Sunday, July 28, 2013

Shit Happens

Shit Happens

I think we all have a tendency to feel sorry for ourselves from time to time. Me? Oh, I can pull off a day of self-pity with the best of any sad sack in the woe-is-me crowd. Sometimes, I think it's therapeutic, because I always end up realising how much I have to be grateful for.

I guess life inevitably has its little ups and downs. I think the trick is to move through the "downs" as quickly as possible and to enjoy the "ups" for as long as possible.

Feeling blue is a part of being a whole person. People who always seem up, always seem cheery and on top of the world, are really only living half a life. Without a little misery, how does one know the height of happiness? Chronically depressed people are emotionally flat-lined, but so are chronically happy people. Same neurosis, really, and one is as tedious as the other. Call me moody if you must, but I like a little variety in my life.

Today, I feel great and have felt great for quite some time. Is there a pain-in-the-ass kind of day coming? Absolutely. But so what? Knowledge is power, and knowing that life is not always a bed of roses prepares you for those bad days.

Life isn't always going to be perfect. "Shit happens," as they say. You just have to remember that, in the big picture, you're better than some of the crap you have to deal with, whether it be personal or connected to the big, old, confusing world out there.

Just have a good wipe, flush the cosmic toilet, and move on to better thoughts and things.

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



Friday, July 26, 2013

I Don't Want To Be

I Don't Want To Be

I don't want to be an "if" or a "maybe" or an "in-between," a proposition or a supposition or a "might be" stepping in from the unforeseen.

I don't want to be the prize at the end of the game, a trophy on your shelf or the photograph on your wall trapped forever in a gilded frame.

I don't want to be "up there" or "over here" or floating around in space and air. I don't want to be as insubstantial as the dreams you wear.

I don't want to be your "partner" or your "lover" in some fantasy life, where you imagine me your husband and you my loving wife.

I don't want to be the minnow on the hook, and I don't want to be the hero of some musty book.

I don't want to be your prince, your angel, your poet, or your knight in shining armour, no, not for a week or for a day or even for an hour.

I don't want to be what you hoped for or what completes you or the answer to all your prayers. I don't want to be the confusion of some dangling conclusion that slips and falls apart at the bottom of the stairs.

I don't want to be all that you know or all that you care about. I don't want to be your dream of finding a somewhere after years of being nowhere in the land of endless doubt.

I don't want to be what's possible or what might be. I don't want to be what you've been waiting for all your life ...

... I just want to be me.

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Name Game

A Strictly Unofficial Photograph

The Name Game

Yesterday, the world received news of a new addition to the British Royal Family, a boy it seems, who rounded third base at full speed, slipped through a fully dilated cervix, and slid into home as a Prince. Imagine. A good gig, if you can get it.

Now, my friend Howard watches far too many of those improbable "reality" television shows, and he has become something of a conspiracy theorist. He has a notion that the whole thing was faked, that the Duchess of Cambridge, aka "topless Kate," wasn't ever pregnant at all. According to Howard, Kate simply wandered around wearing some kind of padding under her royal attire for nine months and then had some wannabe Brit, maybe even Madonna, head off to an unknown country in Africa to pick up one of those starving babies and bring the little guy back to Britain. After all, isn't that the fashionable thing to do these days?

Well, of course, no one takes Howard too seriously since his vasectomy.

No, I think it's safe to say that we have a true-blue, spanking new royal Prince in our midst, third in line to the British throne, having only to wait on the deaths of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and his dad, Prince William. One Queen and three Princes ... add Sir Elton John to the whole mix, and you'd have a full house.

The only thing left to do is to find the little gaffer a name, and if you know anything about British royalty, this is a serious process and will probably take a week or more.

Here in Canada, as in Britain, folks are setting up betting "pools" based on what one suspects the prospective name will be. I am in such a pool, but I don't like my odds of winning. I picked the name Gary. At the time I put my money down, I thought the title, King Gary, had a nice modern ring to it. Not only that, but I suspected it would have a far-reaching appeal to Britain's burgeoning gay population. I must admit in 20-20 hindsight, however, that Gary may not be traditional enough for the prim and proper British establishment.

The British press is convinced that the top name choices for the new lad are Charles, Edward, George, and William. Not too exciting, to be sure. If I had anything to say in the matter, it would indeed be Gary, and if the Queen put the Royal Kibosh on that, I'd go for "The Prince Formerly Known As The Artist." A bit wordy, I suppose, but trendy, and it has a nice ring to it.

