Dreams-So Hard to Grasp in Waking

I often can’t remember my dreams.  There are bits that stick with me.  Yet, often I am peering at these remnants through mist or smoke.  It is hard to grasp any part firmly in my mind and keep there as I return to the waking world.  There was a period when I attempted to write down dreams.  There were pen and paper at the bedside.  As I lay there waiting for sleep to overcome me, I commanded myself to remember whatever the dream world allowed me to see.

For maybe a year or two I made a concerted effort to write down every dream remembered.  Whatever was remembered even if only a snippet or only took a sentence, was taken down.  Soon I remembered more and more of the dreams.  But the more I remembered and wrote down, the more surreal the dreams seemed in the morning hours.  Eventually I didn’t write them down.  And as consequence I hardly remember any in the morning these days.

I certainly don’t remember last night’s dream or any from last week.  The last dream I remember was from a couple of weeks ago and it was really something.  It concerned a three-some with Megan-a girl I work with and would love to marry-and an unidentified girl and myself.  We had a serious French lesson in nonstandard love.

There are glimpses of touching and kissing and gazing.  The stimulation of the senses was overwhelming.  In the snippets recalled I often just laid there letting the sensation of pleasure fill the room.  Then wishing it to engulf me, engulf us.  The feeling was one of leaving an atmosphere filled with only oxygen and entering one with…more.  It wasn’t like slipping into water, but I did feel buoyant.  Not weightless, yet I felt lighter.  There was caressing of face and arms and ankles and ears, but not from hands or an others skin.  If I reached for it I couldn’t touch it, but if I did nothing, this essence, this what ever it was, would slip over me.  It would seep into my skin, and joints, and muscles, and nostrils.  This extra -as I can to think of it-would wrap me in feelings so wondrous and exciting that I wanted to stay within its sphere of existence for eternity.  Or at least the foreseeable future, I would have settled for that.

Yet all to soon I found myself awake, in my room.  Clothes piled high on the foot of the bed.  Books strewn about the floor.  My cat Kublai rested at the foot of piled clothes.  The purr of contentment softly rolled out of his chest.  Oxygen.  Plain oxygen filled my lungs.  All was normal.  The waking world was as I left it.

I didn’t write the dream down.  I lay there trying to remember that feeling, trying to find words to describe how I felt, and what it felt like. Before I could solidify my thoughts into words, I drifted back into the world of dreams, of which I remember nothing.

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Winter-Love or Depressed

I love the idea of winter.  I love being inside, a fire rampaging in the fireplace, drinking a nice glass of wine, or a great glass of Scotch.  My arm around Fanbin, while she snuggles deep into the blankets.  The wood fibers pop and crack, sending pieces of log flying as if they were a corn kernel popping.  The wind screams like a band of crazed Celts.  It slams across the wooden shell of the house, tearing and clawing across shingles, and eaves, and gutters.

But if I had to go out into the cold and nastiness, I am chilled to bone.  I hate to be cold; the way it sinks into sinews and joints, and blood vessels.  The cold saps my mind, slows my reaction time, thought process, and reflexes.  My feet slowly go numb.  My hands don’t want to open.  My ears burn red.  Winter is better as an idea, rather than an experience.

It doesn’t depress me so much as makes me miserable.

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Too Many Memories for One Favorite

I have so many great memories that stand out.  Perhaps tops on the list would be holding my son for the first time.    He was so tiny and squirmy.

Unfortunately his mother’s and I’s relationship was not a strong, stable or trusting one.  We fought and said terrible, hateful words.  I know mine were worse and certainly designed to inflict maximum hurt.  Eventually I left her, and him.  I couldn’t see us being a good parental unit together, for I certainly was not going to make the effort.  In my heart I knew that wouldn’t be good for our son, Jeff.  I had lived through my parents divorce and all the yelling, shouting, door slamming, drinking bouts, and icy tension.  Our problems were not his problems and he deserved better.  There was no way I was prepared to deliver.

