Tag Archives: paris

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….

 

 

Sidewalk Seas & The Eiffel Tower by Matt Carlson

It was early evening and time to take Miss Busybody and her brother Federer out for their evening constitutional. Both of them happy and energetic. Led lights blinking on their collars. “Oh, look! How wonderful.” A passerby would exclaim. The lights of red and white, a beacon on sidewalk seas.

Autumn had arrived and time had gone back one hour. Fall back spring forward. Wet leaves attributed to two footed ants in bright green & yellow (clean up crews) who were running water off into the gutters. Never at the same hour of course and you never saw who was doing what. The ant queen was surely sleeping in her warren somewhere nearby.

One day you would perhaps see piles of leaves huddled next to the trees. The piles  would stay like for a long time (unless a nice wind came along), then you might observe nearby trash containers resembling starving dogs with rib cages full. Always hungry those dogs. Then maybe an employee nonchalantly pushing a chariot while engulfed in a telephone conversation – NOT seeing you if you passed them by, “Have I suddenly become THE INVISIBLE MAN?” thought Gelledge… Then water would appear, running down the gutters. Who did that?! You never knew… And there were days when a small green truck for washing the sidewalks would be there, with its huge tooth brushes and a whirling one. It could spew water in every direction. The man driving it saw you and would smile (he liked his job) “Ok, then I’m not invisible!” Exclaimed our hero. He could breath safely. He still existed.

Trash would stay sitting there for long periods too alongside household objects that people no longer wanted. Unclaimed. Big cardboard signs taped to their bodies like: NZECHLOP1255983. They were remnants of someones life – just sitting there. Naked, finished, kapput. Who had these things belonged to?  Where had they gone? Had it been their choice to leave? The city scavengers were never far off: the displaced, the poor, the immigrants with a kid or maybe a dog. Had they been swept under the rugs of the system?

Gelledge was bored of the neighborhood. Sick of walking the same old tired streets. The dogs were too. When they no longer wanted to walk, they slunk back, appealing eyes looking into his. They wanted to go to the park, of course…or maybe climb into a warm bed if it was cold enough. Living in the big city after the wide open spaces of Provence hadn’t been an easy adjustment for any of them. Of course, the walks were more fun with the many ‘pee-messages’ everywhere. Details of what was eaten, how long ago someone had passed by: biological imprints still easy to read after several hours. Friends were made on every street corner, an occasional foe. The foes were on leashes, attached to angry, usually bitter womenfolk. Thermometers to how shitty their lives were. It was rarely the dogs fault for their bad moods. If you were stuck to someone 24/7 who was unhappy, angry at the world and/or constantly afraid, you too would be affected.

“Why not take a drive somewhere?” Gelledge asked the dogs who looked up at him with anticipation. They climbed into the old station wagon and after trying to unsuccessfully decode the radio (a security measure by a previous owner) well, let’s just say that the radio would continue on in silence. “Oh, let’s go visit the Eiffel Tower!” Exclaimed Gelledge. He wasn’t sure of the directions, his smartphone again in the shop so there would be no GPS, but he figured he could find it. He knew the general route. And at this time of night they were few people on the roads.

In fifteen brief minutes, there they were! The orange glow of the splendid tower reaching up like an immense Lego toy in the night sky. A giant metallic penis of sorts, built for the World Expo of 1889, it had stayed & vanquished the debate of its construction and had become a glowing pillar for Paris. It seemed close enough to touch. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiffel_Tower

The base of it was huge with its four gigantic pillars and never ending tower: up, up up it went! There were a few buses parked along the streets & darkly lit parks surrounding it on two sides with the Seine River on another side. Getting out of the car, Miss Busybody and Federer looked up too and in their dog minds were astounded by the structure, the lights, by the many people too, some with dogs on leashes. Mostly tourists but with the vultures of commerce closing in fast.

Strange small colored lights shot into the air under the tower and floated downwards, spiraling in blue, purple and green. Fun to watch Gadgets for the tourists. A large number of African men walked around with them & miniaturized Eiffel Towers and other glowing objects, like key chaines and even plastic glowing hair ribbons (which looked quite funny on at least one man wearing one.) They didn’t pay any attention to Gelledge,  he was obviously a native walking his dogs. “Fooled them!” He thought.

