Last Breathe – A Man’s Thoughts
Tuesday October 30th 2018, 10:10 pm
Filed under: All Letters,Love Letters

As dad was getting sicker and closer to the end, his ability to do daily tasks dwindled. His spirit was catching up with his body, both ready to put themselves to rest. But before his final sleep, we bought him one of those small tape recorders, the kind journalists use in old movies. We wanted to document some of his personal memories. After all, he was the last of his siblings and family and the details of his life had the potential to extinguish along side his flame. And so he sat in the garage, his home away from home, with his vision failing and his fingers numbed from the chemo-therapy, there he spoke into the microphone. These are his words, transcribed as best we could with the quality of the audio recording. It was at his memorial service, 1 year post-mortem, where I read out loud his words to the family that missed him dearly

—-

I was born Jan 27th, 1937. I was born in Indio, California. When my mom and dad thought of me I was in Okmulgee, Oklahoma but I made it to Indio, California. We moved from Indio, California to Madero, California. I remember one day I was out in the front yard. The cab driver come up, come driving up.  There was this old lady in the car. I run in and told my mom and dad, I said there’s this old lady, there’s grandma, grandma’s here. I’d never seen her a day in my life. But it was Grandma Robison. I ran in the house, I told my mommy and my daddy, “Grandmas here”, I never seen grandma a day in my life.

I am Fred Donham. I have three sisters. I have Norma Donham, Lola Donham, Emma Donham. Emma Donham was the one just above me. I am one year older than Emma Donham. Lee Donham is my father. Mamie May Donham is my mother. Claude Boyne is my mother’s father. Annie Owens is my mother’s mother. My mother had 5 sisters, 5 brothers or something like that but anyway…

Helen Boyne is my mother’s sister. Gladys Opal Boyne is my mother’s sister. Jean Boyne is my mother’s brother. Leonard Boyne is my mother’s brother. Helen Boyne is my mother’s sister.

I can remember the time in Madero, California, when Claude Boyne and Annie Boyne, my mothers mother and father, was out picking cotton. I was maybe 5 years old. I was out helping them pick cotton. I was pulling moles, rocks, cotton, trying to make a little bit of money. And finally I just put some in a cotton sack, made a pillow, laid down in the cotton wood and went to sleep. Back then you only got 3 dollars per hundred, pounds. That was a lot of cotton. That was an eighty-foot long sack, full of cotton was three dollars, that was a lot of work. I remember my mom went out my dad I , that was the last time I was ever in a cotton field and that’s the last I ever want to see a cotton field.

In 1943, we went from Madero to Turlock, California. We moved on Mr. Robison’s ranch. Mr. Robison later become my grandfather. My grandma married him, my mother’s mother. He had a goat ranch. We used to have to put the goats up on a stilt and milk ‘em. And that’s where he was originated from. So then was back in 1943.

Mr. Robison had forty or sixty acres in Turlock, California. Rt. 1 Box 902 East Avenue. That’s where he had his goat ranch, had a few cattle and a horse. And back then you couldn’t get a permit to build a house. You could get a permit to build a storage shed right on the corner of Mr. Robison’s ranch. My dad and Mr. Robison built a house. The house was made out of black tar paper. Three bedroom, Well it was a storage shed to start with. They separated it out and made it into a three bedroom, a bathroom, shower, kitchen. But in later years, my dad bought an acre of land across the road, across East Avenue.

That’s where they moved the house my dad built on Mr. Robison’s land. He moved it across East Avenue. They put big planks underneath the house. Put the caterpillar onto it. l pulled it across the road. Put it on the half acre my father bought on East Avenue.

My father managed the Turlock Theatre and the Fox Theatre in Turlock, CA.  In later years, the Turlock CA theatre burnt down. My father took the concrete from the Turlock Theatre and put it underneath our house on East avenue for a foundation. The last time I was there, the foundation, the brick was still underneath the house on East Avenue.

On the land my dad bought on East Avenue, the half-acre, right in back of our house, that my dad moved over to the half acre. He built a little house, it was for Grandma Robison, Later years, Grandma Robison and Mr. Robison was married. They bought a little piece of property in Diner, CA.  With my dad and Mr. Robison I was just a little bitty guy, I watched ‘em.

Made a ramp, put grandmas house on the ramp and moved it from East Avenue to Diner, CA. Which stands today, I just seen it a year ago. Me and Fred looked at it, my son.