Kelly eventually married Bobby.  He adopted Jeff.  They had 4 more kids together and are still married.  Jeff turned out pretty good.  He took up running cross country and playing basketball.  He became a decent player in high school and in junior college.  He graduated high school and juco with honors.

One of my hopes in moving back here to Quincy was to get to meet Jeff and if he wanted a relationship I was prepared.  If he didn’t I certainly understood.  Unfortunately this hasn’t happened yet.  But I am a patient man.  In the mean time to see him play b-ball and be there for the graduation have become cherished memories.

Memories Part II

I started this prompt making a list and Jeff was the first two.  Many of the others are from various stages of my life, most come from my travels around the country and Europe and Asia.  I had a few motivators for how I have lived.

Jeff is perhaps the greatest.  If we ever meet I wanted to have crazy stories to tell and I wanted them to be about the world outside of this sliver of Illinois.  Julie is another.  The second girl I ever loved.  The one who broke my heart into a gazillion miniscule parts.  I spent years looking for them, putting them back in my chest.  Cheri.  The first girl I ever loved and thinks me crazy for it.  I first saw her in high school.  I was standing on the glass enclosed walk way between the main campus and the technical and mechanical part of campus.  Her head held high, walking firmly, confidently; she ignored the stares at her bulging belly.  This was the 80’s so she had large hair.  The bangs she teased 5 or 6 inches above her crown.  She held her books crossed over her chest.  I decided to follow her to see where she was going, even though my class was in the main campus building  and she was heading into the technical building.  I couldn’t help myself.  I was drawn to her, to that power, that determination.  I watched her go into a class and the first bell rang, signaling I had two minutes to get to my class.  It normally took me 4 minutes from this section of school to get to where I needed to go, so I didn’t dither any longer.  But everyday I would wait and watch for her.  I hoped she would look my direction and I could find the bravery to talk.  She never did and I was not certain how to approach a woman, for that is how she carried herself, even if everyone else in the school failed to recognize it, who was so obviously pregnant.  Two years after graduating high school we began dating.  It didn’t last long, 6 months or a year.  She moved away to Springfield.  Whenever I drive past Springfield I would stop and call her, even after she got married.

She eventually divorced, and went back to college and graduated.  She now has two masters, one in mathematics, and one in computer science.  Cheri teaches at the first university I funked out of, ISU.  Her daughter, the one she was pregnant with in high school, is a student at ISU, taking photography classes.  Cheri and I still talk, even tough she is with some pompous ass computer science professor, and they have two sons together.  C’ est la vie.

My friends in my hometown.  I often think of them as I write about travels, sites seen, experiences had.  This corner of the world Quincy is located in, is well protected.  Hardly anything bad happens here.  Doors are left unlocked.  Windows left wide open.  Keys left in ignitions and car doors unlocked.  One can walk about any street, day or night.  Often I think history doesn’t happen here.  It happens else where.  But moving back I seldom talk about my travels.  I feel out of place talking of  such matters.  Though if the occasion presents itself I mention situations or events in passing.

Finally my friend Mike.  I meet him in China while teaching there.  He was retired from the Army, and moved to Sanming City with his wife Lin.  Her family lived in Sanming.  She escaped to Germany after Tianamen Square.  There Mike meet her and they married.  They moved to Sanming to take care of Lin’s mom.  Mike with nothing better to do, decided to bring baseball to the University where I was teaching English.  I ended up helping to coach and became the unofficial program photographer and cultural translator between Mike and the Chinese translators the school provided.  It was surreal at times.  Communist officials would stop by and take batting practice.  Mike would often times fling his hat to the ground in disgust, stomping the field as a barrage of profanities filled the air.  The Chinese students were horrified to see such a display of emotion.  Some nights we would play past dusk and everyone was hard pressed to see the balls, either coming out of the pitchers hand or flying off the bat.  At least once a week Mike and I would head to the whore house masquerading as a restaurant outside the school gate, for cold beer and fried peanuts.  There he would talk of looking for a Spanish galleon off the Oregon coast, or excavating an old fort in Nombre de Dios, Panama, while I diverted any unwanted attention by surveying an old rail line built by the French in their failed attempt to build a canal.  Or he would dream of moving to Hainan Island; there he would build a football team and I would be his assistant.  As we talked the beer bottles would fill the table.  There would be 15 or 20 empty bottles at the end of everyone of these nights.  Eventually he would stumble back into town and I would trudge back to my room on campus, sometimes with a hooker, but most times alone.

