loss 7

another loss – vii

it’s been over five years since I saw you, my friend, and I heard that you died this july. i don’t know if you ever really got clean, but i heard that you tried and that’s more than we could of said about us back then, when we were full tilt, chaotic. the new life in me cries for you, my friend, the old embers in my eyes glow in remembrance, i mean, i have forged a path in recovery and life has new wonders to share. i only wish you could have made it through, too. i relocated north of there, not long after the night we shared with music and laughter and our common bond. the signs had accumulated for some time, flashes of gunfire and madness and theft, and the trails and traces of my chemical romance had ended in black smoke signals, severely. my angels were there looking out for me, they saw me into my despairing, then gave me a chance and reason to change, and i implored God and let go and reached out and took up a new and renewable source, and brandished my pen once again. each and every day i can thank my loves for letting me live, and i wonder where were yours, where were yours? your star would have risen and lit up a world, and your daughter would have felt loved once again, and for her and for you and the world i am sad…
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loss five

another loss – v

the sun was edging into view and we were beginning to wake up to the reality of the world and our meagre places in it, the year twenty ten and family nowhere to be found, nobody’s fault but yours, nobody’s fault but mine. i was on the move again and it was your last night staying there, too. i began helping you pick up your place, between runs i made to Magnolia with my own belongings. check out time was noon and the landlords were no nonsense; there was a security detail they would call to kick people out. you see, something you understood about me and i related back to you was, on any given day, having no place to call home. all we had was our friends and our music and our journals, back then, and maybe a storage unit with our name to it. and out into a new day in the city, intense and unpredictable, helping one another a little bit when there’s no one else you can trust, hoping to survive…

loss 4

another loss -iv

i borrowed your bike because mine was already locked up in my future home, this cool and windless morning, and after passing through De Fremery Park,  i found my key under a stone and let myself into the ranch on Magnolia surrounded by high and gapless fence. after catching my breath, i switched out yours for mine, as my Motobecane was twice ten speed and yours BMX. i determined it too dangerous to travel slow through West Oakland at dawn. the lady of the house, an attorney corrupted by law, was dead asleep ina sheet ona couch in the living room. i held my new key close to my heart, and walked down the hall to see the project i had recently completed. two new coats of eggshell paint covered four walls, ready to receive the light and warm a heart or two. all the cat dander raised up in the disturbance, in my lungs now,  soon to wake me with fits of asthma overnight. once i would be lucky, with my dear Kali at my side in the cot, fourth of july, to help with pressure points and rifle through my many backpacks for my inhaler , to rescue me without breath.

loss one

another loss -i

You let me stay one night in your room, many years ago,  i was in between places and spaces and a kick in the gut had landed me in Oakland with nowhere to go. Brown-outs were my life back then, and nobody can tell you what your psychosis is gonna look like or how it will feel, because they aren’t buried behind your eyes. Electronic Dance Music was one thing we had in common that night, and we had what was left of my battered laptop to trade tracks that touched us…

Jennifer Mendiola

in memoriam – Jennifer M.

You were my friend. You had reached out to me in January of this year, randomly, and I was so glad to hear from you, I don’t know why I did not follow the way to see if we could hook up for a moment in this life, one last time? Life gets chaotic and there’s nothing much you can do. Suddenly starts, suddenly ends, and gradually you realize you never know when. We can try, though, and that’s exactly what I forgot to do, about you. Jennifer Mendiola aka Alana Kane. I will miss your enduring smile. I cried very hard tonight when I discovered you sailed out on a Ghost Ship and never to return. The clock struck midnight and you and your lover, you were dancing, you were gone. I remember back in 2009 when I met you South of Market, San Francisco. We were counselors at a painful place. Sixteen beds for sixteen lost and homeless souls. I brought my desire to help. You brought your presence and your smile. We got along easily, though the work we had to do was hard and brutal. Just outside those double locked doors in this sanctuary city, people were driven to desperate intoxication and suicidal panic, and all the time. I could not believe you at first, I wondered how could you smile all day long like that? From dawn to 3pm when we got out. There were times I thought you must be faking it, I confess. All the methadone nods of sixteen souls all around us? The cutting scars and track marks? The lonely vacant stares, up and down the carpet stairs. But we knew we could make a small difference in a semi-safe space. Listen to them tell us their stories. Hold them if they cried. Teach them simple skills if they wanted to learn. Laugh like we were family, and for a time we were. Everything about it could be cold, day by day. Yet you smiled. I guess you had just recently been married around then, I didn’t really know or maybe I forgot. All I know is we worked well together and kept the place running, which was the best we could do with phones ringing, doors buzzing, and sixteen souls in need of something all the time. I really admired you. I knew I could trust you, you worked real hard and really cared. If I walked in the door and saw you, those early foggy San Francisco mornings, some of that tension, that burden a social worker experiences inside, fell off of me immediately. I could take my earbuds out, warm my hands with breath, take a deep breath and look to you. Talk to you. Get willing with you toward the day ahead of us. I will miss you my friend. I will think upon you when the work gets brutal, and try and smile through.

journal

Journal # 08.22.16

We used to walk together down to the boatyard with grandma in the village, trading gossip and good stories about things only locals knew about the lake. The long and deep winters burrow into you and you become reflective in the intervals between cutting and hauling wood for the fire. The snow falls night and day and you are steady and still as the lake frozen over. You listen to the wind whistling through the gaps. The world outside your windows is beautiful and unforgiving, and you develop a deep respect for the ways of the world, the season and its accompanying challenges. Some are keeping bees and tapping maples for syrup. Others are hunting and trapping. Still others are shopkeepers and schoolteachers. The many state and national parks are staffed by rangers and historians, though the groundskeepers are always the heart of any place, for they can remember how it all came to be.

Only they can keep the place running. You will know them by their oil-soaked shirts and plain stained pants, and a ring or two of keys. Only they are entrusted with certain secrets which more than likely will go to the grave with them – but their honeys know, too. My grandma lost her husband in the early seventies by a heart condition, and then outlived him by a quarter century. She ran an antique shop called The Barn in Melvin Village, NH. She traded in painted barrel staves and chests and American furniture from the 20th and 19th centuries. Sometimes I imagine her all alone up there in the strike of a desolate winter, getting by with the help of neighbors and friends. I can see her striking it up over coffee in the living room adjoined to the barn, with any of her favorite local all-around men. Serving them coffee in the peeking of dawn. I see the hardened swollen hands receiving and carefully encircling the ceramic coffee mugs, and sipping the coffee she percolated, black. I see both the pain and laughter in her eyes. The mutuality. Her love lost. And the easy conversation goes to shop matters and upkeep, and rumination over how long things will last. And god, do I miss her.

cold. the purple rain

Cold, cold, the rain when you got a million fans and you’re gettin older and life is painful, seems it always hurts as god is your witness. Cold, cold the rain as you set your jet on target for the sun. I saw you there, once, dressed in black and white. Caught in the electrical storm, can-not-rise-a-bove-the-pur-ple-rain. The pills make it a little easier and won’t take you down, no, nothing can. Nobody can tell you what to do, your music heralded all around the world and god has blessed you, we held you here on high. Cold, cold the rain and you gave away the umbrella. You always liked it raw. Any stage any auditorium any stadium, the people they lined up for you. Cold, cold the rain falls in Minnesota. You gave us hope and power and free-dom-to-cre-ate-our-loving-selves. You gave me power and hope. Cold, cold the rain, the purple rain, tonight it falls for you.     – 2 Prince. love KatYa