On East Avenue, we lived, there was a canal. The canal was called a main canal. I was down there, me and my sisters. I was walking across the bridge. Norma gave me a push and I can hear her today, “Swim or drown.” Well that’s where I learned to swim. I had to dog paddle. I dog paddled over to shore. From that time I have been swimming. We used to hold our breathe from the main canal bridge clear to the drops. And that was a long way. But couldn’t do it today.

They had no toys like today. Back in my day, you had to make your toys. I used to take all the bobbins from the thread and I’d make me cars, put a thing through them, put it through the holes, and that was my tractors and stuff. Put fences all around. That was my ranches. And I used to make my own toys. I can remember when the kids, my sisters would sit around in front of the stove at nighttime, playing jacks. And I used to sit and watch them, pretty soon I’d get involved once in a while, playing jacks.  Pick, bounce the ball once, put a jack in your hand, pick a jack up put it in your hand. Bounce the ball, pick a jack up, put two in your hand, call rotation or something. I don’t know what that was called. That was playing jacks and that was years ago.

That was back in 1942.

In 1942,  on East Ave, I started school. At Roselon Grammar School. It was a two room school. First through fourth, fourth through eighth. My first grade teacher was Mrs. Unger. From my high school fourth to the eighth was Mrs. Robison, Mrs …

Mrs Neilson, the teacher, the nurse that used to come out to the house to check all of us kids was Mrs. Gainer. Mrs. Gainer had the biggest mouth I ever seen on a woman. Her mouth stretched from ear to ear. She was short with long hair, her mouth stretched from ear to ear. That was Mrs Gainer.  The school nurse that used to come around the schools and check us.

Like Mrs. Neilson, my eighth grade teacher was, from fourth to the eighth was Mrs. Neilson. She sat at the desk. The desk was totally open from front to rear. When she sat there in a chair she had a girdle on. You couldn’t see anything but her girdle. Us boys used to sit there and make spit balls we put straight pins in the spit balls and we would shoot them at Mrs. Neilson and they would stick in her girdle. Sometimes we’d get caught and we had to stay after school but that was the way school was back then.

Like I said, Mrs. Unger was my first to the fourth grade teacher. One day we was havin’ a spelling test, it was just a small school, maybe ten to fifteen kids from first to fourth. So we was havin’ a spelling test. I remember Mrs. Unger sayin’ it was my time, she looks at me, she says, spell “shit”. So I spell “s h i t”. I got in trouble again for spelling a dirty word.

Noel Madison, Raymond Olsen and I found out that if we took garlic to school and we took a clove out and we put it on the floor and we rubbed it with our feet, it stunk the room up so bad the teachers would send us home for the day. So we found out if we wanted a day off we put garlic on the floor, rub it in we were sent home.

In 1945 I belong to 4-H. I used to raise hogs in the back of the half-acre my dad used to own. I had Hereford hogs. So I breed ‘em. I sell the remainders at 25 a piece when they was mean(?) That gave me money to go to school. I also worked for Willie Ponsea. My 4-H teacher was, I can’t remember his name.

1943 and 1945, I went to work for Howard Hayes. Howard Hayes was my 4-H teacher. I rode my bicycle two miles up the main canal, fed the cows, helped him milk the cows, rode all the way back, home, changed clothes, got on my bike, rode three miles to school. Rode back, from school, when school was out. Old Spot, my dog, would meet me halfway from the school. Get back, changed clothes, so me and my dog would go riding down the main canal to Howard Hayes place helping milk the cows, clean up and that was the day. Come back home next day, start the same thing over. Ride three miles to Howar Hayes, ride back, change clothes, ride to school, ride back, change clothes.

I did that for I don’t know how many years, I can figure it out…

Saturdays, Sundays, I’d go out and bail hay for the picker-uppers, the hay picker-up. I wasn’t big enough to lift the hay but I’d roll it in a straight line for the bailers to come and pick it up. I can remember going up and bailing hay at night. They’d take a pitchfork, I’d drive a tractor, little bitty, about was ten years old, twelve years old, I’d drive a tractor. There’d be one guy on one side of the bailer, one on the other with big pitchforks. They’d throw the hay in the hopper, the big arm would come down and push it down and it would keep pushing back until it made a bail of hay.  It was one guy would sit on one side of the hay in the back and one guy sitting in the each side in the back where the bail come out. They would push wire through this way, through this way and that way and they would tie it and it would kick the bail out. That’s the way they used to bail hay. It took one, two, three, four, five people to run the bailer. And it was a pretty dangerous job.

