State of the Kiln

World outside my window (Image by author)

State of the Kiln

Well, hello there! I suppose I have a bit of explaining to do, what with my whole ghosting of my own blog for a few months and whatnot and so-forth. To my half-dozen loyal fans, I apologize. I promise that it wasn’t planned.

Everyone in my family is safe and accounted for so far. Thank the Infinite, the fickle forces of fortune, or whatever deity you prefer. I am certainly grateful, all things considered. So, where have I been?

You see, what happened was …

… well … you know …

*gestures passively at the world*

 … all this.

You see this shit too, right?

A few fun facts about me; (1) I am almost famously, aggressively non-confrontational, to my own detriment; (2) I foolishly expect the world to respond to my kindness and empathy in-kind, and once that blows up in my face; (3) I have odd, quirky ways of dealing with my runaway anxiety and depression, and yeah, I’m talking about fixations beyond my normal go-to mind-numbing solutions.

These unprecedented times are when my normal escapisms (alcohol, weed, writing, gaming, sex, porn, etc.) don’t quite cut the mustard.

I still indulge in them, but, I mean, come on; Erin and I actually discussed a bug-out plan where we drain our bank accounts, leave everything behind, and flee to Canada if things continue to go south … and that’s … well … hilariously insane coming from citizens of a so-called “developed nation’s middle-class”.

I’m surrounded by people who voted for Voldemort to Make Nightmares Great Again. What’s worse, many people who I once respected believe that both choices are equally bad instead of the more rational perspective of “less than ideal” versus the continuing nightmare hellscape full of rabid, heavily armed, utilikilt-clad, incel manbabies. (No disrespect to peace-loving utilikilt enthusiasts. It’s a great look as long as you’re not actively assaulting LGBQT and/or interracial couples.)

Many of my former colleagues cannot be bothered to even try to have sympathy for the marginalized, the oppressed, the voices forever silenced by the state in racist, sexist, classist government systems that are apparently functioning as intended.

(I’m not saying Biden is the solution, as we’ll have to hold him to his promises, but he’s not naked aggression and brazen fascism either. That’s where we are politically; “He’s kind of a dick too, but at least he’s not an openly bigoted fascist!” I’m depressing myself again and getting way off track.)

I feel tidal swells of empathy for those backed into a corner, left with no recourse but to flee with the clothes on their backs, depending on the kindness of strangers, and it just recently occurred to me that the idiocy of fate could place me in those shoes in just a hilllbilly racist’s heartbeat.

Contemplating all this really fucked me up for a minute. Anyone and everyone alive can be – and are – only two or three bad days away from being without a home of their own; from being without a freaking country of their own.

So yeah, jingoism at the gates, pandemic at the disco and everywhere else, the rising dreadful sensation that no one is coming to our rescue, and what do you get? You get a trauma, and you get a trauma, and wifey gets a trauma, and Barry needs a fuck-ton of hugs just like everybody else. Or something stronger than my normal escape tactics.

Some of my extra-curricular fixations include color-coordinating the towels in the linen closet (Erin loves this one), daily raised-leg pushups (this one too), picking my old scab wounds till they bleed again (Erin’s not too trilled with this one), and tugging at my pandemic beard until I leave bald splotches on my face (Erin hates this one).

I also pulled back from nearly all my social media platforms, except for Medium. During my hiatus from here, I published over 50 unique poems and/or short stories, much of it along the lines of soft erotica. Most of my work is for other Medium publications and is therefore behind a paywall.

I dunno; I haven’t sold-out or anything. In fact, my most lucrative month was in December when I earned nearly nine dollars. I can’t explain it; it just feels good writing there, almost as good as color-coordinating towels, pulling out my beard-hairs and preparing a bug-out bag.

I also write for my friend Tre’s Medium publication, A Cornered Gurl, which is not hidden behind a paywall because Tre has always been awesome like that. That’s just how she rolls.

So, where do we go from here? Am I back now? I have no idea. I’ll try to keep a presence here, as the WordPress community has been very kind to me. But as we know, the only constant in the cosmos is change, and like it or not, change is coming for us all.

