Time of Renewal, Time of Peace

Easter.
Time of Renewal.
Time of Peace.

Mid-April.
Green slowly returning in Maine,
an explosion of color in most of the world.

April in Paris.
Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC and Japan.
Magnolias in the American South.

Easter.
Time of Egg hunts
and chocolate.

Of the scary bunny,
with hollow dead eyes.

Of eating off the top of
chocolate bunnies
head first.

Jelly Beans.
Easter Grass,
odd plastic stuff.
What weird times we live in.

Of thankfulness,
family,
forgiveness.

Of praying for your sins,
to improve.
To flower along with the trees
and grasses, annuals and perennials.

Jesus.
The Prince of Peace.
May you help heal a broken world.
Help the meek,
help the poor,
help those suffering.

People need help
in these greedy times.
Capital is merely a tool,
Capitols aren’t supposed to
controlled by capital.

Enjoy the green,
enjoy seeing winter trees slowly bud,
the birds slowly return.

The sun is almost set,
Easter in the morning.
Blessings to all
in this holy time
of Easter, Ēostre and Passover.

May it bring renewal to your life.
May it bring peace.
After a difficult 2 years I could use peace in my heart.

Blessed be.

A Day Without a Smartphone

Smartphones are amazing things. What would be considered a super computer not that long ago in the palm of your hand.

The ablility to send a Tweet around the world. The ability to send a Facebook message to all your friends and followers. Amazing apps, games, messaging ….

You know you can turn them off. No, seriously you can.

My phone died on Tuesday afternoon. Put it in my coat pocket, went to fix my car and then weird squares on the bottom left.

I went to the Great Lost Bear for mac and cheese and beer and it wouldn’t work. I tried removing the Otterbox (which has a horrible design on the Galaxy S4 that already broke from Thanksgiving with loose rubber and breaking plastic that doesn’t seal), and changing the battery but the problem continued.

I want to tweet and message about the the first date going on next to me. It did seem to be going relatively well and I think they will have a second date, not sure if it will be a long-term relationship, but they will likely be friends.

I also tried the crazy mix at Great Lost Bear that is mac and cheese, topped with baked beans, topped with cole slaw and then three fried pickles in a mason jar. It was good but I think wicked farty.

Yesterday, I didn’t really miss my phone that much. I was mainly zoning out and watching stuff like “Orange is the New Black” (which is awesome.)

Usually at work I use my phone more. I check in with my wife, I use it to listen to music since I lost my iPod a few weeks ago, and I play smartphone games (been addicted to FIFA 14).

But the Galaxy is down for the count and the SD card is missing from my old Evo so most of the apps don’t work.

So on my downtime I read more. Read a bunch of the April “The Bollard” (easily my favorite free paper in town and favorite newspaper considering the Portland Press Herald kind of sucks these days.) And I read quite a bit of the 2013 Entertainment Weekly with the 100 best of all time. Really “My Dark Twisted Fantasy” by Kanye West is the 8th best album of all time, really? Between Aretha Franklin and “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys, really?

And as much as I love Woody Allen and adore Annie Hall, I just don’t like Manhattan **, I have tried multiple times but it’s just ridiculous. Why would he really fall for Muriel Hemingway’s HS character, does he have some weird thing for young girls?

But, when I left work I felt like my mind was working on writing ideas. That I wasn’t as distracted all day. That I had a very good day.

So, I am getting my phone back on Monday, ok a replacement phone, but I think I will just turn it off more. I really don’t need to keep checking Facebook or Twitter or FIFA 14. It’s a weapon of mass distraction.

I am ADDish enough without it.

So, I hope to read more and smartphone less.

One of the things I love about my retreat every Memorial Day weekend in the Berkshires is that phones and the internet don’t work. I engage with people more. I don’t hear the traffic. I hear the running water, hear the birds tweeting their songs, not the clatter of millions in under 140 characters. I experience the green and beauty of a sacred place. It’s magic.

I have been feeling the need for a smartphone vacation. I miss my old Evo dying of battery faster. The Galaxy is too good at being a mini-computer. The Google Chrome works too well. Sometimes it runs better than my laptop at home.

So, I don’t think I will disconnect, but I will connect less. People are much more important than devices, if you find you can’t ignore your phone at a poetry reading, turn it off. If you can’t ignore your phone while having lunch or dinner with someone, turn it off. Seriously. If you want to connect it will still be there. If you really want to connect with actual people you should turn if off.

Seriously. Try it!

C’mon. Try it!

I know you don’t believe you can, but your public can wait. Especially if you have to pay attention to the road.

Be safe. Be mindful,

edmund

A Saner World

This should be easy.

There should be no pressure.

It’s just a blog.