They walked across the street to get some perspective of the huge structure. Then suddenly the tower began to twinkle with a thousand lights: white dots of illuminated butterflies in an October Parisian sky. It was warm; the people happy. People chatted, hugged, kissed, played. There was tenderness in the air. There was music too. Someone had brought his sound system, a guitar and a cup for money offerings. He was actually pretty good, singing in English and French & with a very nice tenor voice. There were easily about 50 to 60 people standing around nonchalantly listening to him. He was tall, nice looking & French. Gelledge would’ve liked to chat with him, but didn’t dare. He was on stage performing, even if it was on a sidewalk in a park at night. He would have to come back.

Next a walk under the tower itself & along with that the strong smell of ‘I WANT YOUR MONEY” in the air. Many people of all nationalities wandering about or standing in line. Millions of people came here every year. The tower attracted a multitude of languages & cultures from throughout the world.

A few people stopped to pet the two dogs and ask a few questions. Then an older man came along with a beagle and tried to communicate something. He kept making biting movements with his lips. Was it because Miss Busybody hadn’t taken to him or Chuck the dog? His French was limited. Miss Busybody barked protectively. Federer sniffed Chuck who was wearing a pretty cool grey and beige sweater, his well shaped head almost entirely black. He was cute as  a bug in a rug, (well cuter even) because let’s face it: bugs are not cute in rugs. http://rugchick.com/rug-eating-bugs-what-to-do-about-them/ They slowly edged away from the man, seemingly nice but totally not understandable with his gibberish.

It had been an eye opening experience to visit the Eiffel Tower this way. Driving at night was a great way to visit Paris. During the day time there were too many people, cars, trucks, the buses and taxis, the pedestrians… Getting away from the toxic atmosphere of the chateau too, had also been a good thing.

He would try to forget the nasty hate mail received from his ex’s lawyer the other day: a letter full of lies and inexactness wrapped up in legal jargon.  http://nobullying.com/borderline-personality-disorder/

Once again, Gelledge would have to counter deceit, counter hatefulness, counter jealousy. “Don’t stare at the past,” he reminded himself. “You’re not going that way.”

walking into the future

walking into the future

“Murder at Le Château de la Reine Blanche” by matt carlson

The discovery had been made late morning by Carlotta the fortyish Bulgarian housekeeper. Her screams echoing in the 15th century courtyard. Patches was dead. Her normally propped up feet on “Bahh – bahh” her favorite sheep-like cushion were astray, at an unsettling angle, the disheveled blankets off to one side, her smart phone on the floor, crushed. The worst thing was the terrified look on Patches’ face: eyes bugging out, mouth askew, like a dead carp in the frozen goods department. Time of death was noted by the coroner at around three in the morning.

“I cannot beveive it,”  said Carlotta in her Bulgarian accent. “Voo vould keill Madame Patches? I am soo, how you say, distravt?” The used hankerchief dabbled at fake tears upon her cheeks while speaking to the police officer. She was sad, but – about the money – not about Patches death. She would no longer be paid twenty euros an hour,  a fortune in her home country.

The staff was notified that their hours would be cut back entirely, Shocked to hear about Patches’ death, most felt little sympathy for her. Big Dick (aka Nick) was a bit shaken when Clover, from the agency called him.

“What? What do you mean someone killed her? What was the cause of death?” He asked sounding upset. A possible suspect, he had had good reason to kill her after what she’d done to him time and time again. But he had appreciated the tips she gave him afterwards, its just he felt so used and woud immediately take a shower.

“Well Big, it looks like she was smothered to death by a pillow,” responded Clover. “Yet they say she had a pink pill stuck in her gullet! Being that she couldn’t take a pill without someone assisting her, that means that the person knew her…But who would give her a pill at three in the morning?”

“That is strange,” concurred Big Dick. “Smothered by a pillow? I guess that would be the easiest way….Where was Brandon? Wasn’t he upstairs as usual?”

“Well, no. He’s still in America visiting his family near Chicago….She was alone at nights – Gelledge left some time ago to live elsewhere….The killer could be anyone of us! I mean, we all hated her, right? She was so mean. Well, I mean, I wouldn’t have killed her, but sure would have loved to slap her up the side of the head a few times… ha, ha, ha – now it’s too late..!” She laughed over the phone.

“Yea, right, or maybe velcro a used diaper on her head just for laughs!” They snickered and howeled, each adding a new and fun way to humiliate the now dead Patches. “We could’ve closed the micro-wave and told her we’d leave it that way!” or “”Put her only halfway on the toilet”…It was cruel and silly, but took away some of the nervous tension. Tension that was partly about the murder, of course, but underlying sexual tension too. Clover had often wondered about the rumors concerning “Big”, and after all, he was rather attractive, tall with dark hair & a charming personality.

