Monthly Archives: June 2007

Hands.

I tried to write you a poem my love,
About all the things I could give you,
I tried to think of all things I had to offer,
But I could think of nothing,

Just these two hands writing the words,

That’s all my baby, that’s all I can give,
Just these two hands,

When you are thirsty,
I can cup them and give you a cool drink of water,

When you are tired,
I can pillow your head so you can sleep,

When you slip and fall,
I can catch you and hold you up,

When you are sad,
I can stroke your head and tell you it’ll be okay,

When you are threatened,
I can ball them into fists to keep the danger at bay,

When you are cold,
I can rub your arms to keep you warm,

When you cry,
I can wipe those tears away,

When you are far away and alone,
I can dial the phone so you can hear my voice again,

When muscles are tight from a hard days work,
I can rub them until the pain becomes a soft sleepy warmth,

When your feet ache,
I can sit with you and take it away,

When we are old and walk slowly,
I can hold you as we walk a quiet path,

When it’s time for me to slip away,
I can caress your face and tell you how much I love you one last time,

But that’s all I have,
Everything that I can give,
Just these hands my darling,

Not soft, not hard,
But yours, my love,

Yours if you want them.

Words from a father.

Well, another fathers day has passed, and this year was fun.  We played, ate, and generally did all the things fathers and sons are supposed to do.  But as the day progressed, I got to thinking.  A parent rarely lets their child into their world.  How they are feeling, what they like, dislike, what they do right, what they do wrong.  A child may be able to realize these things over time, and a parent may talk about it, but probably not quite the same way as they would to someone else.  So, should they read all these things I write someday, which I hope they do, maybe they will be able to get a good idea of just who I am, or was.

Hi guys!  It’s daddy.  I imagine it must be a little strange for you guys sometimes, having a mommy and daddy so far away from each other.  I guess we never really formally sat you guys down and tried to make sense of it all.  I think we just figured we would play it off, and things would work themselves out.  I’m sorry, we shouldn’t have done it like that, it wasn’t fair at all.  Weird huh?  One day you guys are jumping into bed with mommy and daddy, and the next, there is some strange  man where your daddy used to be.  I’m sorry for that too, I mean, I know you would get used to it, and by the time you understand this well enough, you will most likely be more than ok with it.

So right there my sons, is my first lesson to you.  Often, things will not work out the way you expect them to.  This is not to say that things will go badly, not at all.  But just be prepared to make adjustments, because even the best laid plans often go awry.  So, plan carefully, proceed with caution, and never fall in love with a game plan.  But stay optimistic about it, enthusiasm does wonders for improvisation.

Second lesson, make sure you are taken care of before you attempt to take care of others.  It’s quite simple boys, you can’t bail water from a sinking boat with a punctured pail.  The other part of this lesson is this, stay the fuck away from sinking boats.  Now daddy isn’t saying not to help people, giving others a helping hand is wonderful and rewarding, and you should do so.  Just be sure you are doing so for the right reasons.  Not to please anyone, or anything else, and not expecting any sort of reward or reciprocation, whether it be material in nature, or spiritual.  But always remember the pail boys, daddy has made this mistake, and more than anything, I hope I can impart to you how unwise it is to not take the time to please yourself, before attempting to please anyone else.  Also, as far as pleasing others, try and remember this as well.  There are very few people you truly have to please, figure out who those people are, and do your best.  Everyone else needs to mind their own fucking business.

Daddy curses, a lot.  But not all the time.  Lesson three is, there is a time and a place for everything.  Sometimes, you have to modify the way you speak at certain times, and how you behave.  In time, you will get an idea how this works, hopefully I will be around enough to slap you guys into good social shape, as that is my job to do.  If you are in a new social setting, or you are meeting people for the first time, try and keep this as a rule of thumb.  Always speak to them as if you were speaking to your abuela.  First impressions are crucial, and if you go spouting off like a truck driver because your buddy is around too and you speak like that around him, well, then you are a fool.  I do not want fools for sons, so do not disgrace yourselves, and be damn sure of where you are, and who you are talking to before you get casual.

