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Sunday, December 11, 2011

A.P.

I bought a motorcycle less than a week after Allie died.  She was a 55lb. Black Lab-Rottwieler mix, with muddy-brown eyes and a starting-to-grey puppy face. She had been my best friend and driving buddy for the last 6 years, and seeing her go the way she did crushed my soul.  I found myself driving to and from work with an intense sadness, knowing she wasn’t sitting beside me, staring carefully and calmly out the passenger window as if helping keep an eye on traffic.

The motorcycle was a 2008 Honda Shadow Spirit to be exact, with 1,600 miles on it. Black. The previous owner had it for a year, and put all of 95 miles on it. By the end of the first day I had matched his total. At the end of the first week, I had spent 500 miles in the saddle. Riding fell in love with me immediately.

Without fully comprehending it, it became a sort of therapy that was lacking in my life. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, or for that matter, be around anyone.  Almost every night I would go out for a ride. Any and every type, from short runs around town, to 130-mile multi-canyon loops. The warm Utah Summer held the temps in the 90’s, so high-elevation canyon rides were not too cold. Flowing back and forth through the various switchbacks for hours at a time in the darkness, and breathing the clean air of the rivers helped me clear my head in a way that I couldn’t have done at home or in my car.

It was in those numerous hours I’d think about that crazy-ass dog and how she died. Of the snail bait that poisoned her on the last of her typical sort of adventure, running amok and cruising through the neighborhood.  The countless times she could be seen trotting happily down the street alone, big grin on her face, looking for the next thing to grab her attention.

Allie would always come back, so I learned to just leave the front door open for her whenever she went on a run-amok. I’d inevitably be woken sometime around 1:00am when she would jump onto the bed and stand on my chest to let me know she was back, hungry, and exhausted. Usually smelling of garbage or skunk. She would eat while I closed and locked the front door, then jump back up and find her place in bed. I loved it.

Taking those night rides had a way of letting me actually absorb the things I was trying to come to terms with instead of just pushing them away. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that one can never turn their mind off. There’s always the constant flow of ‘last nights’ and ‘should’ve said’s,’ which we may not want to share with even the closest of our friends, but they have to find an outlet somewhere. Be it a therapist, a tearful breakdown, or a 2-hour twisting of the throttle attached to something around 750cc’s.

One particular night ride up East Canyon near Salt Lake City sticks in my head. It was at first a bit eerie with a full-moon hanging low, light clouds whisping before it in silence. Soon enough though, it turned into a sort of ironic companion for the ride. It had a bright orange glow illuminating the darkness while I was purposefully intent on being alone on my Shadow.

 I had to go extremely slow and carefully to avoid the countless creatures out on their own night cruises. The first deer I passed was within an arm’s reach. She was standing calmly in the oncoming traffic lane. I had spotted her a good 50 yards before I got to her, and even at only 10 or so miles an hour, I felt too dumbstruck to stop as she watched me go by. I mustered a “hell yeah,” in a half-hearted yell before she disappeared behind me in an instant.

As I got deeper into the trees at higher elevation, there were porcupines, raccoons and skunks, but none seemed to mind sharing the road with me. A raccoon in the middle of my lane even allowed me to stop about 4 feet from him, and watch as he grabbed the last of his road-kill dinner. It wasn’t until I honked the horn that he finally ambled his way off the lane.

I reached the summit of the pass and stopped for a cigarette. I sat in the quiet moonlight, which had now turned from orange to a pale white. I felt the warmth of the engine in contrast to the coolness of the late night air. Leaning on the bars of the bike, my heart beating, the pace of my breath seemed to all of a sudden bring the emotion bottled up inside me to a peak. I found myself sitting there on the Shadow, dripping tears onto the gas tank. Reflecting on the fortune of great times I had with that little dog Allie. I thought of hikes through the mountains, watching her wild eyes as she ran through trees and rocks in similar forests. I knew I had given her a good life with a lot of freedom, so I sat contemplating such freedoms, both human and canine.

