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.


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.


Music That Changed My Life: For the Good Times

So I decided to a do a post on the varieties of pop this morning. I had so much fun with it wanted to some more. Music has always been a big deal for me. One of the big things that bonded me to him.

Dad was all about jazz.

To me the best composer of the 20th Century is Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington. No one compares to his output or influence in my opinion. My favorite Duke Ellington record from my dad’s collection is his double LP “The Great Paris Concert.” Turns out the whole thing is on YouTube so enjoy the Duke Ellington Orchestra from February 1st, 2nd and 23rd, 1963 from Paris.

Here is some as good as it gets music. John Coltrane’s full album “Blue Train”. One of those records any music fan just needs to own. It’s just beautiful. Glad to find out I can hear full CDs on YouTube. That’s awesome.

Now I have to add what I consider the best jazz record of all time, the absolutely amazing “Kind of Blue.” Grew up with this music. One of the last things I did while he was still consious in March of last year (he died on April 1st, 2013) was watch a DVD about the making of the record that I found with a CD for like two bucks at the Allentown Thrift Store. They have that CD copy. Found this in a Bull Moose grab bad and gave the copy to someone in Portland near Longfellow Books. It’s just an amazing thing to give music. I think it was after a poetry reading. If you have never heard this take a listen now, and buy it at your favorite record store. This is an extraordinarily important album to me. I love you, dad.

My mom’s favorite singers of all time are Simon and Garfunkel. My favorite track of theirs is “The Only Living Boy in New York.” I can gather all the news I need on the weather report. The lyrics are beautiful, as a song, as poetry the don’t work as well. And Paul Simon is a very underrated singer. This just makes me think of having perspective in life.

The Beatles “Long and Winding Road” is poetry as lyrics and just words. This one makes me cry. THe last two years have been a long and winding road. It wasn’t one of my blogposts but when I blogged about my dad dying on April 1, 2013 it started with: “My dad Henry Edmunds Davis passed away at 3:45pm today.

It’s been a long and winding road. “

And there have be a lot of tears including right now. And that’s a good thing, all of our lives are. They are supposed to be. Illness is always a long and winding road. I was lucky to have him 4 1/2 years with brain cancer even if the last 7 months were so, so hard.

In my “Rest in Piece” blogpost that night. Two songs came up. One I called: “But my theme song for this sickness has been “For the Good Times” by Johnny Cash.” Johnny Cash’s good friend Kris Kristofferson wrote the lyrics here they are:
Don’t look so sad
I know it’s over
But life goes on
And this old world
Will Keep on turning

Let’s just be glad
We had this time
To spend together
There is no need to watch the bridges
That we’re burning

Lay your head upon my pillow
Hold your warm and tender body
Close to mine
Hear the whisper of the raindrops
Blow softly against my window
Make believe you love me
One more time
For the good times
For the good times

I’ll get along
You’ll find another
And I’ll be here
If you should ever find
You need me

Don’t say a word
About tomorrow
Or forever and ever and ever and ever
There’ll be time enough for sadness
When you leave me
For the good times
For the good times

Lay your head upon my pillow
Hold your warm and tender body
Close to mine
Hear the whisper of the raindrops
Blow softly against my window
Make believe you love me
One more time
For the good times
For the good times

Lay your head upon my pillow
Hold your warm and tender body
Close to mine

Mom and dad were always inseparable. I worried about her without dad and she is doing really well. Better than me I think. She was there for his illness and didn’t want to leave him. Even kept a big stuffed dolphin with her in bed to represent his spirit. I read a poem on Higgins Beach to the waves and wind in my mania on Thursday, April 11th for about 30 minutes just talking. It was a beautiful moment. The madness of mania can. This is a gorgeous song. Johnny Cash has the right voice for it as he is dying after already losing his beloved June Carter Cash in Johnny Cash’s beautiful album “American VI: Ain’t No Grave.” It’s a meditation on death and dying. Johnny Cash is amazing at covers and lived a remarkable life.

2014: A Year of Grounding – Deep and Simple

We live in shallow and complex times.

Worried about e-mails, about texts, Twitter, Facebook.

Often interacting more with people even that we know in shallow ways. Always feeling like we need to check into our media and devices. A society full of advertising of buy, buy, buy of you need this, you need that.

You don’t. No really, you don’t.

You really don’t need a smartphone although it is very shiny. You don’t need an iPad, again very shiny. You don’t need those new clothes, you don’t need to see every movie, you probably don’t need more stuff.