I wrote everyday for almost 18 months.

The blog was busy.

Stopped around this time last year.

Mental health crisis after losing my father, devastating, heartbreaking.

Great creative flow that spiked to madness around Patriot’s Day. In jail, in isolation for 2 days. Cumberland County Jail is a very bad place.

Stabilized with lithium, numbed with lithium. Now taking Lemitical, seems to cause dry mouth and maybe sinus headaches. The sinus headaches may be unaffiliated.

An anniversary day of madness, displacement and fear, I want to write again.

Ideas keep coming back. The practice of writing everyday is gone. I lost the practice of writing poorly. The daily blogposts ended around a year ago.

We need a saner, more compassionate world. Life is not about security. Life is not about accumulating wealth. Living for money and power is a sad, unsatisfying life. Greed is bad, greed is very, very bad.

We don’t need to give the world greed, multinationals, austerity and industry. 9/11 could have been a time for the world to heal not to start a War on Terror, Privacy, Civil Liberties, Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is a reason there is so many dystopias. The modern world is a scary place. May be begin to believe in utopias and a Star Trek world where we get along on Earth.

Of course there will always be Klingons. Humans are far too good about making enemies. Too good at starting wars. Too good at making scapegoats.

We need to learn to be excellent to each other. We have been long way to go.

Edmund

A year later

It’s been a year since my dad passed away on April 1st, 2013.

At first I felt relieved when he passed away after so much suffering. I was able to write about his struggle finally. And here is the piece I wrote a year ago about losing him.

Music is so important to us both. We bonded through jazz, I even got to see Dizzy Gillespie as a toddler. And good straight ahead jazz not bebop, not the awful elevator music that calls itself cool jazz. It has no relation to what Miles Davis started with the “Birth of the Cool.”

April was so hard. I enjoyed the rush of hypomania, had full blown mania and was hospitalized almost 2 weeks. On lithium much of last year, which was good because it slowed the brain down when I needed it to, and bad because it slowed the brain down.

My creativity suffered. I had my last post blogging every day on April 13, 2013 which is a sweet kitty poem, after writing everyday since Thanksgiving, 2011. I miss it. I just haven’t been inspired to keep going. I have had thoughts, but I do think the practice matters.

I have been reading a lot of poetry this year, haven’t been to as many slam readings, I usually just don’t have the emotional energy out there. I have tried to make the monthly prose Lowry’s Lodge readings in Westbrook with two features and I have written a little bit of poetry.

I feel like the last year has been a year of recovery from losing my dad and from mental illness. I hope the next year is easier. I could use an easier more creative year.

I appreciate all the love people have sent out. It’s time for me to keep moving on my journey. Trying to live a deeper and simplier life even in the Age of Social Media and Facebook. It’s hard. I feel like smartphones want you to keep looking at them.

But, I am trying to meditate more. And I feel like I need to get more involved in passions of mine. Like ending the madness of the drug war, having student loan forgiveness, slowing down the assault on the constitution from NSA and Homeland Security, poetry and just treating people better.

Blessed be.

Don’t forget to tell people you love them.

Edmund

Moist

I don’t get the hate for the word moist.

We moisten things.
Use moisturizer.
Like a good moist cake.

It’s a good word moist-ly.
Unlike my puns.

Let’s look at the definitions: (via Google)

1. slightly wet; damp or humid.
“the air was moist and heavy”
We all know that feeling well, the lovely dew of the morning. Pretty much every summer day in the south.
Or that feeling when you had some exercise, not a lot just some.

2. (of the eyes) wet with tears.
“her brother’s eyes became moist”
synonyms: tearful, watery, misty, dewy
“her eyes grew moist”
Well me know that feeling too. Hearing someone is sick, in pain. Hearing someone give tribute to someone. Seeing someone triumph. Not a full cry, just the eyes moistening.

3. (of a climate) rainy.
synonyms: damp, dampish, steamy, humid, muggy, clammy, dank, wet, wettish, soggy, sweaty, sticky More
antonyms: dry
Pretty much the weather in England and Seattle where it drizzles a lot and is often wet but is rarely pouring.

4. MEDICINE: marked by a fluid discharge.
I guess some medicine can cause a discharge.

So we have a useful word that can mean rainy, wet with tears, or slightly wet, damp or humid.

It’s good to feel emotional connection, it can feel good to tear up. Seeing dew on the grass and leaves is a beautiful thing.

So learn to love moist moisture moisturizing the beautiful world moist-ly.

Just dew grow to love it. You will moist-ly feel better.

Hooray for puns!

Tough Month

Today has been a tough month.