I’m trying to be gentle with myself, and I thank you for your continued grace and patience as we continue to find our way through … you know … *gestures haphazardly* … whatever the hell this is, and whatever tomorrow brings.

Your blogmate,

Barry  

P.S. – Here are a couple of Christmas photos.

World inside my window (Image by author)
Bookie, snug as a bug (Image by author)
The Doodle-Bug, with her cute, sticky, gross hands ruining my favorite Christmas ornament, Wally Payton. Meh, it’s just stuff. It’s not like I included it in my bug-out bag or anything. Her mom’s in the background, pretending to work. (Image by author)

UPDATE: Whelp, guess it’s back to pulling out my beardhairs…

Interview with a Poet — Thinking About Poetry Series

Interview with a Poet — Thinking About Poetry Series

Image by Author (Pre-Pandemic-Quarantine weight-gain, of course.)

Happy Friday, everyone! I was asked by Zay Pareltheon to participate in Scrittura’s “Thinking About Poetry” series, and my response was published here. Thank you for inviting me to participate, Zay. I enjoyed writing it far more than I imagined!

Pete Beardsworth – Everything is Just Colors and Shapes – This song just feels like Happy Friday morning to me.

my five great loves in five verses

Image for post
Photo by Xin on Unsplash

verse one — vergence of failed lineages

groping in darkness
finding us
solace in cursed woods

Image for post
Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

verse two — piercing grey eyes

escaping colors
we immersed
smearing our real worlds

Image for post
Photo by Juliette F on Unsplash

verse three — craving her grip

she lured me to realms
of too much
and of not enough

Image for post
Image by Lindsay Stewart from Pixabay

verse four — a different lingering vibe

just like a warm bath
she met me
where touch craved her most

Image for post
Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

verse five — our time in smiles

soft, yielding dancer
I held you
synched by our music


Originally posted on Medium by Barry Dawson IV for A Cornered Gurl.

She is…

Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels

She is…

a peace profile
in sepia tones and
cotton candy dreams.

She is of crescent moons
golden curves and
star shine reflected in
half-open eyes of
REM sleep
digesting another day
on the apex of praise
attention, and even parody;

a knowing eye-twinkle at rest;

grace under any light
lunar or lampoon;
luminous
even among blackened
new moon night;

She is earthshine;
a crest of coral ocean foam
only hinting at the volume
of her riches within;

of permanent afterglow
guiding her acolyte home.

She is of resting face, lines
curving down at the corners;

not a frown, but layered
determined peace; a portrait
of meditative resolve
smoothed upon a
capricious landscape.

She is a cosmos
unto herself
but even she has
her breaking point;

she greets me at her center,
with shoulders slumped;
her horizon curves
back onto me,

and I learn of the depths
of my own strength
holding heaven aloft
with only my two frail arms
and everything I am

The nature of things is that
I am and she is.

But often I am
because she is.

Occasionally I am
so that she is.
***

Blueberries for Reina

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

Blueberries for Reina

I’ve never eaten a blueberry. I confess I didn’t follow my grandma’s golden rule; don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. They look vile and undignified; like grapes that didn’t quite grape correctly. But my grandbaby is housing those things like they’re nature’s candy, leaving blue and violet streaks everywhere; a little Rembrandt. Every so often, she offers me one with compelling questions of “Uhn? Uhn?” hanging beneath our sun-streaked skylit afternoon. I politely sing, “No thank you!” which always gets a giggle from her before she crams nature’s mess artlessly into her tiny face. She’s more blueberry than toddler now. Maybe I should try one next time she offers.

sea of blue and green
bird chatter and child’s laughter
we breathe together

***

Reina, destroyer of blueberries, all cleaned up now, focused hard on play. (Image by author, used with permission.)

Featured Audio Poem of the Week

Strong work from Wild Flower, a young contributor to my friend trE’s Medium collective, A Cornered Gurl. I really enjoyed reading this one.