All in all, I have to confess that I do know the name that will be ascribed to this fledgling, future King of England. The lad will be definitely be named James, and he will someday become King James. Sort of like Kennedy James, but not quite. Still, he can share my nickname, KJ, and be a proud part of a legacy of which he will have absolutely no knowledge whatsoever.

Just remember that you heard it here first.

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Day In A Life

A Day In A Life

It's summer.

The morning is cool, and I wake long before night's end. I wander from nightlight to nightlight, and I wait. Soon enough, just before dawn, I can hear the birds fill the air with a bedlam of chirps and cheeps and whistles. The repetition and mixture of sound is disharmonious, sometimes even unnerving, but I expect it. I cherish it. Silence would be a more frightening prelude to the day, like waking to a world of space without air, to a vacuum of dire proportions, to life in a bell jar.

Every morning finds the sun staining the darkness and transforming the night sky into a watery wash of colour over the city below me. After years of watching sunrise after sunrise, I never tire of watching it one more time. Each breaking dawn is a little different from the others. Some a flood of reds and yellows. Others a blend of orange and gold. Always within a widening blue frame.

Breakfast is slow, methodical, a bowl of cereal as I look out over the world slowly creeping into motion. Coffee, rich and strong, mixed with a weak sigh. Something missing or something I miss. Either way, a moment of some sentimentality. Nostalgia, maybe. You and you and you. So hard to find these days. It's sad to watch things dissipate, sorrowful to see friends fall away.

A steamy shower, followed by morning chores. Cleaning and straightening the bed. Picking up where the night left off. Remembering something to do and then not doing it. A lapse into laziness. A surrender into the quiet of living alone. It's not remarkable how much I enjoy the solitude, but it feels remarkable.

By noon, the day grows hot as the sun climbs to its zenith and beats irrepressibly down on the world below. A book, a bottle of water, and a journey to the pool, where I read and listen to the chatter of women lost in gossip. I hear only snippets of their conversations. I wonder if I should be listening at all, but I do. I listen.

I read and lose myself in the other world of some writer's imagination. It is intriguing to cut one's way into the lives of imaginary people with imagined hopes and dreams. At times, I find them preposterous, and other times, I almost wish I were there with them.

The buzz of the afternoon heat becomes overwhelming. The air gets heavy and languid, and my eyes tire and forsake me. I drift from consciousness into a half-sleep, and wake with a start when someone dives into the pool with a sudden scream of delight. I squint through the bright light and watch for only a brief moment. Then I rouse myself from my lounge chair and make my way here.

Where I write. Where words spill onto the computer screen from uneven thoughts. One moment, something joyful. The next moment, a dark consideration. Poetry and stories. Words and more words. As if the ability to form them into something whole and meaningful validates my very existence. As if what I write is important. But to whom? Who is reading through the leaves of my inspiration and the blank spaces of my exhaustion?

The night returns too soon. An early dinner. Quick and uninteresting. A cold glass of iced tea with a twist of lime at a friend's apartment, idle conversation, and then home to make some phone calls.

Voices reach out to me from across the miles, reassuring voices telling me the day's news, but more importantly confirming that I am still here. Still alive under a slow-rising, hazy moon, still alive to watch the night blanket the world in dark comfort. Still here in the languid quiet that bookends the day, until I am suddenly longing for sleep, and wondering if there will be days and nights enough for all the promises and dreams that I have yet to keep.

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Feeling Squeezy

Feeling Squeezy

The other day, I got to thinking how lucky it is that we have an opposable thumb.

Squeezing ... we do a great deal of squeezing in our lives.

There I was, in my local supermarket, and I realised I was squeezing nearly everything within reach.

In the fruit section, I was squeezing oranges, peaches, nectarines, papaya, limes, plums, bananas ... I even gave a watermelon a good squeeze. I especially like to squeeze grapefruit. I never buy grapefruit, but I like the feel of them, especially the extra large ones.

In the bakery department, I found myself squeezing loaves of bread, buns, croissants, those tasty little jelly rolls, and even bagels.

As I rolled through the dairy section, I couldn't resist squeezing the large variety of cheeses.

I squeeze towels, pillows, bedding, cushions, clothing, and yes, despite every admonition from Mr Whipple, I even squeeze those rolls of Charmin toilet tissue.

When I am around other people, I squeeze hands, arms, legs, back muscles, front muscles, bums, and boobs. I am especially fond of squeezing boobs, particularly the extra-large natural ones.

Simply put, I am an old squeezer, a squeeze-aholic ...