You need to connect. To people, to the earth, to yourself.

I am dedicating 2014 to be the Year of Grounding for me. I need it.

The last two years have been very ungrounding. Losing my father in law Walter Maheux in March 2012, losing my beloved father Henry Edmunds Davis on April 1, 2013. I am still grieving. I still do not have all of my psychic and spiritual energy and might not for some time. I am trying to ground again and get back into myself. I need it.

I find writing helpful. I love conversations especially one on one although they can be hard to do. Why did it become weird to call someone? Seriously. I love to connect with people. In 2012 I started having lunches with one person and just talking. It was cool. It’s good to spend an hour with just one person and not be in the cacophony of noise and information of the internet and smartphones. I want to get back to it again and having lunch with someone tomorrow.

I am really happy to be in therapy. I had an unbelivably tough year that included a major manic episode in April, 2013. It was one heck of a month. Although I did write some good poems and posts including a memorial for my dad. I also ended up in jail for 36-48 hours of Patriot’s Day last year while fully manic and became extraordinarily manic. Basically doing a 24 hour performance in a cell to the NSA who I was sure was watching. Then was held down and drugged after getting loud at the Maine Medical Center ER and forgot 24 hours completely. April was unbelievably ungrounding. Losing the rock of my life, as I said in a poem at my dad’s memorial service. Losing my sanity.

Recovering slowly. Spring Harbor helped. Lithium helped a lot, dulling my mind when I needed it, found it dulling after my crisis as well and slowly going off of it. My wife helped, my mom helped, my therapist really helped. I am very thankful for therapy. More of us need to be in it. Seeing her tomorrow and happy to go over goals and talk about the last 3 weeks that includes that big holiday of Christmas and all the energy you put in an use for it.


I feel the need to ground. To slow myself down. In the words that Fred Rogers used from the documentary “Mister Rogers and Me ***” Make your life deep and simple not shallow and complex.

Take a walk. Look up. See the stars. See the clouds. Feel the wind. Hear the water. Rest your mind. Listen. Breathe. Breathe. Slow down. Touch the Earth if you need do, do some Earthing. Literally ground yourself.

Make it a practice. Meditate. Prayer with your heart. Bring the worries of the brain down to the heart. Practice the mediations I learn from Whispering Deer. Your heart can take a lot in, the brain wants to analyze everything. Breathe. Breathe.

One thing I do to ground that make me feel joy is walking with my headphones at work. There is great landscaping there. Statues, trees, birds, a creek, a marsh. Listening to something like Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the Wind” yesterday, watching the trees in the twilight in a sea of clouds. Transported. Just looking. Appreciating.

Your technology can wait. Texts can wait. You can turn your cellphone off. Sometimes it’s good to not be available. People do not need you all the time. You can not answer a text. You can leave your phone in your pocket while driving. Pay attention.

Right now, I am looking out my window. Seeing rain on the panes. Seeing a gray sky with some blue just after sunset with plenty of dark gray clouds after a rainy, and warm day that reached the upper 40s and had plenty of snowmelt. Can see some red of the sunset in the distance. Lights over the parking lot for the Dancing Elephant and the Frog and Turtle. Light in the parking lot by me. A wet American flag. Trees in fornt of the sunset. A wide Presumpsoct River that is harder to notice through the raindrops. The Disability RMS sign hiding through the trees. A car driving through. Listening, looking.

Billy Collins said all a poet needs is a window, paper and a pencil. Simple. Beautiful. Calming. Noticing. Not overthinking. Which we all do too mcuh. Looking up seeing the day change, watching the birds. Seeing the scampering of creatures. Hoping the insects don’t bite.

Think when you were happiest. Was it a tweet? A Facebook message?

Was it time with a friend, with a loved one, a lover and partner? With family? Eating, drinking. Maybe on vacation in the woods, in the desert? Listening, content at peace. Breathe.

We all need more peace. Less worry.

A life deep and simple where you appreciate things. My cats Lenny and Squiggy. My wife Lanna. The simple sound of the cat fountain. The silence. Sleep, dreams. My family. My sister Mindy, brother in law, Robert. Brother in law Bill, mother in law Dottie. And the ones who have passed, my dad Henry, father in law Walter. Grandparents Avis Neal, Charles Neal, Mary Davis and Donald Davis. My Aunt Louise. My mother’s best friend Dottie Mithee, Cousin Benny.

And heroes who have passed and enriched my life like Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, Carl Sandburg, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Miles Davis. And of course teachers past, present and futures. Those who listen. Those who let us listen.