I used to get one dollar a day for helping that. Maybe a dollar, dollar fifty a day for helping one roll of hay for them to pick it up.

My mother and father worked at the bombing plant. That was back in WW2 when they was building bombs. They was working the bombing plant in Turlock, CA. And they used to bring marbles home. Those little green marbles they used in bombs. I had buckets full of marbles. Used to play marbles all the time. Had this big ball, big marble, it was called the buster. And id give it a flop and I could break marbles all over the place. But had all kinda marbles so if I lost marbles, good, fine. So That was back in 1943, 1942.

If Grandma Robison was baking a cake, I found out after a certain amount of time, if she was making a nice cake, the cake would sit there and it would have to rise. So I would wait til the cake rised , me and old spot would wait around. That was my dog spot. Well, No one knew, everybody knew me and Spot for miles around. Anyway, I’d wait til the cake was up,  grandma’s cake, when I figured it was nice and rised, I would open the door and I would jump and it would kill her cake.

That would make her cake go flat. So I’d get in all kinds of trouble for that, but it was fun.

Nineteen fifty, is when I started leaving home. I worked for Howard Hayes for a dollar a day. I saved my money up, I bought me a 1940 Chevy Convertible, and I was 13 years old. I had my license, I used to drive it to work, I stayed, let’s see…

Howard Hayes moved from the main canal where I used to work for him on the ranch, he moved out to Ballico, CA. So therefore, I couldn’t drive back and forth, so I stayed in a little cabin in Ballico, CA, working for Howard Hayes. I was maybe 12, 13 years old. I was 13 years old because I had my car, and I’d drive from Ballico into Turtle?.

I quit Howard Hayes, went to work for Mexicans, living in a little cabin. Going all over, plowing their field. Fields from one end to the other, you couldn’t see it, the other end was thinner(?) than a ho ho ho, Mexicans all over the place, sometimes you’d get a Mexican, he was shell shocked or something, I don’t know. Fall down in a row, screaming yelling “Bless me! save me!”. I was just a kid then too I didn’t know what I was thinking, what I was doing, when I lived with them. They used to bring the food out in a big sheet. It was Mexican tacos, burritos whatever you want to call them. And they’d drop them out in the field and we’d all stop and we’d eat. After we eat, we’d all start ho-ing again.

Then I went to work for Bing Crosby. Mowing his wheat field. Took you 8 hours to go around this wheat field, mowing on a Fordson tractor, fourth gear, drive at night time, rabbit would jump, coyote would jump, take off through the field and you’re out there all by yourself and children up and down your back, So I did that for a long time. I never met Bing Crosby but I worked for him. That was right up the Chica pass going up to Monterey, CA.

One day I was about 4 years old, Claude Boyne, its called Grandpa Boyne, Alice Boyne, Grandma Boyne, was sitting on the front porch of their house in a rocking chair in  Madero, CA.

Madero, CA. I was about 4 years old, Grandpa Boyne said, “Give me that rock!”

There was a jackrabbit running up the dirt road, so I run down real fast and I get a rock for Grandpa Boyne. He threw that rock and he hit that dern jack rabbit,.I can remember that just as well as daylight.

Its 1943, when my mother and my father worked at the bombing plant in Turlock, CA  during the war, they made bombs. They worked from morning til night. My sister, Marma, Lola, Emma, Nancy Palmer, was the woman lived down the street, a friend of my sister’s, Nancy Palmer, Shirley Pritchard, Elsie Pritchard, Marlie Martindale, used to take me and tie me to a ladder, and they’d come out and they’d drink water in front of me. They’d drink everything in front of me wouldn’t give me nothing and I was tied to the ladder. Just before my mom and dad would come home they’d let me go. And they said if I told on ‘em they were gonna beat me up and all of ‘em would have so I didn’t tell on ‘em. But me, my dog and bicycle we went real fast. Soon as my mom and dad left for work, we was on the bike, me and Spot, and we was gone. I bet we went a hundred miles a day. Soon as mom and dad would come home, we’d come home, me and my dog would come home, otherwise my sisters would tie me up to the ladder.

