Tag Archives: biography

The Precipice by Matt Carlson

Elledge stood there : once again. On the precipice. The precipice of making a decision. The precipice of what was important in his life. He had looked up, he had looked down; he had looked all around. Had he missed something? Because to make the best possible decision, one had to have the key elements in hand. He knew that. But if part of the equation were the people he cared about – where were they? And if he knew where they were, why were they acting the way that they did? Maybe his ‘carrier-pigeon mentality’ hadn’t been the best method, you know: the returning to the places of life before… To see ‘it’ again and look it straight in the eye  – to talk to it even, just to make sure that they recognized each other. The problem was that no one spoke, or was even available to have an eventual conversation. It was: “I’m so busy. I’ll call you.” The phone calls never came.

Then he remembered an old concept that he had held close to his heart (and head) in his dating days : when you start playing the guessing game in your head about what’s in someone else’s head, that usually means the person is not direct, is complicated,  not a good communicator, or absent because they want to be and or DO NOT WANT TO SHARE in the way that you need them to share. So ‘bye bye baby, bye-bye’ (Madonna song refrain…)

The little brother incident had been an emotional blow. While there, he had known being in their home was a potential ‘bomb’ of sorts,  he hadn’t known what the missing pieces were. Now in retrospect, he understood them. His psychiatrist had pointed out the abandoned Father issues that dominated in that household – that Elledge couldn’t have done anything about it even if he had wanted to. That all potential Father symbols had to be destroyed ! Elledge hadn’t  thought of any of those things – though he had considered the father role he had played – still a child himself- with his little brother many years ago: a poor substitute perhaps, but it had been a loving one.

Arriving in California, he was on a life trip while there – still was in fact though now back in Paris – and the people facing him had been on a completely different roller coaster ride. There was finally no ‘meeting of the minds’ so to speak. For that, there had to be openings in peoples heads, the desire to be open to something new, to have conversations together. Instead, there had been ‘people too busy,’ defensiveness, parody, moodiness and recriminations – games within games. Even lying. There were false smiles and “Awesome!” this and “Awesome !” that; followed up with “Your the boss!” But when a miscommunication happened it was, ” You’re a mother-fucking-liar” and “I’ll never trust you again!” with “Why did you do that?” Elledge was still waiting for an answer from an email in May, a sent birthday card and postcards sent over the summer. But no, he had been killed off. His Father symbol was now dead to them. Back then he’s been told by his little brother, “People in the states don’t answer emails!”

The other brothers and their absences too were confounding to him. But maybe that shouldn’t have been so surprising concerning the past.  Elledge had some gaps in his memory and distance did play a role too – still he was very disappointed. He’d truly wanted to connect with his brothers again and on a close level.  but he supposed, that in order for them to understand the efforts taken to return, one had to have ‘sat upon the subject’ a bit, to mull it over and consider those steps necessary for a trip like that; to care enough about someone else –  your brother – and what that meant to you. And if it meant something then you would do something about it, right? Like jump on a plane and go and see him, or if you were in the same city, run over and see him, right?  If not, you wouldn’t have done any considering at all just, “Oh, he’s coming back?…Why? I hope it works out for him..”(end of story ).

The good side to his visit upon returning to his ‘roots’ had been connecting with his nephews and niece, three of his cousins …and some nice virtual messaging with at least one of his second cousins. And he had made a friend or two, gotten to see his best friend in Washington and her family. There were connections with her family too – that was all very nice….

But still, what to do? Which city would he return to? Or maybe it would  be a new place? New faces? And more importantly the ‘what to do’ with ones life was actually secondary to the ‘why’ we do something…Hmm, maybe it was time to develop that ‘why’ question….




The House That’ JACK’ Built by Matt Carlson

I’m looking again at this picture of a wooden house, the one you see there with the trees and the garden. That wooden structure is actually sitting on what was once a very big cement terrace. I built it myself with my two little hands; it’s insulated, has a see-through roof (though now that’s covered with a special material to keep the warm air in); it has two rooms (a living area and a half office/half entry way. It has a glass door (recuperated from Gréasque) has a front door and one window (from the ex brother in law) and a large bay window (from the ex mother-in-law). It is attached to the original stone house. which is about the same size. It’s sitting in the middle of a forest.

I began building this structure when O. (now my ex-compagnon) was hospitalized for BPD (Borderline Personality Order). I actually built it for him : an act of love. I went and chose the wood, paid for it and hauled it back to what we later called, ‘Le Pin Pastèque’. I emptied the truck and stacked all the wood, put a tarp over it when it rained, bricks too, (on the tarp) when the wind was strong; I bought too the necessary tools and materials in order to build ‘our future cube” : nails, screws, a hand drill, an electric saw, a ladder, a measuring device, big plastic plaques and systems of attaching them for the roof, etc, etc. The list is so long… and I don’t remember the names in English right now… But you get the picture.