The water. The sky. The birds. The animals. Our pets. Cats, dogs. The mice we can’t see. The bees who pollenate. The pollen that makes us sneeze.

Breathe. Ground. Let life be easy. Let life be quiet. Read. Turn the screen off. Just listen to music. Drift. Dream.

Work to live a deep and simple life in complex and shallow times. Love one another. Hug. Kiss. Be thankful. Breathe. Mediate. Be Present. Appreciate the silence. Learn to love the noise and watch. See the sky change and darken, as the blue almost disappears and the red of sunset is almost gone.

Rest. Breathe. Ground and be Peaceful.

Blessed be.

Sunrise, Sunset

As I draw to the end of a tough and long 2013, the beautiful song from “Fiddler on the Roof” has been one of my big songs in my head.

The lyrics are beautiful. About children growing older, turning from children to adults, ready to marry. About the years moving across. For me about being 39, 40 on June 23rd. Being without a dad who I expected to have for 2 more decades (he died at 66). About missing my wife’s absolutely amazing father Walter Maheux, just a completely good guy who died with a “Satisfied Mind” like the great standard wonderfully sung by Johnny Cash.

For my dad it is more about jazz. It was always his favorite, listening to WBGO 88.3 out of Newark, NJ and Temple Radio which went half classical/half jazz which definitely annoyed him. In retirement, my mom and dad were going to many more jazz shows. I wish he could have gone to more.

Surprisingly for me, I have mostly thought good thoughts about my dad and father in law. They are there in my mind. With memories, with smiles, with lives well lived. Me and Lanna were lucky to have great fathers. Always there, always supportive, both wonderful men.

We were also blessed to be with loving couples who were clearly each other’s life partner. Both are struggling with losing a partner but mostly seem to be doing well at least publically. My mom is taking classes and seeing a therapist. My mother in law goes to the pool every morning and often goes to the gym. I think for me and Lanna also we didn’t forget to say anything. I especially was able to be with my dad for sometime, even though he lived 8 hours away in Allentown. He lived 3 1/2 years with brain cancer and it was only after his second surgery in September, 2012 that things got much worse. Strokes, paralysis, hospice.

For Walter, it was really fast. He was hiding symptoms like far too many men in Maine. “I cough up some blood and then I start my day.” President’s Day he was in the hospital, less than 2 months later he passed away. Friends and family coming down to see him mostly from central Maine, sister from California, sister that was so close, not seeing him even though she ended up being a mile away. That one hurt. On really in the last week or two did he really show he was dying soon. I was there to see him pass and it was a very spiritual moment. One moment he was there, the next gone and just a body. Made my really understand the concept of a soul.

When my dad died, some rang the doorbell asking about a drum kit to sell. I wasn’t in the room just mom. We were all close, my sister Mindy, brother in law Robert, wife Lanna and me, but no of us in the room. Maybe that’s what he wanted, she was so close to my mom. They were always in love and best friends. So I didn’t see him pass, but was grateful to see him no longer suffering. He barely got up the last 6 months of his life.

So I try to move on but have been so exhausted since April. The odd surge of energy of hypomania and then full blown mania in April. Two weeks mostly at Spring Harbor, but including 36-48 hours in jail where my mania went from full-blown to off the scale. Literally performing for almost 24 hours straight, unable to sleep, in a cell with 2 blankets. Jail and prison just aren’t right. And that’s right no clothes on suicide watch. In a mental health crisis the Westbrook Police brought me to the Cumberland County Jail not Maine Med or Mercy hospital. Then relieved to get to Maine Med. Hearing that I would only be there shortly. But no one even talking to me for a while. I didn’t want to sign papers. Wanted to just touch the metal detectors. Demanded to leave and forced down. Got loud. THen pushed down on the bed including on the neck and given an unknown shot. I didn’t now what it was, thought it was going to be a fatal dose of morphine.

Sitting waiting on Cumberland County jail in that period, told I could leave with only a $150 bail I had left the house with only a pair of pajamas and a t-shirt. No shoes, I don’t think any underwear and no wallet. If I had a wallet, pants on and shoes I may have been able to post bail. And the jailers who admitted me may be four of the most evil men I have ever met. The ones in jail were sane, often people homeless or a little crazy. The jailers were the ones who belonged in the cells.