In 1947, roughly in that area, my dad, old Spot and I would get in the car and go up to Sonora and we’d go to this little creek up there and we’d go catfishing. My dad would pull em out and snap em off the the line and I’d have to go out there in the brush and pick the catfish up.  Me and my dog. he got good at getting catfish too. Old Spot and I, everybody knew us for a hundred miles, everybody says you know Spot? Yep everybody knew me and old Spot.

In the early part of 1950, Dusty and Emma, my sister. Dusty Childers, was Emma’s husband. I had a 1937 Buick Roadmaster convertible. My convertible come up missing one day, I was wondering where it was. Dusty and my sister Emma, took my convertible over to their house, melted marshmallows and painted my whole convertible with marshmallows. I looked out and it was the funniest thing I think I’ve ever seen in my life. A car painted with marshmallows from the top down a convertible. It took me years to get that stuff off.

Again in 1950, somewhat in that area, Dusty Childers and I, Fred Donham, was both out of work in Turlock, CA. So we decided, we’re gonna go look for work. So we took off from my mom’s home on East Avenue, we went all the way into Turlock, we hitch-hiked over to Modesto. Hitch-hiked from Modesto over to San Francisco , Oakland, walked across, all the way across the walk, hitchhiking, got to the Golden Gate bridge, it cost 25 cents to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, we couldn’t even cross the Golden Gate Bridge, we didn’t have 25 cents, we had to stand there and hitchhike and try to get a ride. Hitch-hiking a ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. So we get on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge in ? city and the guy dropped us off said we can get off in ? City.

In Turlock, CA. In Walkman Donut Shop, and boy the aroma of donut sure smelled good but we didn’t have not a penny on us. We made that trip all the way from Turlock to Tracy across Oakland to San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge to Vallejo to Sacramento, to track all the way home, got home, my mom had a roast for me and Dusty, The only roast, and both of us had a job waiting for us.

Again, in the early part of fifties, me and my dad went to San Rafael, CA in the 1947 Mercury, that’s later on, I bought that Mercury, I owned it.

We went all the way from San Rafael, from San Rafael, worked for Johnny Carcano. Putting curbs and gutters in, then we went to work over with Johnny Carcano, went to work in ? city, went up the hills carrying sheet rock up to build a house, and was quite a job, it was a hard job.

Then we went from there, we went to work building the San ? Richmond Bridge. We worked on it, putting the concrete in for Johnny Carcano, then from there we…

(Recording ends)