At the same time, that O. was in the hospital (and he was in very bad shape): he’d been trying to hurt himself by mutilation, strange epileptic type episodes, stating that he wanted to end his life – he said that he almost drove the car into a ravine. So I had him hospitalized.There was no other choice and he accepted it. My Mental Health Worker experience from 20 years earlier came to life in an instant –  though this was not in an enclosed facility with a close knit team…I was on my own & at that same time, I too, was going a little bit crazy. My Father ( a recovering alcoholic) had just recently passed away and then suddenly O. took a turn for the worse.

We had  been together for five years, initially I hadn’t known that he was suffering from BPD – didn’t really understand what that meant either at that time. I did understand that there was something wrong with him; I remember our first disagreement: he just sat on the couch across the room with this strange blank look on his face. As if, he had become a zombie in the twink of an eye….My days were quickly filled with visiting O. at the hospital, dealing with the administrative problems that went along with that, and taking care of my own health issues. Working on the house gave me a focus – thinking that it would help make things better somehow. Knowing that while you battled with your mind in a crazy house, a physical nest of love and support would soon be opening it’s doors to you? It was not to be so…

O’s Mother and brother showed absolutely no assistance, or moral support whatsoever. Not even one phone call to inquire how I was doing. This was not very surprising, though the initial reaction was to ‘O’s’ being hospitalized. There had always been a strange love/hate relationship going on between O and his family, that I didn’t understand. I continually encouraged him to work through it, to stay in contact with them on some level, even though he stated his hate for them.

O. had specifically asked me to call his Mom  and tell her not to visit for a while, including the brother in that scenario – that he needed time to think, to not be in contact with them. But upon calling her and relating O’s wishes, she hung up on me! Then proceeded to tell O’s brother that I wanted to “control her son” and the situation. I know this because the brother wrote to me an email relaying this information and telling me to ‘stop telling everybody what to do’. I was amazed as it was so far from the truth. Of course, I quickly defended myself by clarifying what had been actually said and by whom – in a very neutral tone yet feeling obliged to make him aware of the inappropriate reaction from his Mother….but to no avail. I wouldn’t understand until several years later the strange reaction from Gigi (the Mother)…. that she was also suffering from BPD! I was surrounded by a family with BPD and didn’t know it!!

Then, suddenly (shortly after O’s being hospitalized) I received a direct message by a young man (via email- oh the joys of Internet, right?) that O was having an affair with someone! And that ‘someone’ was telling me what a terrible person I was (this time O was fabricating stories about me)….Of course,  I told the guy off and NOT gently either. I was furious and went to see O at the hospital, only to find the same person physically present – though he quickly leaves upon my arrival)…Visions of kicking his ass briefly flashed in my head… O tries to explain at first that it’s his ‘barber’. Instantly, I tell him about the message I’d received earlier and it is CONFIRMED with apologies (“I’m a worthless human being – I don’t deserve you” etc) and that the barber and the email sender are the same person – AND that he lives in the same village (Fuveau) AND that the guy is in love with O!…. Of course, O tells me he had only gone a few times over this guys house to get a hair cut and drink coffee. Uh huh, right….I don’t kick anybody’s ass, but driving home I am wondering how the hell to get out of this sticky situation, or to fix it somehow. And wouldn’t I have noticed those hair cuts??

Of course, infidelity had been a serious problem with O from the beginning – that and his drinking. Only my music was saving me, therapy through songs, and the building process of the house, but I was being pulled down by outside forces way beyond my control…. The good news was that a new treatment had been found for me – the famous cocktail of three HIV drugs was actually working. Physically, I was slowly becoming stronger for the first time in 19 years. Why was I staying with this guy? What was wrong with ME?

A Faulty Kiss (A chapter in the FRESNO TIMES CHRONICLES) by matthew h. carlson

A Faulty Kiss


by Matthew H. Carlson

She had a large mouth and big lips which were red and wide, an entrance to the snake-like tongue that lived behind them.

The beast was now hard at work, slithering with slobbering, searching those intimate places in my own mouth, hungry for more. But more of what, I wondered? Cathy had stayed late – a kind of last minute date on this, my 18th birthday. Mom had politely gone off to bed leaving us alone in the living room.

Within moments, the lights were out and Cathy and I were on the old lapidated couch, me lying on top of her. We were kissing fervently, or at least she was. I wasnt really kissing as much as imitating a mechanical movement of kissing. Her huge mouth seemed to be engulfing my own.

I was  doing what I thought was expected of me, but it was a faulty kiss.

As she continued withering her snake-tongue within the perimeters of my poor mouth, she produced extreme levels of saliva. How was she doing that and WHY was she doing that?! This was not my first kiss with a girl either, girls loved to make out with me. But this one had mistaken some ancient spitting or ‘slobber – exchange’ tradition with actual kissing! For all the good it was doing me, I might as well have been kissing a refrigerator that someone had begun to clean with a water drenched sponge…I was a good kisser too, but what do you do when someone is trying to swallow your face? And that tongue!  It seemed to be a living creature with a mind of its own.

