Don’t mistake patience for… you know

My friend Dane told me more than once  I had too much patience with people. On one occasion he was referring to my knuckle-headed attempt to give a problematic roommate of mine one more chance. Recently, it seems,  a seemingly remarkable person   visited and vanished. Thing is, I understood some of what my old roommate struggle and have some understanding of transience.  That said, having patience doesn’t mean your absent the feeling of anger towards a roommate or disappointment and anger when transience destroys.

There is a saying that goes, Don’t mistake niceness for weakness. Another accurate one could be, Don’t mistake patience for weakness.

Those who know me well know it would be a mistake to experience my niceness or patience as signals that I’m unwilling or unable to right-size or step into someone when need be. I have little patience for cruelty, for heartlessness, for bullies. Not surprisingly, this brings me to the heartless, spineless, racist bully currently occupying the White House.

This self-absorbed white nationalist visits stagggered-by-Hurricane-Harvey Texas, doesn’t thank first responders, doesn’t offer condolences to those going through living hell, doesn’t mention those who have died so far, and visits none of the flood victims. Instead, his White House sends out a press release with a link to buy a white cap with USA and 45 on it like the one racist was wearing.  Not a surprise the hat was white.

My old roommate would be more than welcome to my life, so would the recent visitor. Both would be welcome in my admittedly modest home. And, yes,  it is true,  I’d welcome Trump into my home, but only because I’d like to kick his ass privately, and more than once.

Just sayin’.

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For A.M.C.

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Songs of the street: The Only Living Boy in New York

Like a favorite childhood friend walking into the room out of the blue, a song I had not heard in years came on with, “Tom, get your plane right on time, I know your part’ll go fine…” In the blink of an eye I am back in the comforting embrace of Simon and Garfunkel’s, “The Only Living Boy in New York.”  Moments later, I’m breathing in, “Half of the time we’re gone but we don’t know where,” a not inaccurate description of life for a homeless kid on the street. Songs can make for some mighty fine companions.

There is a large aloneness to manage when you’re on the street, doesn’t matter your age. True, when you’re a teen and almost every other teen you see on the planet has a family they live with, you’ve an additional sharp edge to manage; the only living boy in New York.

The background chorus of the song, tear-producing for me in this recent listen, is the sound of angels. Simon and Garfunkel recorded multiple tracks in an echo chamber.

The song was a refuge when I was cold, or hungry, or a walking stench from not having bathed in a few days. It was a refuge when I knew I was going to break night because there was no place to go.

When the song came on it would fill  me up and carry me its entire length, breaking into sweet-shuffle strides when the chorus played, sending miracle-chills through this dancer’s spine. Life!

For the length of the song, I was a free.

Amatory movement

She

turns words

loose in me

gentle soft travelers

sent across all of her

being in deep amatory

movement wandering

her sweet configurations

in velvet darkness

feather tasting

undulating shapes

I’d believe

unreal if

I wasn’t

awake.

 

************

for a dream

Break for freedom – Day 16 (A writing pause)

Day 16  – Saturday August 26, 2017 (A writing pause)

9:26 a.m. – I home from my walk about two hours ago. It was a peaceful affair, sweatshirt weather, it was 45 degrees this morning early. I completed the entire walk in comfort. I am going to, for now, pause the daily briefs about the walks. No doubt I will be back reporting on how they are going, or how a specific one stands out, and why.

I will, you have my word, report if I take a single day off from walking, and what led me to do so. No doubt I will at some point, but all of me knows, now is not the time.

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For Charley

Break for freedom – Day 15 (Chris Albee)

Day – 15 Friday, August 25, 2017  (Chris Albee)

Today is the first in a third week of solo walks for me. These walks would not be happening at all were it not for my late friend, Chris Albee. Chris died this July 20 at age 49 from a sudden, ruthless, fast-growing mass in his brain. I’ve known no one who exceeds Chris’s honor, humility, loyalty, and love for family and friends. For those of us with disabilities; it is well worth noting it would never cross his mind to experience any one of us as someone of less value or import than others.

These solo walks are the first time in more than three decades I’ve gone for walks in a community without, what for me, feels like protection, for more than 30 years, started when Chris was alive. I took my first solo walk on July 12. I told him what I’d done and I told him I’d done it because I was unable to climb inside him and join him in his fight, and I had to lash out at something, and I thought the crippling fear that made a solo walks feel impossible was a target in need of pulverizing. I also told him that were it not for him, I wouldn’t have tried. My voice broke a couple of times.

When I finished, his response was a muscular, loving, “Oh man, that’s so cool, Pete.” He meant it. He was my friend. In my heart, he always will be.

7:58 a.m. – Back home.

If you’ve been an athlete or dancer you know you can go into a task feeling great, sure you will dance beautifully, or cover a 20-mile training run with so much gusto you stop, legs astride, fists jammed into your hips, scowling at the reality the run wasn’t 20 miles longer one. Thing is, if you’ve been an athlete or a dancer you know damn well the aforementioned scenario is a load of rubbish. You never know what the experience is going to be until you’re in it. I felt great going out the door this morning, which may well explain why the entire was intensely uncomfortable; breathing and stride patterns felt out of sync, sweat poured like it did earlier in these walks.

How did I manage this? I accepted it, offered myself guidance-phrases like, Stay in the walk; if it’s uncomfortable, allow this discomfort, and keep going. And so I did.

I miss you, Chris.

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For Joshua Albee