93
Thursday February 11th 2010, 9:02 pm
Filed under: Love Letters

To my father’s daughter in-law,

One year ago my father was diagnosed with colon cancer. Three months later he underwent a surgical procedure to remove the cancerous part of his lower intestine, which left untreated could have killed him in a matter of months. At the stale age of 73 a procedure like that became a statistical hypothesis, a guessing game where one gambles on the longevity of one’s time on this planet as a living organism. After disturbing complications from his surgery, he was released from the hospital in good spirits, only to find out the cancer had spread to his lymph-nodes, sending him back to the cancer specialists for six grueling months of chemotherapy.  And though his spirits stayed resilient, most likely due to the fact he’s as stubborn not to die as he is stubborn not to show his emotional weaknesses, he had many more months of recovery. During this period, I visited him on several occasions in hopes to open up an emotional and connected bond with him in ways never available to me during my childhood. I came to find out he was just as guarded, if not more now then when I was a child, with his emotional and clandestine secrets. His reticent and guarded thoughts were admirable– I could never withhold my heart like him, as I wear my heart on my sleeve for the world to pierce, poke and prod. Even though there was no “ah-ha” breakthrough moments to gloat about in our recent sessions together, I take pride and pleasure in the experience of his presence. It’s like two fingers touching without words,  Michaelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” incarnate, only fleeting moments of “this is” and the connection of a human’s understudying to the touch of god. His health seemed to slowly regenerate, however with occasional hic-ups expected from such a traumatizing experience. ((Fast forward to the present)) Exactly one year after his first cancerous diagnosis, Dad’s now been in the emergency room for over a week. What started as a routine colonoscopy turned into something disconcerting and dire. After his mandatory bowel cleansing before a camera/tube was shoved in his anus, my father tried eating what was to be, hitherto his check-up, a solid meal. Something happened to his bowels and his small-intestine decided it no longer wanted to pass food through its opening. His body’s reaction was to violently vomit the ingested food, as it had nowhere else to go. Obviously this was a major concern for his doctors. If the body can not digest food, the body can not survive. The “specialist doctors”, or “body mechanics”, attempted another CT scan of his intestinal tract. However, if the body stops digesting food it also stops digesting CT dye, which is necessary to perform an accurate x-ray of the digestive tract. This becomes another troubling perplexity for the doctors. At my father’s age and with his history of complicated recuperation from these invasive procedures, the last option a doctor considers is opening the patient up again. Their best bet and their most educated guess was to stick tubes down his throat and vacuum his intestinal acids while slowly pumping bursts of air onto the small intestine’s opening in hopes of dislodging whatever was blocking his passageway. At this time, my father had not had a bowel movement nor had he passed any gas since his admission to the hospital. With his stomach distended like a starving 3rd world child and with no time to waste, he underwent this mechanical “suck-and-blow procedure” for three days. Twenty-four hours later, he passed a bit of gas, giving hopes that the procedure was helping move along whatever it was that was causing the blockage. In an optimistic decision the doctors removed the tubes and attempted to feed him solids like soup and jello. He immediately dejected the “food”, alluding to the theory that this was more than just a minor blockage in his intestine. After two days of attempting to unblock this unknown mass the doctors reconvened to discuss their next option. ((Breaking News)) I  just received a call from my mother telling me they are preparing to operate on him in the morning. Their best guess is the removal of scar tissue resulting from the original invasive surgery. My worse fear is that the cancer has moved from his large intestine to his small intestine, causing significant closure of his bowels. I’ve been in contact with him in this past week and his spirits continue to be at an all time high; however it is my suspicion his optimism is the same facade he’s known for during these understandably undesirable times. It is my hope he is currently without pain and suffering. I hope his blood pressure is low and his spirits are high. It is my hope he walks out of the hospital with a smile on his face and with the confidence of a man who knows he will live to be 103 years old and who isn’t ready to retire to the next realm. But these are MY hopes. I’m not done making this beautiful creature laugh; I’m not done surprising him. Even though I’m 3,000 miles away from his body, I feel more connected to him tonight than I ever have. He is the one who taught me to be man and how to make honest connections in life. I suppose after he passes, so too shall my commitment to the idea of manhood. I will be left in a non-definitive  world of pure existence. But until that time, he’s still my dad; he’s still the one I look towards finding peace in his mistakes. After all, like Father, like Son.

-The concerned son



92
Tuesday February 09th 2010, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Love Letters

To a blizzard’s plight,

It’s winter in New York and there’s a snowstorm expected tonight. I moved here a little over a month ago leaving Los Angeles and its haunting stench and staleness behind. I miss my friends, although I know my absconding was justified as a matter of life or death. In the land of the lost I was quickly losing myself. No, never soft nor subtle, but only fast and furious. When I come, I come correct. I come with passion, ferocity and fervor, propelling ever closer towards the abyss, millimeters from event horizon. It is my suspicion that if I did not immediately leave Los Angeles, I would have been dead in no more then three months. This is not a Hollywood dramatization; this is candid concern for my conscious health. I left my friends behind, and as well my enemies. Most importantly, I left the self destructive part of me that was closing in on the slippery doorstep of death’s domain. No, this is not drama. These thoughts are the cause for my departure from California. So cheers to the rat that jumped ship. Cheers to the survivor and to the loner rodent running as far as he could from the haunting suspicion of an ominous and deadly storm. Yet, instead of running FROM these pathological uncertainties, I ran TOWARDS a better life, towards the Drala, towards the golden sun and the ineffable peace of a winter’s blizzard. Snow is peace; it is warm and cold congruently. It is a peace of mind which allows thoughts to wander into the nude nature of consciousness. Snow resets the cognitive mind like a freshly shorn scalp or a freshly drawn bath; it is the antithesis of the abyss. My natural instinct has been to strip off my confining clothes which inhibit me daily, and instead prance around in the magical freedom of snow’s white canvas. I am the artist’s brush dipped into the palette of the universe, ready to make my mark again. Yet the question prevails: will I continue creating the grotesque, or will I engage in unadulterated beauty? Only time will tell; only time and being will know. It’s beginning to snow now so I shall end this letter knowing my mind and heart are falling deep into to a falling blizzard.