As a side note, remember this rule of thumb as well.  If I catch you cursing, or should you get the notion that you can speak to me, your mother, (grandmother, etc. etc. you see where this is going) in a similarly disrespectful manner, be assured that I will ensure that sitting will be a grueling task for about a week or so.

Lesson four.  Avoid slang.  Sure boys, slang can be fun.  You hear it all the time, probably blasting from the radio more often than not, and that’s ok.  But some people, think it’s ok to speak like that all the time.  Those people should be ridiculed/avoided at all costs.  It is not cool to sound like a blasted idiot.  Do everything in your power to speak properly.  How you speak, and how you write says much about your level of intelligence, and often speaks volumes about your character as well.  Should this concept ever become confusing to you, call your abuela, or your “lolo”.  Listen to them speak for a few minutes.  For those who are unaccustomed to their unique brand of english, it can be a bit of a task to figure them out.  But they try, as they always have, to try and speak this language properly.  It is because they respect the language of this country, and they respect themselves, which should tell you something about those who are born speaking “american”, and yet do their very best to butcher it on a daily basis.  Please note that I used american to denote the english language, because at the time of this writing, it has deteriorated to such a degree that it can barely be referred to as english anymore.  By the time you can fully grasp and appreciate this, it may well be completely dead, replaced by spangish/ebonics/hick-trash speak.

Lesson four.  Find a healthy hobby.  Sure, as a kid, all things are fun, you could throw a ball against a wall for six hours and have a hoot.  Although these days you would probably be doing it with a joystick.  No matter, the point is, as you get older, it will get harder and harder to find something fun, and healthy that you have genunine enthusiasm for.  That sort of thing generally has to be cultivated.  So find that thing, and make it a part of your daily life at all costs.  Get your routine, and do NOT let anyone change it.  Should you choose to do so then fine, but ask yourself why you are doing so first, if there is someone else involved in your decision to stop doing something fun that makes you feel good, and is good for you, then you need to hold your ground and apply a firm, but polite NO.

This one is a no brainer, but it needs to be said.  Look, I will love you either way, but I do hope you two like girls.  But that really isn’t the point.  Use condoms.  I don’t know what future birth control will look like, I’m reasonably certain you guys will have more choices, and probably better ones too, but in case you do not, use condoms.  In any case, and I mean ANY, just put it on first.  Let me be perfectly honest here boys.  I didn’t set out to have kids so early in life.  Later on, it will be nice to still be relatively young while you boys are starting to go out and do cool things, but now, and before, well, it’s tough.  Real tough.  Hindsight is 20/20 (thats lesson five, I’m getting ahead of myself), and I am so happy I have you, and I love you both more than anything else on this little spinning ball of mud, but I will not lie to you, I didn’t mean for it to happen so soon, but I’m glad for it.

Lesson cinco.  Daddy speaks spanish, not only that, he reads and writes in spanish as well.  Ok, that isn’t lesson five, but it’s a fact.  Ok, but this is lesson five, hindsight is perfect.  Better than 20/20 if that is even possible, which I believe it might be.  There is nothing wrong with looking back and seeing where you might have made improvements on things, and events in your life.  But limit how much you do so.  It will consume you, and eventually rob you of your future.  And please boys, don’t ever listen to people who try to convince you “everything happens for a reason”.  You will see that it is most often uttered after a disasterous event of some sort, as a kind of consolation.  Do not allow that foolish conclusion to band-aid your thinking.  It is way more honest to simply say, shit happens.  Sometimes it’s good shit, and sometimes it’s bad shit.  Bear in mind that I speak of things out of your immediate control, the things you truly had no ability to affect.  Everything does NOT happen for a reason, and unless otherwise posted, or unless you are given a “plan” to read and follow, there is no grand scheme.  You blaze your own trail, reap your own rewards, and make your own mistakes.  Some people around you may try to pretend otherwise, assigning credit, or blame to a god, or another person perhaps.  Ignore those people.