My performance in jail was based on Kurt Vonnegut’s memoir/masterpiece “A Man Without a Country”, a small book I have probably read every year since it came out. Maybe 10-12 time since 2007. We are in terrible times. An NSA security state, millions of Americans in jail often for consensual crimes like marijuana possession, drug offenses, prostitution, etc. It’s a bizarre land when rapists get less jail time then people with a few grams of crack.

Yelling in jail, mad at things saying things needing to be destroyed with an often refrain of “AND I’M NOT KIDDING!”. I was in a bad place. Prisons are no place for mental health problems. Jailers and police officer want to fight you, arrest you, consider you often a threat, male energy. If you are in a mental health crisis you need someone to listen, someone to calm you down, someone to call you on your shit. You need therapists, and nurses. Caring people, female energy.

Spring Harbor was critical for me. Still didn’t sleep well at the beginning but the lithium calmed in what was probably the most intense mania of my life in prison. My uncontrolled mania I had at the Oxford Trade program where I didn’t get medicated or see anyone in August, 2001 was the worst. I was not myself for months after that, especially considering 9/11 happened about a month after. Was planning to finally explore Europe, ended up return to the US feeling broken.

Since late April I have been healing well. I miss the slam scene but I don’t have the spiritual and psychic energy for it now. Hopefully it comes back next year.

Saturday was the Winter Solstice, the Yuletide. Feels like it’s the beginning of a calmer year with new beginnings. I am glad I had heart-centered meditation from Whispering Deer at Rites of Spring to use. Glad I had work for money and to be something to go to. Happy about lithium and Spring Harbor and psychiatrists, although it’s a drug that calms me, it also numbs my mind quite a bit so happy to go from 1200mg to 300mg. And very, very thankful of my wife Lanna Lee Maheux and my therapist, not sure if I should give her name.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Yuletide and Wonderful New Year. May the world gain some sanity in 2014. I know 2013 was a rough year for me.


Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?

I don’t remember growing older
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?

Wasn’t it yesterday
When they were small?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

What words of wisdom can I give them?
How can I help to ease their way?

Now they must learn from one another
Day by day

They look so natural together

Just like two newlyweds should be

(Perchik & Hodel)
Is there a canopy in store for me?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

Here is the beautiful song. Like the Zero Mostel original version the best.

Six Months Later

My dad died on April 1st.

I thoughts I was ready.

It had been a tough decline since his second brain surgery in mid-September 2012.

It hasn’t been.

April was a month of writing, creativity and madness. Full blown mania returned. Been away since 2001.

May a month of slow recovery. Staying on LOA at work. Just enjoying the church bells and becoming more normal.

Rites of Spring my spiritual retreat in the Berkshire over Memorial Day was tiring. It was also cold, wet and very powerful spiritually. Easily my most internal Rites of Spring. The week was a time to rest. Rest is good.

Since then I am slowly becoming myself more. Have been challenging myself to write everyday over the last 2 weeks. And have still missed a couple nights.

Poetry nights that I have loved the last several years are still exhausting. Three hours of emotional poetry is simply too much for me right now. I think that will take time.

I am still not reading as well. I heard this is common from many friends. Graphic novels I can still read easily but novels are hard. Hopefully this gets better over time.

I was mean to my wife in April in the mania, that I regret. Mania is a strange, strange thing. Early on it can be energetic and full of creativity. When full blown it’s all over the place. If you are locked up with it, it gets even worse. This is all too common in America.

So I am grateful for hospice, grateful for my wife, grateful to my therapist and psychiatrist. And grateful to Lithium although it seems to affect my brain.

May the coming months bring more healing.

I am also happy how well my mom is doing. I was worried she would be much worse.

I think I am ready for some change soon. I am not sure what that might be. I am curious to apply for some jobs in advertising after watching “Art and Copy”. Advertising has intrigued me for a long time.

Blessed be.


A week on the beach

My mom was up this week and stayed in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

It’s a nice time to come in mid-September, quiet and with lower rates.

Was great to see her, great to spend time on the beach, and go out to wonderful places to eat (Schulte and Herr, Dancing Elephant, Saigon (was disappointed by Ken’s).

But, I realized coming home tonight who was there spiritually but not physically. My dad, Henry Davis, who passed away on April 1st.

He would have loved a week on the beach. Henry and Chris (my mom) courted going scuba diving in Southern California while students at the University of California at Riverside.

I felt his presence in early April at Higgins Beach. Even did a long performance poem to him while my mania was rising.

Mom said she had wonderful and happy dreams about him this week. She though of him earlier in the year as a dolphin.