And I love to be squeezed too ... well, not everywhere. You wouldn't want to squeeze my nose when I am in a deep sleep and snoring my way through Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Should you do such an ignominy, then I could never be held responsible for my waking reaction. And you must never squeeze my ears. My mother did that when I was being a rascal and hunting down the family dog with a homemade bow and arrow. I remember the agony of the ear squeeze. Never again.

Women whom I have known intimately have seemingly enjoyed squeezing me "down there." I have always found that experience quite pleasurable. Except in one instance when the lady seemed determined not just to squeeze, but to rip the damn thing off. I chalked that particular event up to a dire case of "penis envy." Maybe she wanted to keep it handy, like in her purse or some such thing.

There are all kinds of squeezers in this world. Some people are heavy squeezers and others are gentle squeezers.

For example, some men like to really give it their all when they shake your hand. I guess I'm one of those guys, because I've always prided myself on having a firm handshake. I suspect that it's a guy thing, sort of a test of who is going to be the alpha-male in the room.

Some women like to give you a firm squeeze on a handshake as well. I always let them get their licks in, even if I do curl back a finger and try to tickle their palms in the squeezing process. I've been told that doing the tickle is some kind of sexual invitation of sorts ... not sure ... never worked for me.

Some people have no squeeze at all in their handshake. When you shake hands with a non-squeezer, it's like you have latched on to a wet dishcloth. I'm never sure if I should immediately let go, or wring the damn thing out. With all due respect to the gay community, I have found most gay men have a limp, wet handshake. Luckily I always keep some Purell in the car.

Squeezing is not always strictly a physical experience. Some people like to squeeze you emotionally or psychologically. They squeeze you for your time, your friendship, your affection, and in the worst case scenarios, some folks even try to "put the squeeze" on you. These are desperadoes who want to relieve you of some of your hard-earned money. Needless to say, these squeezers should be avoided at all cost. You can simply tell them that you're broke and that "you can't squeeze water from a stone," or if you like a little more dire imagery, tell them, "you can't squeeze blood from a turnip." If you don't like the idea of being a stone or a turnip, just tell them to screw off and reverse-squeeze them out of your life completely.

After all, only the government is allowed to squeeze the dollars out of your pocket. The tax squeeze is a well-known fact of life. Unfortunately, we never get to squeeze back.

Some individuals, usually men, refer to a lover as "my main squeeze." In fact, just the other day, a chap introduced his new girlfriend to me as exactly that. "Meet my main squeeze," he purred. Now, I must say that I may have noticed how squeezable she was, but the moment conjured up all kinds of images of sexual foreplay that may or may not have involved my own opposable thumb. A vague. scenario played out in my head. I could well imagine hands on her, but I can't say for certain just whose hands were travelling over her body and squeezing this or that. For all I knew, they might have been the hands of three hundred men.

Well, I have never been partial to using the phrase, "main squeeze," for my lover. After all, the whole idea of having a "main" squeeze, suggests that there are "secondary" squeezes as well. I live by the belief that one must "move along" before deciding to "mess around."

Finally, we all like to squeeze into things. Jeans from a few years back come to mind. People find old jeans in the bottom of their closets, and the first thing they do is see if they can squeeze into them. Some make the squeeze. Others can't get much more than one leg in. Not to worry. It's not healthy wearing tight jeans. They cut off the circulation to your feet.

Feet? Oh dear, some people haven't been in touch with their feet for years. They squeeze their amply proportioned hooves into shoes near half their required size.

Men aren't quite so conscious of shoe size. In fact, some men wear oversized shoes to suggest to the women whom they meet that they are generally well-endowed elsewhere. I, personally, wear a Size 20 Oxford ...

Women, on the other hand, like to imagine themselves in a Size 5 pump or, in more extreme instances, in a Size 4 black leather boot with stiletto heels — truly a tight squeeze.

We squeeze as we please, I guess, and I can't imagine a world in which squeezing was impossible or simply not allowed.

Oh dear, here I am just rambling on, and I'm sure you have much more important things to do than sit and read this nonsense. Still, I'm glad you squeezed me into your busy day.

See you again real soon ...

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Sunday, July 07, 2013

Right & Wrong

Right & Wrong

Let's be honest. You can be right some of the time, you can even be right most of the time, but you can't be right all of the time.

I have always gone by the rule to "do the right thing."

Now, I'm not sure that my idea of the "right thing" is always what anyone or everyone else might think is the "right thing." Sometimes, in certain situations, people whom I know and love will make it abundantly clear that I have done the "wrong thing."

I guess the "wrong thing" is the opposite of the "right thing," but sometimes the difference between "wrong" and "right" is simply a matter of perspective, a condition of one's point of view. What I may see as "right," you may see as "wrong."