(please note that a “plan” to read and follow does not mean you should blindly follow some other idiots idea of how to live.  that is generally referred to as “organized religion”.  try and learn everything you can about these systems, how they work, and why they work.  it will be important, probably more so in the future than it is at present)

Which brings us to lesson six.  Think for yourself.  Blind anything is generally a bad idea.  Blind dates, blind racecar drivers, and most importantly, blind faith.  Ask questions, always.  If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  Please remember that “right” has no definite value, it is different for everyone, so if it twists in your gut, you need to sit down and start learning.  Boys, it all starts here, with me, and your mother as well.  As your parents, we are the ones who help shape your ideas about faith, and god(s).  We are the filter which you use to interpret any, and all foolishness that passes your way.  Daddy had a very catholic abuela and lo-lo to deal with.  Yet, after many years of questions and learning, I figured it out.  I hope I can shorten the time for you.  You are master of your own destiny, never let anyone tell you differently.

In high school, daddy wrestled.  For years a certain boy would beat daddy again and again.  It was so frustrating, I would make it all the way to the finals, only to keep losing to the same boy.  So one year, daddy shaved his head, and woke up every morning at 5am, and worked out before going to school.  Daddy watched the boy when he was out, he had a pretty girlfriend, and he was a happy well-liked individual.  In retrospect, I wanted to be like that too, and I wanted a pretty girlfriend too.  But I did not have the confidence, so instead I focused my anger, and I used it to fuel me, especially on the days when I felt too tired to get up, I thought of how happy he was, and how unhappy I was, and I shot up with energy.  Finally, it was tournament time again, and there we were, finals again.  It came down to the last few seconds, but I managed to turn him onto his back, and I could hardly believe when the whistle blew and my arm was raised.  The other boy stormed off and cried, I looked up and then made the sign of the cross.  I was overjoyed.  Later on that night, a team-mate dropped me home, but before I got out of the car he said something to me I will never forget.  He had his nemesis as well, on the same team, who like the boy I beat, would always thwart his attempts to win a championship.  He told me, “John, I’m really proud of you man, you finally beat him, I’ve been trying to beat my rival for years and I haven’t been able to do it.”  I opened the door, and he said, “Wait, listen, I’ve been watching how hard you worked all these months, and at the very end there, I saw you thank god, it was you John, that was all you, don’t forget that.”

He may not even remember saying those words to me, but they stuck like glue.  I hope they guide you boys as well.

I could go on, and I will in time, but for now, read this, and try to understand it as best you can.  And above all, question it.  Question me, ask me why.  I have many flaws, and biases that may be hard to comprehend from your smaller vantage point, take nothing at face value, even from me.  This is not to say that you should not trust.  You should, but do not ever be afraid to ask questions, those who have nothing to hide fear no inquiry.  Should you offend someone with a reasonable inquiry, that should demonstrate to you quite clearly that most likely it had some, if not all, its basis in fact.

So, with that said, I will once again re-iterate the hope that you one day see this, and that by the time you get all this, and it can be of any real use, you dont think I’m a complete shite-head.

I love you boys so much.

-Dad

I never knew.

I never felt a loss so keen,
As when I lost the ancient dream,
I never loved a soul so much,
Until I lost the flesh to touch,

I never mourned a childs death,
Until god took his last breath,
I never saw the world as clear,
Until I relinquished all my fear,

I never felt the joy of good,
Until I knew I didn’t have to,
But I should,

My badness never weighed on me,
Until I knew there was no one to see,
And no one to forgive,
But me,

I never hugged my sons as hard,
I never loved my life as much,
I never did a bit of real good,
I never felt as responsible,
I never felt so strong,
I never knew I had a choice,
I never liked being human as much,
I never stopped taking this all for granted,

As much as the day, when I knew,

There is nothing but a sky that looks blue,
And there is nothing but ground that feels solid,
Sometimes,
And there is nothing but people,
Some who do good things, and some who do bad,

All on their own.