– The Snow Flake



91
Tuesday February 09th 2010, 8:45 pm
Filed under: Love Letters

To a positive outlook,

This year has been by far the most challenging battle I’ve faced on this god-forsaken planet. Consecutive imbroglios have beleaguered my opportunities and yet I still have a panoply of tricks up my sleeve to abscond the despondent strangle-hold I feel on a quotidian basis. Constantly reminding myself to laugh and enjoy life has been a major weapon against the sadness and depression my pathology is drawn towards. One must be burned by the flame to know that the delusion of beauty is the greatest trick of all; do not go into the light for your life will immolate. I offer myself life-lines of hope and happiness to stave off the surrounding invaders of despair. I quell my pain with laughter. And although seemingly insane at times, I still laugh to myself… out-loud… diabolically. And in the words of the late heath ledger as the joker, “why so serious?!”

love,
insanity



90
Tuesday April 28th 2009, 5:25 pm
Filed under: All Letters,Love Letters

To the new mythology,

there’s a hero and he has a million faces. He looks just like her, just like him, and has a body of a tired extinguished star. We’ve seen this hero in our dreams, in our fantasies beyond the realm of what is; the hero surpasses being throughout the infinite. Therefore we can not see the hero, we can not be the hero. The hero only exists in our dreams, in between the synapses eluding reification and materialization, in-between the lines of poems and on the margin’s of the canvas. The hero knows nothing about quotidian plebeian life; the hero has nothing to do with this. The hero wants nothing but the best for everyone, a schizophrenic lover and and despondent foe. The hero is a manifestation of the plight of mankind. Man made the hero what it is today, that is to say, man made the idea of the hero, which could not exist without man’s understanding of what the hero purports to be… when the hero falls in the woods, everyone hears its pain. The hero craves nothing more than that which the hero needs, which is to say, nothing more than the ego-less protection of the hero’s surrounding: you and me. The hero is organ-less, desires nothing, needs nothing and produces nothing. It is perfect and alone.

-The Anti-hero



89
Saturday April 25th 2009, 5:49 pm
Filed under: All Letters,Love Letters

How many years has it been since I’ve written in this journal? What started as an escape plan from my own insanity has become an epic journey into the mind and heart of a lover’s path. Once a burning fire in my soul, you’ve now become a faint and distant star glowing in a sea of gaseous balls in the night sky. I know you’re out there and somehow effect me in ways I won’t pretend to comprehend; your effect is amongst the gravity of the infinite parts of a whole. I feel whole again. When I gaze into at the stars, I no longer feel an empty and cold universe staring back at me. Nietzsche’s quote “when one stares into the abyss, the abyss stares back” is but mere philosophical poetry. The warmth from all the parts and pieces ignites my passions and I know I’ll make my way through the darkness and into the light. Joseph Campell was right to study mythologies and how they interact with our personal understanding of the self. One can not feel or see the light until one is at the mercy of the bitter acrid darkness. I can not attest to how long this feeling of joy will reside in me and I do not care to know the answer. I’ve grown to love myself, to love the moments in life which remind us of who we are, where we have been and where we are going.



88
Saturday April 25th 2009, 12:19 pm
Filed under: All Letters,Love Letters

My arrogance and my ego are the cause for my need to help others. It makes me feel better about myself when others are benefited by my actions. However this will never fully satisfy my desire to truly help others. In fact, it shields me from ever satisfying my desires to be confident and rewarding, brave, the fearless rock I’ve always had the potential to be. And so, after supposing she would find safety in my forest, I found she was still lost, at no fault of mine. It hurts because I feel I have failed. All I ever wanted was for her to be happy, but I can not assist her happiness if I’m not happy with myself, if I just come with my bag full of ego-tricks, falsely helping others just to reward myself. I’ve been a martyr when I should have been a warrior. Yet I lack the wisdom to be brave, albeit, the ultimate warrior ensconced within will prevail: ego-less, selflessness, gentle, fearless, intelligent, powerful, just, caring, magical (inner and outer), ready to engage the world, implying truth, the jungle tiger, the snow leopard, the garuda (mythical bird), the dragon, meek, perky, outrageous, inscrutable. When I exist, I will exist for myself, bettering myself, my posture, the way in which I engage with my world– perception is key, slowing my actions, following through with my commitments, not forcing loved ones to improve themselves, but to be gentle and fearless, allowing the drala to interact with them. Not becoming sad and fearful, doubtful of the primordial goodness in the cosmic mirror. I will pay attention to space, existence in a vacuum. I must remember to give up hope, for if things don’t work out, I won’t be disappointed. I must remember to be doubtless, never “ah ha” or “I’m there” because there is no there. I will exist egoless, without “I”.