Big Dick also enjoyed their ‘Tête-à- tête’ discussions  and appreciated Clover’s blond hair, cute face and perky breasts – like small melons waiting to be tasted. Clover and Big Dick, co-workers who had spoken many times about their mutual hatred for Patches too – in the office or on the phone. She had been the theme of many conversations. Patches had subjected them on numerous occasions to do tasks they considered beneath them like, cleaning out the cat-box, wiping the old woman’s ass, changing her smelly shoes, separating garbage (all into the wrong containers of course- because Patches had her own vision of how garbage should be divided up)…. Needless to say, it had to be done over once downstairs where her critical eyes could not witness it. It was more than aggravating.

Patches had been an engineer, had designed space rockets, had been a high level woman manager in a practically all male managed international company. To summarize, she had had illusions of grandeur, hated men (except when she needed their penises and strength), had never experienced true love (‘Did it really exist?’), had also had her life taken away from her with Muscular Distrophy (MS),  which she was very angry about up until she died, and had taken that anger out on everyone else around her. Her daily functioning was similar to how she used to work at her company: methodical. She would, through words (because the only body part that worked was her right hand & at about 15 percent) dictate slowly and painfully each precise step that was required in a given situation to her employees, called Life Assistants (LA for short). Her body rythyms  too were quite slowed down compared to everyone else’s, so when someone came into contact with her, well, let’s say that you had to put on the brakes. Big time.

And she was plain difficult! If her clothes were to be dried for example: Patches would tell her LA which articles would not be placed in the dyer, to turn inside out a particular garment, to place a nice smelling sheet of lavender inside the machine and in such and such a manner; to regulate the dryer at the correct temperature, to hang up another article of clothing; “Shit!” that she needed her food cut up “NOW!”  as a slice of failed-to-reach-her-mouth meat slid down to the floor, then: “No! Not like that, you idiot! In 3/4 size pieces!”… That the LA was to go and find a coat hanger in the bedroom when the clothes were dry (and of course upon returning with a coat hanger, “No, not that one – there’s a red metal one on the left hand side of the closet…”) Of course, that coat hanger would never be found and an hour would be lost looking for it, sending the pour individual (it was usually a female employee) – (Patches hated women too) into a slow rage, of contempt. A slow boiling pot of oil. It would be so much easier to take things into ones own hands.

That rage would usually be disguised at the beginning (this was a paid job after all)  but with each day the hidden rage would begin to erupt in brief flashes of rebellion, a bit like stuffing large quantities of mud in a wooden box. Too much mud forced into the box, now seeping through the cracks while engulfing the latches, squishing out its “sludginess” …

Usually, the rebellion would begin with, “It might be better to do it this way, because…”

“No! No! No!” Patches would scream, like scissors cutting stems. “It’s mine and I want it like that…”

“Madame, excusez moi, but you are being unreasonable, I cannot be spoken to like this…” And so on and so forth, until the LA would eventually “lose his or her cool” leave after a few weeks or months, and be replaced by yet another poor, unsuspecting and (most importantly) ignorant (of MS) life assistant.

To be fair,  it is necessary to say  that with MS when the brain is short circuiting your brain, that words don’t always come out the way you intend. So to add confusion to misery, that last phrase might come out,” No! No! No! (with spittle) “ehhh argggh minnneee, grrr fuck, shitshitshit…” Similar to picking up needles in haystacks, so is the daily frustration of many people dealing with MS.

in trying to find words for basic things, or trying to move body parts that no longer seem to listen to orders, emotions on “overkill”, probably unintended most of the time, it was a living hell. Even Internal organs too, had minds of their own, reaping havoc on daily lives. Silent screams unheard by others, but fully experienced within.

In Patches’ mind, she was not being mean or cruel. She lived in a fantasy world of still being that Big Cheese, giving her employees daily orders and running her castle, though it was only an apartment (one of several) IN a castle. But to her, she was a queen & those daily butt washing’s’ and vaginal hose washing’s’ mere acts of hygiene ordered upon by her to her servants. The obese gourmet chef that delivered plastic containers of home prepared BIO foods was also another chain of services in that which was normal for a queen, though he didn’t live at the castle.