Last week, I lost my glasses on Wednesday and my iPod on Thursday. I have been out of sorts, watching a lot of Netflix and exhausted. I have also been very melancholy. My father-in-law died two years ago. I was very close to Walter, and he was an amazing man. My wife Lanna, did a great piece about him yesterday. Her series of posts about her father is beautiful and heartbreaking.

And a year ago, my dad was at death’s door. He died last April 1st, which just shattered me. A year earlier in March 2012, my father in law passed within a month. I still miss him too. I have been thinking about the suffering of both this month.

Had a friend who’s mom passed away in hospice this month and it brought a lot of feelings back to me. Losing a parent is something I am not sure you ever get over.

Me and Lanna were both lucky to have great fathers.

edmund

Teases of Spring

Weather is a tease.
Especially in Maine.
March the month of lion and lamb.
Cold and thaw.

Today, 45 and sunny. The snow is melting, the jacket left in the car.
Feeling Spring is near, the cold is abating.

But, the lion is not ready to sleep.
In March and April it is always lurking.
A beautiful day, hides the coming snow. Winter not ready to leave.

Teases of Spring
Melting snow, puddles, sunshine.
Reminders of winter, snow, frost, heaves, potholes.

The slow thaw is a beautiful season.
A bridge between Winter and Spring that comes every March and April.

The Spring is coming,
the Green Ones are returning.
you can feel it today,
But be reminded of frost tomorrow.

Enjoy the the winter trees,
enjoy times of contemplation,
Winter is almost gone.

The crocuses are coming,
the flowers will bloom,
the birds slowly returning.

The Spring and Summer teasing us.
Winter not quite gone,
Brown to white to brown to white to mud to green.
Blessed be.

Looking back

I’m very proud of the posts I have made on this blog and that I was able to post every day from Thanksgiving, 2001 through mid April 2013. Looking to reblog some of my favorite posts the next few weeks.

I have been looking back at posts today, and there are a lot I am proud of.

Writing and expressing yourself is a good thing. Write on!

My Top Ten Johnny Cash Songs

I was asked at my last TweetUp on Thursday what my favorite 10 Johnny Cash songs are.

I had to think about it.

Many of them are my most played songs.

10. “Hurt” (played with 2 versions 24 and 17 times (rank in iTunes for my Johnny Cash playlist #10 and #17)

This is the song that really got me into Johnny Cash. Like many times when Johnny Cash covers a song, he just owns it. I also love the slower sound of his American series with Rick Rubin so the list is dominated with that period. These are hard to rank.

9. God’s Gonna Cut You Down (#5. 30)

We are a all mortal. Johnny Cash with his music is immortal. Amazing video too.

8. I Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound (#1, 53)

I have wondered this question a lot. But I think Johnny Cash was talking about heaven in American VI. I personally have a big idea I am working on the may be where I am bound jobwise. Excited.

7. Bridge Over Troubled Water (#3, 42)
A song I thought wouldn’t be improved over Simon and Garfunkel. Beautiful and heartwrenching. Emotionally rich. Sounds so much wearier than the original too.

6. Rock Island Line (#9, 24)

This song just sounds like a train. Wish I could sing fast enough to sing this is karaoke. Fun song. This one goes back to the Sun Records days.

5. Delia’s Gone (#6, 28)

The first old school Johnny Cash song. Really want to do this in karoeke. Which I think would be both wrong and awesome. (video starts at 0:20)

4. “In My Life” (#4, 37)

This is a very maudlin list. Amazing cover of the Beatles classic.

3. “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” (#11, 22)

Love is a beautiful and rare things. As is Johnny Cash’s voice and emotion. Tugs at my heart. So many of these songs are about June Carter Cash.

2. “For the Good Times” (#41, 11)

These are emotionally rich songs. This one thinks of my mom losing dad last year on April 1, 2013. Stunningly beautiful. Crying right now a little. Amazed how much grieving is happy memories. That is a very good thing.

1. “Satisfied Mind” (#2, 51)

I had to do try it from the top. The top 9 are incredibly close to me. This is the song that makes me most think of my amazing father in law Walter Maheux who passed less than 2 years ago in March, 2012. May will all try to have satisfied minds.

And of course there are so many others I love. Johnny Cash is easily my favorite recording artist of all time.

A Winter’s Day

Deep, cold February.
Harsh winter
Feeling the cold on my face
Seeing my breath.

Snow coming,
Clouds ready to dump moisture.

SD Warren’s Sappi stacks
Blowing their smoke.

My lungs blowing
Out their smoke.

Contemplative, walking,
Waiting for the bus.
Cold, frozen butt on metal.
Single digits.
Feeling it in my nostrils.
Clean winter air.

Boys kicking icy snowballs.
Fun.
A winter’s day.