We coached together the better part of two and half years.  After two and half years I had to get away.  The madness of it all was too much for me.  Unfortunately 7 or 8 months after I left Sanming Mike Past away.  I am not sure of what, much was lost in translation.  All I know is that I break down any time I think of bringing his remains from China to the States, to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Part III

Originally I planned to make a list of memories but this project has taken on form of its own very different from what I visualized.  My plan was to make the list and then in time come back to expand on some of these memories in later posts.  Well I guess I have to adjust this idea a little as I have expanded on a couple of items on the list.  Here are the other memories on that list.

1.Wandering the grounds of Giverny and staring into the pooled water which inspired so much.

2.Drinking Vietnamese Iced Coffee on the streets of Saigon (AKA Ho Chi Minh City).  Once a plastic stool like chair buckled under my weight sending me sprawling into gutter, as I spilled this delicious drink.  I am not sure what street I was on, but it was near to where the old US embassy stood in Saigon.

3. Driving my 1978 gold Trans Am with the t-tops off and the Kenwood Stereo turned up.

4. Sitting in a small one room shack on some island in Thailand watching the light blue waves brush the small cove below the hut.

5. Driving my 1987 750cc Honda NightHawk through the cool nights, up and down the river roads outside my hometown of Quincy.

6. Traveling over narrow country roads in Western Ireland.  I remember seeing the multitude of greenish hues of grass and moss.  It was as if every shade green possessed was being used.  It dotted creek banks, and patches of earth near and under trees and bushes.  It covered brick walls and rolling hills and steep mountainous peaks.  I would never have believed that so many possible shades of green existed if I hadn’t driven those roads.  And as my family and I drove those roads our Irish cousin Father Kirean would regal us with tales of Brian Boru and his battles and glory.  He would point out areas were the little people lived or fought or cursed.  And of course he had all the town square gossip, which was lost on us Yanks.

7. Being blessed by Pope John Paul II in Vatican Square, in 16 different languages, and despite my lapsed Catholic standing.

8. Lying in bed sick, and Fanbin stays with me nursing me.  She would place wet towels on my forehead and sing songs in Chinese.  When I was racked with bouts of shivers she covered me in blankets and held me tight.  I have never forgotten how loved I felt that night.

That is the end of the list.  But I know I have more favorite memories.

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Leap Year Births

This was an easy prompt to do, and as such I plan to write two posts today rather than one.  This prompt wanted to know if I knew of anyone born in a leap year.  The short answer is no, not that I know of.

Though the question does make me wonder how would I celebrate my birthday if I were born on April 29.  I guess I would pick May 1st as my day for three years and then celebrate it “early” on the fourth year.

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Favorite Lipstick Color/Perfume

I am thinking that some of these prompts are lady-centric.  I don’t usually give much thought to lipstick, but here goes.

I would have to say I really like a deep burning red, especially being worn by a girl with brunette hair.  Other odd colors can be fascinating in a novel way, like blue or purple.  But for my money red adds rather than detracts or obscure a woman’s beauty.

When it comes to perfume I know what I like when I smell it, but seldom to I know its name.  I do remember an old girlfriend always worn Stetson for Ladies.  I find even to this day 20 years later stopping to smell that scent, where ever I am, for as long as possible, trying to conjure images of Jules neck, tanned, strains of her reddish hair trailing over her shoulder.  I remember her cute pug nose, and those expressive eyes, bright, alert, if she thought you weren’t paying attention.  Her eyes would cloud with passivity, indifference, if you were.  A wall would go up, rather it was always there.  I would just stumble into it; the mist of playfulness and joy would drop away.