Dad wasn’t happy his last few months in hospice, post his second brain surgery. I sensed his soul was free of a broken body in April and think that is still true.

I realized just getting home tonight that I had a sadness about my dad not being there. My mom seems to be doing okay (except for an arthritic knee), much better than I expected.

I am doing mostly okay, but have been exhausted all week.

Grieving is a difficult thing. I don’t think the spirits of the departed leave the Earth completely. I also think ceremonies like Mexico’s Day of the Dead are important and beautiful. We need to remember the departed.

I also learned this week at the Eastern Trail at Scarborough Marsh is really beautiful. I need to spend much more time there.

Blessed be.


Writing Every Day

I talked to my therapist a few weeks ago and today she set a deadline for me to write again every day.

I’ve missed it. A lot. Far more than I expected to.

Might have some of the posts online, may journal others but I feel like I need to restart my writing after an almost 5 month delay after my dad’s death and mental illness.

My brain was just not working the same as I am used to.

Like before I am sure some of the posts will be good, some will be ok, and some might suck.

I think that’s the nature of writing. Good writers hide their mistakes.

Still finding going out to a poetry slam/reading too much most of the time at 3 hours but that I think will get easier over time too.

Writing every day is an excellent practice even if all you write is: “Fuck this Day”. Guess what day 2 can be “Shitty day but better than yesterday”.. and in a few weeks you may come up with something your proud of. And 4 weeks late have a crap post again. But you still wrote something and that counts.

Blessed be.


Two Months Later

The death of a father hits you hard.

For me it brought mania, even hospitalization.

Right now, I just feel exhausted.

It’s been a crazy time. Glad to be mostly sane, trying to be careful of my energy.

I do want to get back to blogging every day, it’s nice to have an earworm that tells you to write.

But, for now I just need to take it easy and one day at a time. And I’m feeling down right now. Glad I have the chance to play some pinball tomorrow.

Glad I have a wife that can deal with me. It sure wasn’t easy in April.

Glad I have my two amazing cats Lenny and Squiggy who love me no matter what.

Glad that Colleen Hoover was able to give me some money from my poem “Write Poorly” that is in her wonderful book “Point of Retreat.”

Glad to know a lot of cool people in the EarthSpirit community, the poetry community, and the Maine Twitter community.

I am getting by now. It’s one day at a time. And often I just want to crash. That’s okay.

I am not reading as much that’s okay.

My dad is gone forever, that really hurts. I had no idea how much.

Sadness comes in waves, I am in a wave of sadness. That’s okay. I think that’s even healthy.

And hopefully I can get out there and play some golf, and some pinball. I can get out and have lunch with some people again. And hopefully even get off lithium soon. I am glad it helped to calm my mania, but it’s not my favorite drug.

Blessed be.

A Cold Week in May

Just got back from a festival in the woods.

First 2 days were warm, then came a ton of hail and a tornado warning. The weather from Tuesday evening until Sunday afternoon was cold and miserable. It only really got nice on Monday as I was leaving. Hearing the music from harps on a beautiful mountain in the Berkshires.

This was an internal Rites of Spring for me. One where I napped a lot, went to bed early and did some deep meditation. I came out of my week in the woods softer. Appreciating that both me and Lanna are still in mourning. That losing a parent takes a lot out of you. That you can be part of a festival even if you lay down during the rites and just listen.

I feel my softer self coming back. But, realize my patience can still be easily tested. And that McDonald’s is not the right lunch coming out of the woods, you need more time and space.

I also realized today and this week how much poetry can be appreciated. I sold some books, but much more heard how much people enjoy my work. It means a lot.

I plan to blog more again now that I’m off the mountain. I am feeling my balance returning. I know though that it’s not going to be fast, and that’s okay. I think I will still need more rest. I will still need to be internal. Sadness and mourning comes in waves. I had a huge wave crest in mid-April that is still settling now.

We are all a little mad. Especially those of us that are interesting. Embrace your journey, love yourself and become who you were meant to be. Sometimes life disappoints us. From the small journeys of a week in the cold woods down to the 30s overnight, to the massive journey of mourning. Life is never what we expect.

But, we need to be open to the joys. Little things like hearing and sensing a cat entering the room like my beloved Squigman/Squiggy. A sunset cresting in the horizon. The green of Spring. Seeing a dear friend. A hug. A ear that listens. Hearing someone else’s story. A child’s laughter. Even a child’s tears can be beautiful. Learn to be present. Learn to be aware, there is so much beauty in this world.

Sometimes though we need to rest.

Blessed be.