I understood that night that some beings are born with a vagabond spirit. Like the deer that allowed me to pass so near, the raccoon that wouldn’t move until it was done, and Allie who loved to cruise as a result of whatever whim gripped her that day. I am not one to judge whether that is a healthy way to live, so I’ll leave that subject alone.

I spent the next 50 miles on the highway back toward my home in Ogden. Twisting the throttle with a big grin on my face, mentally expanding the possibilities of my next ride. Thinking about more canyons, time between gas stations, and pretty places to park my own vagabond Spirit for a cigarette and some reflection.

I rolled into Ogden and home at about 1:00am, hungry and exhausted, stinking of gasoline and smoke. As I found my place in bed, I realized I had also found a bit of peace that night on the motorcycle. It was not quite a reason for certain behavior, but behavior for a good reason. The animals, the air, and the low-hanging moon all seemed to be very gracious hosts as I felt welcomed and a part of it.  That night I came to understand a bit of why Allie was always going somewhere, and how I have tended to do the same, and if it wasn’t going to be Allie out there with the deer and skunks and porcupines, it may as well be me.

C.T.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Congressional Abortion

Thankfully the budget cuts Congress passed on Friday will not pass the Senate, at least in full the way they are now. This aside though, the fact our House of Representatives felt it was appropriate to cut $75 million in federal funding to Planned Parenthood is one of the most ridiculous and stupid things any collection of individuals has ever done.
Planned Parenthood is one of the most necessary institutions in the US right now, saving untold millions of dollars in future Medicaid costs, giving a place for displaced young adults to obtain birth control, STD testing, education, and comfort among other things.
This is a prime example of the GOP thinking they are “God’s Own People,” and trying to lead the country on abstract morals and beliefs that have no bearing or place in government. Because the religious Conservatives think Planned Parenthood is some sort of abortion super-highway used only by poor, degenerate sex fiends, cutting funding is going to make them look like bible-thumping heroes to their Republican constituent base. Ironically, I guarantee the majority of their children have been to one of these clinics at some point without the knowledge of mom and dad, because little Chastity does not want to deal with her Congressman father when she decides an HPV vaccine is in her own best interest, regardless of whether or not she’s actually having sex…

Here’s another example of skewed and thoughtless Conservative thinking regarding the same subject:

Referring to a school district in Boston who was asking to have condoms distributed in the school, Sean Hannity made the brilliant statements of “Can’t you buy condoms in every grocery store?” and “Why aren’t they asking for better math programs instead?” I’ll tell you why Sean, because a) high school kids don’t know a better math program is even an option for them, they don’t write the syllabus. b) Even if they did, more or better math would not keep 16-year old boys from being fixated on sex twenty-three hours a day, and c) keeping condoms away from teens does not keep them away from sex. Condoms should be dropped from helicopters onto high schools, church parking lots, and shopping malls all across the country on a bi-weekly basis.
I am sure if that jackass Sean Hannity and the Republicans in the House were even remotely connected to some of the poorer neighborhoods in any city, they would look upon them with smug distain because they are not “making something of themselves” as they so often put it. I doubt they’d relate teen pregnancy with income levels, or the employability of a single teen mother at all. They’d rather take away the choice of high-risk teens by de-funding things like Planned Parenthood, and continuing the practice of only preaching abstinence, since it’s close to Godliness.
I commend the children of that school district for having the brains and courage to ask for the communities’ help in allowing them to be safer and make adult decisions. At the same time, thanks House of Representatives and Sean Hannity for adding another layer of wool over your own eyes, hopefully it will soon suffocate you so the rest of us will be better off.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

No Surprise







I decided that
Each one of us is born
Knowing our destiny.

Within each circumstance
We know damn well what
Choice we will make,
What straw we will pick.

If there is a greater influence,
It is meek and quiet,
Ruling with not a pen, not a sword,
But a feather brushing
Gently on our inclinations.

With a shovel full of shit,
I can cover a feather in an instant.
I can pace my thoughts
And words to outrun
Any moral argument one might have.

And I can win.

