asshole

No one's an asshole, my dear brothers and sisters.
To all those I've bitten, cutting my teeth,
Thank you for helping me learn and grow.
Mistakes can be our wisest teachers.

No one's an asshole;
We all do our best but see different worlds.

Sometimes I don't know how far is too far
Until I've stepped on your toes finding my path.
My intentions were never to cause pain;
but hurt happens when our world views don't match.

No one's an asshole;
We're all here to help each other find our way.

Grateful for those whom I've pissed off to the point
That they school me on exactly what they think.
To those who've let loose when I was an ass in their eyes,
I regret saying, or thinking, that you're the jerk.

No one's an asshole;
Everyone is scared and looking out for themselves.

I know not to hold it against your character;
Selfishness is the human default setting.
We can all give and receive permission to flub.
Forgiveness is the more spirited path.

No one's an asshole;
We're lost and confused. No one's holding the fort.

Many times I've been the one hurting you,
Making you feel bad when we don't allow
For our different realities to coexist.
I'll give you leeway - permit me to do me.

No one's an asshole
and yet everyone's an asshole (in someone's mind).

When I point a finger or hurl an epithet,
I know that my view is my own creation
so I'm truly referring to myself.
You are my mirror, my education.

No one's an asshole.
Growth hurts (such is life) and we're all in this together.

Lessons along the way are not always
pleasant nor comfortable. So thank you
for being my asshole and for letting me be yours.
Truth is, without assholes we're all full of shit.