I longed to be let beyond the fortifications, to be trusted, loved, accepted, smothered in warmth and wetness. I longed to feel the enormity of her being, her essence,her love of me, even if it dropped me to my knees, or crushed me beneath its weigh. I longed.

Part II-As I am thinking of what perfumes I like, and I can’t name but one, I know there is one I detest.  Of course I don;t know its name either.  But I do know it smells like an old, musty, drawer.  It smells of an elderly person.  It is as if the musty, old person smell is collected, put in a bottle, and sold to women. It has a hint of old lace, liniment oil, musty newspapers, death, and/or decaying life.  The smell reminds me of times when I would open my grandmother’s  top cabinet drawer, to get some trifle toy or gift she saved for me.  The smell horrifies me.  I suspect I will smell this scent when Death comes for me.

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Never a Kool Cid

My reputation in high school…I wasn’t a cool kid or really much of a trouble maker, nor was I the smart one, or creative one.  Though I had traits for all and aspired to be a little of all.  I loved a good time and was always trying to get the scoobie on who was having a party.

I could be mischievous, especially in Coach Legett’s class-one time in biology the class was to dissect a rat.  My partner and I cut a slit in our rats body.  We proceeded to press on its chest whereby all the formaldehyde inside the rat sprayed all over Coach Legett’s desk and plants.  We did it several times, until the rat was empty.  I believe several of the plants took a turn for the worse after that class.  Legett even commented on his plants rather sorry state.

I worked all through high school at the Dairy Queen in the Quincy Mall.  I earned the keys to the store.  In the morning before school started two days a week I would go in and put away the deliveries.  I also delivered papers my freshman year.  I got fired for the second time just before Easter.  I played soccer my freshman year and rode the bench. I was frustrated that whole year.  The coaches tried to move me to left striker from middle halfback.  I never grew comfortable kicking with my left foot.  It felt awkward, cumbersome and as if I were moving towards the ball in slow motion. Part of the reason for the change in position was I was fast.  I could fly.  And there was another kid who played middle halfback.  He was pretty good.  He was probably better at staying in his assigned space, than I was.  The team I played for before high school encouraged me to be a roamer.  I was to go where the ball was, stop the opposing player and if possible kick the ball to our forwards and strikers.  I was to reinforce our strikers if they were threatening to score, as I could fly back  if needed to defend.  I quit after my freshman year.  I took up smoking and on occasion drinking beer.  Sometimes I would sneak across the street from the high school into the wooded area.  In the middle of the woods was an abandoned house where the stoners would get high.  I sometimes joined them, though I didn’t smoke dope-that would come after high school.  I would light up a smoke, trembling with fear and exhilaration at all the prospects sneaking away from school held.  I never caught doing this.  I didn’t get caught doing a lot of my smoking.  Though one time a sub took my pack of smokes in class and after class I went I to the desk and reclaimed them.  Even at two fifty a pack they weren’t cheap and I wasn’t going to be out the money and the smokes.  The sub never said anything to me and I was never called to the office.

Once there were a bunch of us in the bathroom smoking between classes and someone noticed a military mortar shell in the last stall.  I being a military enthusiast examined it and discovered it was a smoke bomb.  What and how it got there I have no idea, nor did anyone else.  As we discussed what to do someone had the great idea of pulling the pin and setting it off.  We did.  And red smoke came billowing out, slowly enveloping the entire bathroom.  We all ran out of there before a teach could catch us.  In my haste I left my books on one of the sinks.  Looking around to make sure it was clear of teachers I ran back in and coughing  and kung fu hacking my way through the smoke I found my books and one of my buddies books.  I snatched them up and hauled ass out of there.  I made it to class as the bell was ringing.  All through class I expected a call to the principals office.  It never came.  In fact I don’t recall anything ever being said or any fuss being made of the incident.  Perhaps it was one of those incidents those in charge feel is best left unmentioned.