The talented Mr. Carlin.

 “Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man – living in the sky – who watches everything you do, every minute of every day.  And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do.  And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time….But He loves you!”

                                                                                                                                                                              -George Carlin

Whether you are religious or not, you have to appreciate the well put irony of Christian faith.  Where basically, you can pretty much do as you like, but as long as you accept jesus as your savior, and you confess and ask forgiveness, it’s all good, meanwhile, an atheist/hindu/buddhist…etc, etc, who lives a good clean life will go somewhere nasty.  Really, any of you who subscribe to the Judeo-Christian theology.  Have any of you read the entire bible, or torah, or koran?  There are more atrocities in those books than anything even the most maniacal despot could dream up.  The genocide wreaked by the ancient jews is massive and all encompassing.  Even the “New” testament is full of jumbled messages and plainly stolen symbology. 

It’s funny, if I were to say, I’m a nazi.  Most of you would say something like, “oh my god, that is terrible, those terrible people, how could you?”  But no, I would tell you, I only like their economic policies, and I love those volkswagon beetles they developed, the rest of it I’m not crazy about, so that’s ok.  You would say it is clearly not ok, and you would be one-hundred percent correct in doing so.

Yet, the Judeo-Christian belief system has wreaked more havoc and caused more misery and pain and societal sickness than any other thing in the history of civilization.  Nazi crimes absolutely PALE in comparison to the atrocities commited by ancient kings like Saul and David, and then later on people like the crusaders, and the conquistadors. 

Oh, but you can’t compare those things, see, because the Nazis did that stuff to people of a certain religious persuasion.  Well, for starters Nazi death camps were responsible for roughly eleven million deaths, six million or so were victims because of their jewish faith, while the other five million or so were blacks, gypsies, homosexuals, mentally retarded, people harboring the previously mentioned, and other people classed as “undesirable”. 

But let us stay with the primary focus of the holocaust, which was exterminating as many jews as possible.  So that’s different right, I mean, those biblical wars weren’t like that, were they?  Oh, yes, they certainly were.  See, the old kings were all about wholesale slaughter, it didn’t end on the battlefield, they were commanded by yahweh to wipe people out.  Women, children, even animals were deemed unclean for consumption.  Why?  Because they worshipped a different god, and therefore there were tainted and their beliefs had to be utterly destroyed.  The bible is basically a conquest manual, as is the koran.  The new testament is more of a how to not create a successful revolution.

But tell folks you are a christian, or a jew.  No one will shrink from you in horror, or deem you a monster. 

Could you imagine what we would have available if we had not been retarded by centuries of pre-historical thinking?  Of ridiculous and outrageously mis-interpreted dogma?  What diseases might we have cured?  Would our planet be as grossly overpopulated as it is now?  How about war?  Considering the little regard those who believe in eternal life have for life, would we try to kill each other as much, knowing the absolute finality of death?  Now, I’m not saying it would be a utopia, or even that a utopia would be a good thing, but I am certain the world would be a much better place to live.

Everyone please pick up “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. 

Even if you don’t agree, and you are one-hundred percent a hippie jew bled for you, at least give it a glance, it is the best treatise on religion I think I have ever seen.  Try and find a hole in his arguments that have actual “facts” to back them up.

(a fact is not, but it’s in the bible!)

I’ll get into this again soon I’m sure. 

 .

-Tobas

Life, love, and other pretty fables.

I was a child today, for a brief moment in time. 

The moment I placed my feet on the black pedals I shed fifteen years of time and pressure.  Nothing mattered.  There was no work, no kids, no ex, no nothing.  Just me and the bicycle, as if I had never left it.  It was not my old bicycle, this was a way more sophisticated machine.  There were  two knobs for gear shifting which took a little getting used to at first, but soon I was gearing up and down effortlessly. 