A Cornered Gurl

Wild Flower, or The Wild One as I like to call her, has been on Medium for four years and ever since she appeared, she has been making waves. A familiar face from my days as Editor of This Glorious Mess, I was incredibly happy to have her contribute to A Cornered Gurl as well. She answered the call to “Sound Off” with an audio poem and it is truly incredible. I have been amazed by her growth and transformation into this beast of a writer and I hope I am around long enough to see her continue to evolve.

I won’t dote on her any longer . . . Here’s the piece in question, They Call Me Chaos.


Photo by Miguel Salgado on Unsplash

They Call Me Chaos

An audio poem

They call me chaos,
a complete contradiction
to myself.
Pages of disarray, defined as
a…

View original post 319 more words

Orion’s Lament

Photo by Simon Godfrey on Unsplash

Orion’s Lament

She was the first breath of spring
puncturing a stubborn morning frost.

She was jazz blooming from blues,
she was sacred verse bursting from psalm.

She was unrefined snorts and belly-laughs;
she was knowing eyes that knew better.

She was a midnight pub-crawl;
she was of pre-dawn shared comfort food.

She was nothing imagined
and everything desired;
she was love’s bloom; a promise kept.

And I am the fool hunter
who grasped at her corona,
eternally driving her from my reach.
***

Yes, I’m still overdosing on Hamilton. I’d ask Wifey to intervene, but we’re on this bender together. I have no regrets.

I’m sure we’ll return to normal soon, but have you seen my country’s normal? I say, let’s take all the manufactured joy we can get.

Into Nothing

Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash

Into Nothing

A concession
less than you planned
is often framed at a glance
as better than
nothing,

as there is nothing less
than nothing.

As in an absence of sound
where a voice should be,

a musical measure
that halts
three beats
before the melody,

an expected reply
to a query of love
that is absent
unexpectedly.

Nothing is both
beginning and end
and it is often neither;

it is nowhere we want to be
and everywhere, inevitably;

a closed door left ajar;

no closure, just a far-off view
of horizon unchanging.

Nothing is not an answer we expect,
but often by not getting it
it’s the answer that we get.

Nothing is what she said
before leaving
after leaving I love you’s
scrawled in condensation
on our shared mirror
before evaporating
into nothing.

***

I know I said that I would be back to writing more frequently, but I wasn’t expecting to become addicted to the Hamilton musical on Disney+

Seriously guys, every waking hour has been spent watching Hamilton, obsessing over Hamilton, breaking down the amazingly dense lyrics to Hamilton, analyzing the musical motifs of Hamilton, watching YouTube videos of others who’ve been analyzing Hamilton, also watching reaction videos of Hamilton, learning the actual history of the real Alexander Hamilton, and well, you get the idea.

Truth be told, the Hamilton Era is the most entertaining of this global pandemic that has exposed my nation as a failed plague-state. It’s way better than the Tiger King Era, and it’s not even close. At-me at your own peril, but I promise, I have the receipts:

Anyway, yes, I’m still alive. Here’s a poem about nothing. Now I gotta get back to watching Hamilton. See you in a week or two.

Released

Image by Wilhan José Gomes wjgomes from Pixabay 

Released

It is a
terrible gestating  
within

a low, relentless
rumbling thunder
in the distance

deep within
the abysmal well
of its own gravity

roiling and boiling
over upon itself

causing tremors

suppressed with
a trembling will
peeling steel plating
from iron bones

unsealed
it tears itself
from diaphragm

all lung
trachea
phalanx and phlegm

behold as trembles
once secured by
butterflies

now transmuted  

shattering bedrock
to find fault in
fault lines

as timid heads flinch
and even the bold
cower in confusion

oh yes
that heaven-piercing howl
is my voice

it is mine

your inherited rights
those monolithic
brittle sensibilities
are yours

for now

steady yourself
or don’t

you and I are
well past decorum.
***

Sorry I’ve been away for so long, but the world is burning, and video games have been a mighty fine distraction from it all.

Self-care? Self-care.

My current game of choice has obviously been the Final Fantasy 7: Remake on PS4. I’ve already beaten the game, but hey, why not go for 100% completion?

I think I’m ready to face the world again. Thanks for your patience.

Bonus video, because I couldn’t settle on just one…