As for what others thought of me in high school, I am not really sure.  I had my group of friends.  We weren’t what I considered the cool kids, but we weren’t outcasts either.  We could move in almost any click and not be ostracized,

All-in-all my high school years were pretty good.  I wouldn’t good back and relive them, but I didn’t hate them either.

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What Challenges My Creativity?

Besides life and second jobs?  Nothing else really…except myself.  The voice of doubt is forever going off in my head.  Anxiousness.  When this strikes I can’t sit still and I make a bazillion trips to the fridge.  I walk aimlessly around the house.  I channel surf and on the plus side I begin to clean my rather messy house.  I even do dishes, but I just never seem to get to the bathroom.

Another problem is the amount of time I use trying to write a paragraph.  I can use an hour.  Then I get frustrated that I could have been doing something else.  Then I get frustrated that is whole writing thing is a farce, and that maybe I should move on and forget it.  And it all sort of spirals away from me.  I will spend more time reeling it back together, before sitting down and picking up a pen.

I have recently begun thinking about a potential problem, well problems.  How do I know I am done?  Where do I send my finished stories?  What format do I use?  Where do I find the answer to this question?

Naps.  I love my naps.  I have been working on writing  for a couple of hours, then napping, then getting up and begin writing again.  I am much better at this.

Embarrassment.  I have returned to my hometown and I find I don’t feel comfortable sharing my writing with anyone here.  I feel out of place here.  I have always felt out of place here.  It is one of many reasons I moved away (I should write them all down and see how many there are).  I feel embarrassed to share what I have written.  I am embarrassed to find how critical I consider others. and the situation I have found here.  I am embarrassed how little I have accomplished in writing.  I have begun 20 stories at least, yet I have to finish one.

Feeling trapped.  i feel trapped here.  I feel trapped by money.  I feel trapped by lack of activities here.  I feel trapped by lack of friends.  I feel trapped by not blending in.  I feel I can’t go out to eat alone, or to the movies alone, or to the small events this place has, alone.  I feel trapped by that.  I feel trapped that all I can think about is leaving.  And I feel trapped that I have an obligation to my father.  Of course most responsibility leaves me feeling trapped.  Though I don’t feel trapped by making this commitment to writing-in fact it is freeing.  I feel trapped by life here.

Alone.  I have been alone a long time.  Yet until I moved back here I never felt loneliness.  It leaves me scared and full of despair.  It makes me question if I have made the right decisions.  I know when I travel every aspect of life feels right.  I know living in Portland feels right.  Almost nothing about here feels right.  Only looking after my father feels right; and I still feel trapped by that, which in turn leaves me feeling guilty.

Despair.  I despair that I am stuck in this town until I die.  While this town is great to raise a family, and is fairly safe-hell i still leave my front door unlocked and windows unbarred-it is no place for me.  Yet I keep coming back to my father.  For I despair to leave him here without family.  There is no lesser of two despairs.  He is in his 70’s and is a big rambling house and while he is the absent minded professor-by type and literally-I believe it to getting worse.  But I am not sure, if it this is true.  Perhaps I am seeing what is not really there.  My grandfather on my mother’s side suffered Alzheimer’s and I was one of the first to give voice to this fact.  Of course I was young and dismissed.  Now I see similar things but not as severe as my grandfather. My dad has always been forgetful.  I am not sure what to do, or say, or should I say anything.  While our relationship is fairly good these days, it wasn’t always.  I have never been his favorite son, that distinction goes to my brother.  But he is on the coast, with a family, and new job, and isn’t here.  My brother’s and I’s relationship has been rocky too.  I am still peeved that he didn’t answer my pleas for help.  I more or less insisted that he move here to help dad.  That way I could move away and travel the world.  It might have been selfish but I know if I travel everything will feel right again.  And maybe in that rightness, the answer will come to me.

I am sure I have other blocks to creativity.  I am sure I will touch upon all of this again.  In fact I have been writing about the second job, and the situation with my dad.  All I want at this point is  to leave here.  And the guilt of that desire is crushing my soul.

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