This may result in
An early and ugly death,
But I knew my destiny,
And it will come as no surprise.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Hitting the cruise control about the same time I pull off my shoes, I settle in for a long drive. It’s hot in the car, but bare feet help cool me without having to click on the A/C. Sometimes it’s nice to have the windows down in the heat.
Instead of having the replay on, I keep reaching over to start the same song over again. The cigarette I light reminds me of it and when it meant so much, so I try to keep the feeling by playing it over and over and over.
My shoulders drop and my head finds the back of the seat. I wish I could close my eyes.
Before I’m ready, I’m back sitting in the apartment. The sausage in the pan is overcooked and bursting, and the toast sits cold in the toaster. I don’t want to eat it but should.
It makes me unhappy, but for once I am not drunk.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Good Night

The Good Night is sometimes borne on
The simplicity of irrelevant happenings.
The soft crackling of tobacco
In an inhaled cigarette.
Cold ears hitting a warm pillow.
The sound of a dog licking it’s ass.


Hearing the neighbors through
The thin walls of an apartment,
Or walking down darkened concrete steps
To a shitty, darker flat.


You don’t care because tonight,
Being is just being.


A night when you realize
You have been holding your shoulders
Up too high today,
And you release them to finally relax.


Nothing major here,
Just a day full of things that
Remind you of your life.

Friday, July 30, 2010

JJ Grey and Mofro Video.

JJ Grey and Mofro have just launched themselves into Music Video Greatness with this one. I haven't laughed this hard for HOURS! What is funnier than a Barbie and Ken strip-club scenario? Be sure to pay attention to the G.I. Joe who is the bouncer, of course he has a moustache!

Don't forget to pause the music player to the right before hitting play.

Friday, July 23, 2010

July something, 2pm.

My head hurts. No, it fucking hurts. It’s hot. I stink. I have had no real sleep for about ten days now, and showers have been few and far between.
I couldn’t be happier.
Last night was one that I will be re-visiting on a regular, and frequent basis. I will daydream about it, night dream about it, and muse often whenever I have a chance. And although the night (and subsequently the next day) may not have turned out the way it was planned for some of the group I am with, I doubt there was any disappointment.
There was supposed to be a group of the wedding party heading to North Sardinia at around 6:30 last night. They were to drive to a bed and breakfast about 4 hours away, stay the night, and catch a boat tour down the coast the following day. When the party that was supposed to go hadn’t shown up to meet at around 7:30, it was looking like the plan had changed. Myself and a few others, Gaurav, Rodrigo, Alejandra, Navid, Filipe, Barbara, Sarah, The Man, began drinking. Slowly at first, but steadily picking up the pace as the night moved on. I had to twist Matt’s arm to have a drink when he showed up. He is a big guy, but I persevered and the twisting was accomplished. Now, with the previously mentioned group, along with Matt, Daniela, her sister Titsiana, (sp?) Jordan and Nicole. We had a time.
Dinner was again unbelievable. I have felt so lucky to have so much good food every day. The meal last night was stacked with shrimp, eel, calamari, pasta and more pasta, wine and more wine. The eel was fantastic, really. It looked gross as fuck, like something pulled out of a clogged kitchen drain, but seriously it was so good.
We finished dinner quickly this night. And by quickly I mean it only took us about 3 hours. Dinner in Italy so far has not been just dinner, it has been a series of nightly Events, like going to a show or taking a trip somewhere. The previous night our dinner lasted closer to 5 hours, with us finishing at around 2am. Good times for sure.
After heading back to the flat that everyone was staying in, Rodrigo and I went on an hour-long mission to find more beer, and came back to a somber group. Some white wine and a couple Vodka shots was the fuel the fire needed, and the party turned into a hilarious, fast-paced stationary dance of hugs, laughter, insults, compliments, smiles, tears, camaraderie and friendship. I cannot imagine a better party than the one I was privileged to attend last night.
I headed to bed at 4am, others did as well, some went back out to the bar for more drinks. I know that there are a few that feel even worse than I do today, but hopefully they have the same opinion of the night.
I am not sure now if the group that were heading to North Sardinia for the boat tour actually made it or not, as they were to leave early this morning, and we were still laughing and watching 90’s music videos in Spanish at that time.
Now I am sitting on a porch on a narrow Cagliari street, being very thankful for the new people around me.

CT