The wind tore past me, and I knew I was quickly over extending myself, but I didn’t care.  It felt so good.  I felt completely and utterly free, like I was let out of prison and smelling the air outside for the first time.  I rolled into Cedar creek park comfortably pedaling in fourth gear, feeling my legs start to tighten up and fill with blood in earnest.  I decided I would take the black bike trail around the park, and pull off at the far end of the hills so I could run up and down them as I usually do.

Instead, I discovered a little trail down on the right side of the park, named after some woman, Ellen something or other.  I decided to go down it and explore a bit.  Turns out, this particular trail led down the wantagh parkway to jones beach.  I was ecstatic, I was going down to the beach if it killed me.  Halfway down, I took a breather and stepped off the bike for a moment.

From my vantage point on the floor I could immediately discern two clear facts.  One, my legs were not working properly, and Two, I should probably head back the way I came, very slowly.  So, I stepped back on the bike, ratcheted the gear down to about two, and slowly started pedaling back.  Periodically, I would glide with my legs stretched out, to test them.  After a short while, I found that they were not as bad as all that.  And I decided to continue up the path and complete my circuit of the park. 

I went around and walked my bike up the hill.  Turns out, my legs might be working again, but they were in no condition to jog up and down steep inclines.  So I went to the hilltop and did leg lifts, twisting crunches, and some pushups on the patch of gravel people use to picnic on.  I am cutting down on the pushups however, as this exercise is not to build bulk, it is about trimming down.  I have no intention of building large muscles.  Strength yes, and quickness, but no heavy bulging annoyances.  Those are merely for show, and serve no purpose but to inflate egos, attract females with impaired cerebral circulation, and to waste precious tattoo ink on foolish, meaningless patterns wrapped around various over-muscled portions of anatomy.

Once again, I must give thanks to the almighty.

The almighty, thats what I like to call Apple inc.  That little Ipod can hold all the long sets of amazing techno/trance I need to get me going for hours on end.  Perhaps I’m showing my age right now, but I can clearly remember the inconvenience of having to carry around a bulky walkman.  You had better have a kick-ass mixtape handy, or else most of your workout was on your finger pressing fast forward or rewind.  I will not even get started on CD players, shock proof my ass.  And once again, that better be a hell of a CD in there.  But with the nifty Ipod, you get none of that nonsense.  And it’s so small and it clips right on to my shorts.  Even my clumsy self can’t lose that thing. 

I thought about the idea of god again, and the idea of love, and several things occured to me, that may not be wholly original revelations, but they were to me.  I was wondering about the connection between god, and love.  And then it hit me while I biked down the path to the beach. 

Both, are extreme idealizations of things that human beings desperately want.

God, or, a god, is an almighty, lofty ideal.  Something that most major religions teach once a week or so that we are unworthy of.  It is an ideal that we should reach for, but one we could never come close to attaining, no matter how hard we try, or how pious we are.  The pulpit hammers home the idea of inadequacy, and fosters the impression that we are imperfect, and bad.  If it appears that I am focusing on christianity, then please be aware that I am doing exactly that.  But humans want to believe so badly that there is more.  That we are not merely specks of life on this planet, here for a while, and then gone just as quickly.  We want immortality, so we sell out to the highest bidder, and indoctrinate our young the same way, so as to preserve this idea of “living forever”, and therefore avoiding the awful reality of death.  Ultimately, we will do and say foolish and irrational things to keep this belief alive, this, in a nutshell, is religion. 