Dennis was from Brittany, late forties, overweight, graying hair and he loved to talk about food- notable HIS food. Loved talking. Period. Not discussing really, but talking. Him ; not you. With Patches it was perfect, because by the time she organized a phrase or comment, it would be too late, Dennis would be on to another subject that he wanted to talk about. His jaw and mental processes seem to have no distinction. A hinged mechanism: ‘I have a thought – I have to speak it’ kind of deal. If he had a thought, it just came out followed by a flow of other thoughts and comments, sometimes peppered with loud, annoying laughter. The physical therapists, the nurses, the technicians (for electronic ramps and chairs), they too, were in Patches’ mind, subjects in her royal kingdom (or queendom in this case). Dennis was one of the longest employees – he didn’t have to be there at the castle but twice a week and only for a short period, while he delivered his “Creme Truite à la Noisette” or “Mousse à le Fevre” and of course, he yakked while he delivered. So, he was spared the agony of being instructed by Patches…They even had a friendship going.(*Too bad that Patches hadn’t realized that her body shape had begun to resemble that of Dennis’, thanks to his food designs which were too high in fats, sugars & creams…)

Unfortunately, Patches had miscalculated, through perhaps, no fault of her own who she could trust. She had had no one person who guided her, who cared about her. She had had no loyal subjects; they were paid employees and only there to do a job and to be paid afterwards; even Dennis.

Patches’ perceived cruelty and explosions of anger were not all intended and there had been no one to play the role of “buffer”, to ease the angry reactions of others with calm and logic. On top of that, she had unwittingly given power to those who hated her, in those moments of frailty, of fatigue… And now as her body lay in the morgue, no one yet had noticed that large amounts of money that had disappeared from her personal bank account. Only the killer knew about that.

And now he was to implement part 2 of his diabolical plan…and it involved the castle AND her  employees…

Diapers in The Castle by Matt Carlson

It smelled. Really bad too. Gelledge quickly opened the window as he climbed down the stairs to the first floor. Someone, or rather one of the Life Assistant replacements had once again NOT taken the used diapers down to the cave/ trash area. He reached under the stairwell and grabbed an aerosol can marked ‘BIO Air Scent Lavender’ and sprayed the offending black plastic bag which sat on the cat’s enclosed cat litter tray. Gelledge imagined correctly that Ninja, the calico cat probably didn’t care for that bag on her litter tray house anymore than he did, having to smell it. He knew that dogs had one hundred times the sense of smell more than humans, and so he wondered what the ratio was for cats.

It was one of those days to try and stay focused while hell was being raised at the Chateau  La Reine Blanche. Patches was always screaming, or refusing something or displaying her unhappiness, which was constant. It was her home, it was her disease too and she made everybody pay for it. That is to say, that her frustrations and anger were such that everything was an excuse for being mean. It made her feel better somehow.

The long line of Life Assistants: Algerian, African, Romanian, Bulgarian, as well as other 3rd world countries, succeeded one after the other. They were all incompetent of course, as none of them had any experience upon arriving at the castle with Patches They were cheap labor. They had no idea that hundreds had gone before them, all replaced or who had quit. They all hated the bitchy white woman in her wheel chair, though they did feel sorry for her sometimes. When their employer, a company called Planitnow hired them, it seemed exciting knowing that they would actually be working in a castle, in the center of Paris, near the Goblins. They told all their friends and families. But the bubble of fantasy popped fast enough as the rude, dictator of the apartment known as the ‘Galleries’ started telling them what to do on their first day. Of course, there was only one at a time and for one shift at a time too, usually for a few hours – but sometimes  for the entire day. Patches required full time help as she could only use her right hand and unfortunately, her vocal chords. So she had at least three different ‘slaves’ at her service. Mostly all paid by social security.

“No, not there, it goes on the left.” The tall, large, sweet spoken older woman with glasses and skin ‘black-as-night’  hesitated. Should she put the plate in the other cabinet – or just on the left in this one? Patches could not explain herself clearly about anything so following her orders was tough. One usually wanted to just do the task as quickly as possible and at one’s own volition, but Patches wouldn’t have it. “No, no, not there,” she continued in her pigeon sounding French. “It goes on the left, on the left, LEFT, LEFT!!!!Oh, fuck, fuck fuck…!” She now screamed. Her brain short circuited when she wanted to make complete sentences. Frustration leaked in like greasy car oil, dispersing itself in her cerebral pathways. The poor woman was so surprised she dropped the plate ; it crashed to the ground.

