Friday, September 8, 2017

…When you’re lucky enough to be immersed with your tribe for an extended period of time, a ragged bliss exists inside you, overtaking those things that want your breath.

When you are one, married with your tribe, your wariness erodes.  You become acutely aware of life—the depth of color, the different pitches of sounds, the jagged shape of a cloud or the flourish of a well-read sentence—that was there prior to your immersion, yet concealed by the repetitive, mundane dulling of your senses.

When you are with like-minded people who share the majority of your sensibilities, it’s akin to a rebirth, or in the least, a marked re-setting or refocus. 

Wonder returns, and it’s suddenly everywhere around you.  Your eyesight becomes keen.  Your ears get bigger.  Humbleness rumbles and roils inside of you, as does gratitude.

When we feel most alive, youthfulness returns and what mattered so much before is kept in a sealed jar on a shelf in a far off place.  You feel less burdened.  You feel safer. 

For once, it takes no effort whatsoever to be fully present in the moment.  Very little feels superfluous, while nearly everything feels vital, incredibly interesting and exciting. 
Even the small things do.

In a sense, then, you and your tribe become a glued-together glob of love for a while, attached by invisible fibers and tendons, blood and guts.  You wipe off each other’s tears.  You embrace each other’s anger knowing that this show of angst is fleeting and authentically concocted by the shrill voice of freedom and the indefensible strength of emotion that being together has unleashed.

I felt all this, experienced all this, for six days spent with nineteen other brilliant artists, writers, and needy misfits.

It was equal parts magic and stone cold reality. 

I made good use of the time.  I paid attention and by so doing so I received a plethora of gifts, many of which are hard to explain to you.

I tried to stretch myself, writing-wise.  I listened and learned and I applied those learnings in my own voice and hand.

Near the end of our time together, I wrote hard and deep.  The words both did and didn’t sound like they were mine.  But they were mine.  I know they were.
I owe a debt to many…Robert Vaughan, Meg Tuite, Nancy Stohlman, Katherine DiBella Seluja, etc…
I owe a debt.

I came away realizing that when I don’t write, don’t create, I am killing myself with all those spaces left unfilled, all those empty pages. 
I won’t do that anymore.  I’ve got my mojo back and it feels fucking great.

Here’s one of those stretch pieces I wrote on my final day in Santa Fe…

I Remember What It’s Like To Be Hungry

I remember what it’s like to be hungry,
gorging on concrete loaves, rusty jackknives,
the tips of my father’s steel-toed boots and
his manifestos carved into the backs of church steeples.

I remember what it’s like to fuck a rain cloud
in a froth, the air nutty around our thrusts and hiccups,
shooting semen all over Mars and Venus,
my cum not even sticky, just fleeting like a
newborn dying in its crib.

I remember what it’s like to slaughter a parent,
do it Watch Maker-slow, meticulously, then
fast forward lickety split, chainsaw smoking,
making chili, Borsht, and Sloppy Joes
with the remains.

I remember what it’s like to actually care about
your paper cut kisses, your anvil heart and
circumcised portfolio assembled with I.E.D.’s
and sermon paste.

I remember too much.
Every passing Greyhound bus is a crush
reminding me that
I am not legend.

But what do you remember?
Would you wager for it now?
Race for it?
Murder to have it restored in your hairy breath?
I’m willing to bet you’re still
dismembering babies and
using their chubby fists as bookmarks
for the diaries you so ostentatiously
forgot to
set on fire.



  1. Len, this post is so, so beautifully crafted. The sentiments are shared. I feel the same way, completely out of sorts, when our tribe says "so long," as we had to yesterday and the day prior. You owe me nothing. Just be my brother for life. Please.

  2. RV, brother of mine, thanks so much for reading and for our amazing experience.
    Thinking of you as your off on your trip to Brussels. I hope it's as fantastic as I imagine it to be.