Of course, I hate that kind of shabby thinking. I hate when people say things like, "Hey, works for me ..." Just because something seems to fit into someone's life experiences does not make it universally right. Something may "work" for you, and at the same time send me into apoplexy. Not real sure what apoplexy is, but it's a good word. Works for me ...

In some cultures, "right" is right, and "wrong" is wrong. Some countries have a pretty strict list of rules, and if you don't follow those rules, well, you could end up with you head chopped off.

Here, in North America, we like to believe we are free to think, say and do pretty much anything we please. Oh sure, we have some laws, like it's not a real good idea to kill your noisy neighbour, but most of us aren't prone to go to such extremes. When that noisy neighbour is pounding out some kind of weird Country 'n' Western rap song so loud that the earth is shaking, we might say, "Gawd, I swear I'm going to kill that guy."

But we never do.

Big things, like murder, are pretty clearly "wrong" to most of us.

Little things are a bit different.

Say, for example, you hear that all your friends are having celebration of some sort, and you discover that you have not been invited. You feel miffed, to say the least. You can't, for the life of you, figure out why you have been left out, and you feel so excluded that you start to ponder whether or not you should just march on over to that celebration, despite the fact that you have not been invited. You know that doing so would be so embarrassingly wrong, but you also know that you have been "wronged" as well.

Yes, yes, we have all learned that "two wrongs don't make a right." Or do they? A mathematician will tell you that the combination of two negatives creates a positive, so wouldn't the same rule apply to human behaviour? Wouldn't the law of "to do a great right, do a little wrong" come into play? Showing up where you are clearly not wanted might be exactly the right thing for you to do. Who cares what everyone else thinks? All you have to do is tell yourself that sneaking off to the clandestine celebration "works for me ... "

When you discover that the whole secret society gig was because someone was planning a surprise birthday party for you, well then, you will feel like an idiot. As the saying goes, you'll have "egg on your face" — poached, scrambled or over-easy — doesn't really matter, because it will be all over your face, even up your nose. Sometimes doing what you think is the "right" thing is clearly the "wrong" thing.

It's funny, however, how some people simply never believe they have ever done the "wrong" thing, because they live in the belief that "it's all about me," and so the rationalize every "wrong" action they make and turn it into a "right" action."

That's the American way, because no one in this country is going to chop off your head if you decide that "wrong" is "right."

Hurt someone's feelings? She deserved it. Steal some batteries from Walmart? Well, we're always being ripped off by corporate America, so why not? Cheat on your taxes? Ha! The government is so corrupt that we shouldn't be paying any taxes at all.

Should we do something wrong, there is always an excuse. Wanna know why? It's because we refuse to accept ourselves as anything less than perfect. We refuse to acknowledge that we are actually blundering through life, screwing up constantly, and wreaking chaos and havoc wherever we go.

OK, that's a tad harsh. But I am always amazed at how people refuse to accept imperfection. Wanna know why? It's because we don't pay attention to decent villains anymore. Nope, all we see are heroes ... oh, the brave firemen ... oh, the brave soldiers ... oh, the brave women with breast cancer ... oh ... oh ... oh ... and you end up with a whole whack of different coloured stickers in the shape of ribbons on the back of your car.

This is not to say that we don't have villains in this country. Man, we have more antiheroes than antibodies floating around. But, just as we refuse to accept ourselves as wrong-doers, so too do we refuse to accept that any really bad ass sociopath is "wrong." Disturbed? Yes. Insane? Yes. But absolutely, 100% evil? Never. Just needs saving is all. We're so, so good at turning a wrong into a right.

Unless, of course, that person is Muslim. Muslims are always somehow suspiciously questionable regarding right and wrong. I'm not sure why, but I have heard people say that "nothing saves a Muslim. " Well, there is that bomb-strapped-to-the-belly scenario, a stroll through some busy marketplace, followed by a quick trip to Jannat al Firdous, a Bon Voayge! send off to paradise where 72 virgins, rivers of wine, and boys like pearls are waiting. For some reason Muslims are hip to villainy in ways that most of us simply will never understand. We fear them most because they don't fear us at all.

Uh-oh, you're going to start to think that I'm a little prejudice. That would be really, really wrong, right? Pffft ... in America, we are so damn politically correct that people really don't get to say what they want to say. In the land of "freedom," we're all walking around with a muzzle on our thoughts, because Heaven forbid that we might upset some so-called disenfranchised social group or culture. Prejudice? Yes, I hate how I am manipulated by the word, which has come to mean, "Hey, mofo, I'm not wrong, you are, you damn white racist pig."