-the warrior



87
Friday April 18th 2008, 12:00 pm
Filed under: All Letters,Love Letters

To the serious side,

I have just realized something very interesting about how serious I take my lovers, but more importantly how serious I take my break ups. I don’t choose to be so dramatic; my mind just seems to go in the direction of depression and self-loathing when love fails. It’s as if I were predisposed to depression after an intense emotional relationship. I wonder if anyone else has come to this conclusion about his or her post-love state of being? Am I the only one in this world who feels destitute at the end of a relationship? Maybe I should develop a fallout out plan for myself, which I can follow like a nuclear threat document. A step-by-step guide to ending a relationship might be the only way I will survive my next love. Instead of making enemies with my ex-lovers, which I always seem to do, maybe a goal oriented document which I use as a daily reference, can lead me on the path of, dare I say, friendship? The steps to such an instructional manual would read as follows:
1. No! Whatever you are thinking right now is wrong.
2. Breathe.
3. You are making assumptions out of your emotional disfigurement which only have superficial relevancy to YOUR well-being.
4. Stop making universal conclusions about this breakup.
5. Smile if you know what’s good for you.
6. It’s not the end of the world, unless you kill yourself.
7. Breathe again.
8. Now is the time for you to turn to your friends without embarrassment to ask for their help and support. Don’t worry, that’s what they’re there for.
9. You are going to get through this, if you want to.
10. Stop blaming yourself, even if it was your fault. Shit happens, people separate, new loves are conceived, and yes, people die alone.
11. People dying is a metaphor; get used to it buddy.
12. Find something beautiful today, even if it is something minuscule or temporary.
13. Keep fucking breathing asshole.
14.  Do you really think God has time to get vengeance on you? No! God didn’t do this to you and neither did the devil. Remember, shit happens.
15. Crying is natural. Don’t hold in your emotions. That shit can kill you.
16. Someday, I promise you, you will laugh again. Even if it’s a macabre ironical laugh on your deathbed; you’ll still crack a lame ass death-grin.
17. You may never find another person like this one. But why would you want to anyway? If things didn’t work out the first time, they sure as hell won’t work out the second time.
18. Go watch the sunrise. Then go watch the sunset. Now think about home many people saw the same thing. You are not alone.
19. Stop winging about your loss. If you don’t smile, I’ll beat a smile into you.
20. Be nice to yourself. You’re all you have in this world now.

In conclusion, if you’re still feeling suicidal, sad, lonely, depressed, unnerved, restless, demonic, etc., feel free to punch things like walls and cars. However, just know, walls and cars don’t care about you, just like your ex lover. They will hurt you ten fold. Good luck, stay sharp, stay smart and remember, BREATHE ASSHOLE.

As you can tell, our breakup damaged me pretty badly, and I can only imagine how horrific the next breakup for me could be. In fact, the fear of what’s to come inhibits me from pursuing the thought or action of finding a next love. In terms of emotional connections with other humans, especially women, I’ve been recluse, almost to an extreme agoraphobic state.