Love, is much the same as god.  It is the most extreme form of caring about another person.  Now, please bear in mind, I will only get into the romantic aspect of it here, but I firmly believe love can be as destructive and misleading in it’s other incarnations as well, and when I can, I will devote some time to explaining that as well.  We humans want to be cared about.  We want to be wanted, and we believe, that we want to be loved.  The modern pulpit, being the mass media, tells us what love is.  It is the beautiful story, capped by the passionate kiss, and the perfectly delivered emotional line (eg: you….complete me…  really, I have to give kudos to the screen writer, I thought great and silly love proclamations had died decades ago, yet he pulled it off with style and panache, bravo sir or madame).  So, we humans, being the silly hand-fed lot that we are, watch this rubbish and predictably begin to harbor hopes and secret expectations that we will meet someone just like that.  And things will happen just like that as well, almost as if scripted.  Gentlemen, take a girl on a date, and take precautions to set up several romantic ‘coincedences’ throughout the night, provided you do not have the disposition of Bobby Knight and the appearance of quasimodo, you will not only go home happy and possibly with company, you will have guaranteed yourself at least a months worth of dates/sex.  But how dangerous it is, to ‘love’.  Because ultimately, the ideal cannot hold up.  It is naivete and foolishness to believe that life will unfold as a series of romantic interludes, at some point, the facade comes down, and you are forced to deal with the slowly rotting bag of flesh and plasma before you, who is not quite as exciting as he/she was what seemed forever ago.

Ah, but all is not for naught!  For one can, in fact, learn to embrace something with more meaning, with lasting power.  That, is deep caring.  That, is the old couple sitting on the bench at 8pm on a summer day watching the sun go down, not speaking a word to each other.  That, boys and girls, in genuine affection, there is no love there.  All the love is gone, now there is deep caring, an affection that cannot, and will not be broken until they are both dead and buried.  Want to spend the rest of your life with the one you ‘love’?  Stop loving them, immediately.  Try caring about them instead, quietly.

So today, I decided to let go of love, and god.  Nature is grand enough, and wonderful enough, to not cheapen it by adding a grand ‘lego-maniac’ into the mix.  And people are wonderful enough, and worthy enough, to not have to ‘love’ me, and I to not ‘love’ them.  But some, I will care deeply about, and one, I will sit next to, and watch our local star sink slowly into the bay until I breathe my last.

And when that day comes, should I be lucky enough to be given time to reflect, I will be ok with not ‘being here’, or anywhere else. 

Most of you subscribe to some religious sect, or believe in a god.  So, I will merely ask of you this.  Try and pretend it was wrong, and there is, in fact, no god at all.  No one judging you but yourself, and whomever is within range of your actions, or words.  Just picture it.  How would you act?

I have decided to be good.  Even though I know, there is ‘nothing in it for me’.  It is a difficult thing to admit to oneself.  That you are frequently good, not just “for goodness sake’, but for fear of divine retribution, either in the here and now, or after you have been struck down by your,  loving?  vengeful?  god.  I am no longer confused on the matter.  I will preach the gospel of humanity, because once you push past the gloomy trappings of dogmatic thinking, there is nothing else left.

For once, my catch-phrase strikes a relevant chord,

.

Live it, Love it,

-Tobas

(p.s.  Jesus flew by and raised me from the dead….hey, cmon, you didn’t really think I wouldn’t leave room for some humorous blaspheming did you?  ‘course not lovely  ;-)?

The Beast.

Don’t feed the animals,
I see the sign, I read it right,
I know exactly what it means,
But I still open the package of meat,

They come sniffing, wanting,
I am here, I let them see it,
I let them smell it,
I let them come so close,

What am I, but one of you,
They see me, one of their own,
Don’t feed the animals,
So says the sign,

I understand it, I know what it means,
But I am one of you,
I feed myself,
I feed my fucking self,

When I gave them meat,
I sated my own terrible hunger,
Those luminescent eyes,
Closing where I can see,

Satisfied, finally,
Fucking satisfied,

Terrible beast, horrible beast,
You are me, and I hate you for it,
Your glow is my own,
Reflected in that desperate gaze,

I am you,
I am not you,

Leave me alone,
Take your meat,
I am not you, I am not,

But here I lay,

Sated.