Some days, I wake up and think the world has gone mad. So many people are continually bending over backwards to make so few other disgruntled people feel "right" and happy. Wanna know why? It's because we've been brainwashed into believing that doing anything else would be "wrong."

Prejudice is wrong. Discrimination is wrong. Sexism is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

It's a wrong, wrong world, full of wrong-thinking people, so wrong, so wrong, so wrong. So wrong that we sacrifice what we know is right for fear that other people will think we're intolerant, maniacal, reverse-reverse racists, Nazis even. Oh, it's fine that all these parasitic cultures living in the underbelly of society hate and want to annihilate every last individual who is not like them in appearance or belief, but heck and gosh, Abner, we all don't dare feel the same way back.

I think it's time we put some spit and fire into the gruel that this country is becoming and burn off the malcontents — you know, the ones that act like we should be damn happy to have them floating around in whatever drug-addled state of consciousness is currently popular.

Maybe that's one of the problems with North America. Maybe we need to purchase a few hundred guillotines and set them up in the Walmart parking lots across America. Line up the gangstas, the pimps, the drug dealers, the politicians, the lawyers, the pedophiles, the basketball players, the fakes, the flakes, and people who will kill and plunder just to get past the crack-cocaine shakes, so that we can have a "Heads-Off" sale. We won't just be rolling back the prices, we'll send heads rolling down the aisles, and at the same time, we'll be rolling up the stinky carpetbaggers who have exploited a culture guided by the belief that we must always be merciful. It's not so ... seriously ... the days of mercy have to be put behind us.

Well, now you're thinking that chopping off people's heads in some willy-nilly fashion would be terribly wrong, and maybe you're right.

Then again, you could be dead wrong ... or maybe you'll just end up dead ... just another victim without even boys like pearls to look forward to ...

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Moment To Moment

Moment To Moment

Every once in awhile, I have a moment.

You know, one of those times when you simply stop doing whatever it is you're doing, and you reflect on what the point of it all really is.

Some people find these moments disconcerting, so they hustle their thoughts back to the urgent matters at hand. Like making breakfast, switching the TV channel, phoning a son or daughter, things like that.

Me? Well, I like to let those moments of reflection drift for a bit. After all, it's more than a bit curious as to where such thoughts might lead me.

I never expect answers or solutions to anything, never look for the purpose of life or for some rationale as to why I'm getting older, and certainly never hope to hear the voice of God or the voice of those who have departed this world already. No, I just like to walk through the moment to see what it is that has snapped me out of reality for a bit of time.

Usually, the moment passes, and I am no different from who I was before drifting away. Sometimes, however, I get one of those "aha" revelations. Sometimes, something in my life suddenly becomes clearer than it was before the moment.

For example, the other day, I was feeling a little despondent about someone I knew quite well once, but whom I rarely ever see or talk to anymore. In the moment that made me consider what might have gone wrong in our friendship, the thought struck me that any friendship is only as good as the two halves involved.

I'm still not clear if I was to blame for the increased distance between my friend and me, but one thing quickly became pretty obvious. If I hadn't made an effort to keep the friendship alive, neither had he. The drifting apart was just that — a drifting apart. You have to let some things go in life, and if that friendship was vitally important to both my friend and me, then we would have made sure it remained important. So it goes ...

This morning I had another one of those moments, but all it involved was whether or not I wanted to make espresso or instant coffee. Before making such a seemingly trite decision, I sort of blinked out on the whole decision making process.

For a moment, the whole idea of making decisions, like real decisions, big decisions, seemed a bit absurd to me. Sure, we make decisions, but sometimes our decisions are made for us, you know, by other people, by the situations we face, by, oh I don't know, Instant Karma. Weird, I know ...

Anyway, that little moment passed fairly quickly and again, the decision didn't build to one solution or the other. Instead, I went out to Starbuck's and treated myself to a Skinny Vanilla Latte, and an hour sitting on the patio outside the coffee shop watching the people go by as they hustled to get their morning fix of caffeine on their way to work. It was time well spent, although for the life of me, I couldn't tell you anything more than that. I did see people. I don't remember what I was thinking beyond that.

I guess that was another moment when I wasn't quite there, not quite in touch, more out of touch, out of reach.

Come to think of it, these "moments" are becoming more and more frequent.

I don't mind.

After all, I live moment to moment anyway, sometimes fully conscious, sometimes a little less so.

As long as the moments keep coming, I'm good.

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



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