-Silly me



86
Friday April 18th 2008, 11:50 am
Filed under: All Letters,Love Letters

Divorce Papers,

You’ve signed them and mailed them back to the Los Angeles court house. I’ve been meaning to go check up on the process, but haven’t had the will power to do so. The courthouse is only ten blocks from here. Again, I’ve failed. My phone rang a month ago. Your voice on the other end of the line sounded like the sweet currents in the rivers of Hell. You asked if I had heard from the courts. No. I haven’t. And I don’t expect to. Not for another 4 months at least. I’m not sure why you decided to share this with me, but you told me you had plans to leave the country, to go travel to South America with friends. How lovely that sounds to my deaf ears. I want to be happy for you, happy for your travel plans, for your ongoing life. But I will not allow myself to feed on that pleasure. Depression is setting in. I can feel it in the back of my head. The muscles around my temples are spasming and my mind is clearly fogged. I feel confused by my wandering thoughts during lonely nights. The bed seems empty and cold and wrapping myself in a blanket makes me uneasily claustrophobic. It’ll be my 25th birthday in two days. And here I sit, a year and a half after our break up, lamenting and tormenting. The ghosts scream thoughts of suicide and self-destruction. 25 years old, and I’m lonely, cold and tired. I’m tired of meeting new acquaintances that go nowhere. I’m tired of thoughts full of self-doubt and pity. It exhausts me to think that I may never know another lover with eyes wide open. I’m mentally sleepy, and it shames me. I don’t write to you often. Now it seems, only in moments of desperate sadness do I turn to these journals to share with you the darkest side of my psyche. Good things have happened since my last entry, yet I can’t recall a single one of them. The nature of depression is the nature of the beast. Like Saturn eating her young in Francisco Goya’s painting, the ugly mother eats at my thoughts. Even before the depression, I have tell-tale signs of its oncoming. I start to feel numb to the world. My inner vision fine-tunes itself into a myopic tunnel. The world around me collapses as I refuse to interact with “the other”. Sadness prevails as I am swept away into the bleak and miserable void. Am I a cliché because of how inescapable desperation makes me? Are these the feelings of the classic manic-depressive states? If only there were a pill to make it all go away. Not just something to cure the symptoms, but something to dissipate everything. Is that death? Does it all end when I end? Wouldn’t the irony of an afterlife be a miserable conclusion to the nihilist? For my sake, and for the sake of anyone who just wants to finalize these curious demons, I hope there is no heaven or hell. I hope reincarnation doesn’t exist. I hope that when I die, I die forever. As a side note, there is a bible that has been sitting next to my desk for a few weeks now. I know I’m getting desperate because the thought of starting to believe in something better than the daily squalor I interact with is getting stronger. Weakness propagates the onset of depression. I want to find strength, somewhere, in something; and I know it’s not inside me.

-Depressed



85
Friday April 18th 2008, 11:37 am
Filed under: All Letters,Love Letters

Valentines Day

Let us discuss this day of love. Let us delve into why this day even exists. That damn Grecian angel of love comes down into our lives, a living in hell, and shoots us with his hypnotic goddamn arrows of slavery. What kind of bastard anarchist saint of god would trap us in the dungeons of chains for its own amusement? No! No minion of a good lord would enslave humans in such a dark myopic cage! Cupid must be a servant of evil, or the lord Satan himself. Ever since I can remember, and from what I have read in human history, love has been on the tips of human’s tongues (and genitals). Love has been the epitome of “ultimate self-realization” because one can only love another if one loves oneself. Well, I say fuck this clichéd assumption of what love has been for humans in the thousands of years of our silly traditions. Let’s restate what love is for individuals living now, in the year 2006 (of our dear lord). Love is not an ultimate or a truth to cling on to, as if it were a scientific discovery of universality. “Love” is a word imagined by human-beings through their subjective understanding of their experiences; it does not define any truism set forth by god, saints, prophets or holy magistrates, and it does not constitute any sort of ultimate ominous doctrine for existence. Must one love another to procreate? No! Must one love another to cause pain and suffering? No! Must one understand a socially acceptable definition of love to gain social status? No! Our western (American) faith in the etymology of the word “love” convolutes the diverse and fluid existence of our human neurological process which we coin the term “love” as representing. “Love” is not monogamy. “Love” is not a tax break. “Love” is not a state issued marriage certificate. “Love” is not what we’ve come to understand through language. However, “Love” is a prominent goal in our western culture. “Love” is a wonderful feeling that westerners fight for, lie for and die for. We have faith in “love”. We believe that “love” is an ultimate stasis which can cure any illness, physical or neurological, no matter how far we stray from “love’s” path. But, let me tell you, my dear, “love” doesn’t destroy any demons we have stowed away in our inner neurological suitcases. “Love” is only a high that leads to clandestine machinations of our super ego. “Love” is an unlawful addiction without a 12-step program. Furthermore, “Love” is the culprit which makes hate possible. For what reason do we celebrate such an insidious emotion on this day, February 14th? As I pause to contemplate what I’ve just written, a voice inside is telling me how wrongfully hateful I am being. Ergo, I’d like to state a disclaimer to this letter: I do believe “Love” is the most important thing a human can hold on to. “Love” is the propagation of faith, which in turn is the answer to intuition, where intuition is the nurtured response to the nature of survival; hence, “Love” is Darwinian, meaning it exists to propagate survival, yet at the same time, “Love” is the only reason artists make art, while art has nothing to do with survival. “Love” is the only reason why I write these letters to you.

-A lover