I did the best I could. Moving away from her lip soaked orifice I pulled down her flimsy top to get a titty out and gave it a good lick bashing. She seemed to really appreciate that, twisting and moaning underneath the weight of my young athletic body and apparently already expert tongue. I was quite pleased for a moment – it was after all my first breast licking! I had a go at the other one and the response was the same, though her snake-like tongue tried to have a go at one of my ears during a short tit-licking-break… I tried to imagine her sexual organs and their location and though I had no intention of actually going there, for the sake of decorum, I give it a quick massage with my hands through her jeans. To my amazement, she was wet! I wondered if that was normal but quickly decided it had to be, otherwise shed be up, embarrassed and apologizing for being incontinent…

Getting more and more uncomfortable, I wondered how was I going to get out of this? She wasnt stopping me! Girls I dated always stopped me before it got this far. Cathy apparently was ready to go through all the bases (though I had absolutely no idea of their order of tribute). First base? Second base? Pure theory and belonging to another species of boy.

“Cathy,” I said sitting up suddenly with a brave face, one that I hoped conveyed a natural expression of sincere disappointment. “We can’t do this here, my Mom is in the next room”.  She sat up holding onto me.

“But I want you so much,” she said glassy eyed. I wasn’t sure exactly what she meant.

“Its better we stop before things get out of hand, okay?” I felt at a loss  hadn’t she noticed that there hadnt been any awakening in Big Red aka big Dick and the twins?

“Of course”, she said she understood. A few minutes later she was out the door (another kiss) and I watched her drive away. I hadnt wanted her sexually. I realized at that moment that I hadnt wanted any of them. They were friends, but anatomically they didnt have what I was looking for and much, much more

I needed to be alone to think, but first I needed a towel.

Fresno Times Chapter One By Matthew Carlson

joanie and kids#1

Fresno Times                   Chapter One                   By Matthew Carlson

2036 or 3636 or 3036 Maple street…  I cannot remember the exact address, but it was on Maple Street and there was the number 36 somewhere on that mailbox, which was sitting on a metal pole of some kind, a horse shoe form with a flat bottom, its’ little door that creaked when you opened it. The mail man would put up the little red flag on the side when he had left mail. The flag was made of metal too.

The mail box sat in a claimed garden area, fenced off  by a small wall of red bricks surrounding it. Inside, there were lots of rose bushes,  lots of Four o’ Clocks too with  small reddish-pink flowers that were very pretty and would always close their blossoms at around four.  That’s where the name came from, Four o’ Clocks.  Of course, as a child I wondered how the flowers could tell time like that…

The house itself was yellow when we arrived; it became olive green with brown edges afterwards, though I have no memory of painting it. How did that happen? Who painted it? It must have been us, three boys with our divorced Mother. But I can only remember painting the bathroom and learning how to stain the cabinet furniture with a sponge. The bathroom was a unique one, with two doors, one from the hallway for us and then one door which was direct from Mom’s master bedroom. She even had a dressing room that led to the bathroom. I remember that bathroom so well, have no idea why. There was nothing special about it, there was a shower and a separate bathtub, it was I suppose a kind of ‘communal  hub’ in those days, where the family crissed and crossed with our many activities: showers, baths, brushing teeth, hair, going potty, peeing;  Mom putting on her face, spraying hair spray,  and as kids do too (like their parents) lots of looking at ourselves in the mirror; checking out teeth and pimples, hair styles, clothes that we wore and so on. It was also a library, for reading: our favorite comic books never far from reach: Superman, Batman, The Avengers, Casper The Friendly Ghost to name a few.

Mom worked every day of the week, so when she would come home, her arms would be full of groceries in paper bags. If we didn’t get up off our butts and help her, there would be hell to pay! Star Trek would have to wait, or Lost in Space. Too, our weekly chores had to have been finished beforehand. The schedule was on a wall in the kitchen and it was divided up into 3 specific tasks: kitchen, living room and bathroom. Each of us was responsible for one of the three tasks and for a period of one week. Then it would change. If you were cleaning the kitchen one week, then the next week, you would clean either the bathroom and then the living room. Keeping our bedrooms clean was an individual obligation.  Merk was the only one who was incapable of washing a spoon so that it was clean and had no notion of how to keep his room tidy either. His regular occurrences of spilling milk at the dinner table were often explained that “so and so had dropped him on his head when he was a baby”. Thinking about that statement now, I realize that that was certainly a comment coming from my Dad in ‘all his splendor’, probably saying that my Mother had dropped him when he was a baby and of course saying that in mixed company so that he could reap the rewards of his provocative ways…. “Oh I did not Hurb!” from Mom.

Of course, how that worked psychologically on Merk, I have no idea. I’m sure that his absences or distractions during mealtime were more likely that he was growing so fast, or perhaps thinking about sex, or maybe both.

À propos

À propos. An american in Paris, I know, NOT very original, huh? Born and raised in California, I’ve been living over here for 26 years – half a lifetime. Mental health, language, tennis and music have been constant themes in my life, also writing, photography and animals of all kinds.

Now I’m living as a vegetarian in a castle with a handicapped woman and another musician.

I need to reinvent my life. If you have anything to say about that, hit me up. I enjoy conversation! ;))