Now the real fun would begin as Patches would dictate every movement to the woman in order to clean it up:

” Take the broom and the dust pan – no the other one, it’s in the corner”, and… “don’t throw it in THAT trash, it’s the other one- under the table!” Then, “You”ll have to move that small table, then bend down – no, not like that, not there…! You have to separate the pieces from the rest..” Then, “Move me please…turn my chair so I can see better – you missed a piece…”….”I’m thirsty, wa… wa…water please!”…Thirty seconds later, “Toilet!” She would announce. “Take me to the toilet. Hurry, hurry, it’s an emergency! i can’t wait! Oh, shit, shit, SHIT!….” Anguished by the stress and the volume of the words, the assistant began rushing to get to Patches. But what was there to do? She was in a wheel chair! How was she going to get her onto the toilet? Precipitating, she bumped the wheel chair into everything, the wall, the table, a door…Patches began screaming once again, ‘Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck:”…Now Patches would begin to explain about the “People Lifter” called Tony for short. It was a strange metal device, automatic, that lifted a person up so that you could transfer them into another place, like toilet, bed, another chair and so on. But you had to belt her up, tighten it, make sure Patches feet were in a stable position and get her to hold onto the bar in front of her. Once up in a secure position thanks to Tony’s mechanical abilities, you had to wheel her over to the toilet, pull her pants down and do everything in reverse!….The long day had started. They had made it to the white throne too late – now pants, plastic covering and diapers had to be changed!

Being Patches assistant was as if you no longer had control of your own body (if you let her, that is), Patches wanted to control it (your body) for you. Her body was now useless, it peed and pooped, it consumed food… but it didn’t work properly anymore. The brain, the muscles, the nerves, the cells were degrading… Crazy with anger, she wanted to manipulate  your physical actions. It made people very mad and they simply flipped out; most of them having no idea of what her illness was… But then conversations were a two way street. Patches didn’t care about them, she only wanted what they could do for her. The assistants weren’t stupid either, they sensed the anger, the perverseness from the shriveled woman with a C formed body, in a wheelchair, her twig like arms from branches of a forgotten tree. They hung there static, waiting.

Gelledge had told her off immediately the first time when she had attempted to do dictate his body –  It’s why he no longer helped out, unless there was an emergency of some sort.

“That’s enough Patches. I am doing this – this is my body and my task. Stop telling me what to do – that’s enough. You want to do it? Then come over here and do it. If you can’t, be quiet and let me do it.  I will not tolerate being ordered around, so stop immediately.” The tone had been set. Patches knew that she would not be able to get away with anything with Gelledge.

One morning, no one came to get Patches up. She sent a text message to Gelledge asking him to help her. He went downstairs and into her bedroom. With a dry mouth and disheveled look, she got it out that she needed someone to get her up. Now Gelledge had witnessed her morning ritual more than once – knowing that never in a million years would he follow it and if he tried to, he would probably kill her in the process.

“Okay look Patches, Since you have no one this morning, I will get you up. BUT, hear this: I will do it my way and no other. I will not be rubbing your feet, getting you your meds, fixing an elaborate meal – you’ll have what I have – I’ll put you on the toilet, get you into some clean clothes too. That’s it;  take it or leave it.” Patches frantically began pushing on her telephone screen, a look of panic on her face. Gelledge giggled inside, he had her number. Still he felt sorry for her…

Solitude & Other Emotions in Paris by Matt Carlson

Fortunately, the sky has become overcast. One more day of hot, insisting sunshine and I would lose it for sure. I hadn’t moved to Paris, the city of lights & culture for annoying hot weather. Of course, many of my friends, especially in the south are ‘cloud-a-phobics’ or ‘fog-a-phobics’…the sun is their god and if it isn’t sunny, it isn’t a nice day with : “Il fait pas beau aujourd’hui” …well, excuse me, but fuck that! I love clouds, cool weather AND fog AND when the sun is constantly blinding my green eyes with it’s light, or melting my skin while trying to win a tennis match, let’s just say I can get pissed off, in spite of what people may think. Don’t poke the nice bear too often….

Add to the fact that I have to wear gawd damned sun glasses and a hat to protect my bald head pisses me off even more. Don’t I have enough crap to carry around with car keys, castle beepers (for the doors) plastic bags for my dogs and their shit (yes, here you pick it up!), money, my occasional MAN BAG:), a credit card to pay for the parking, a hanky in case my nose starts going haywire on me (thanks to indiscriminate pollen sessions by trees and car pollution)… And before going downstairs, make sure you’ve done your own ‘business’ because once out, well its’ the dogs’ turn to ‘go’ and running back upstairs with all those stupid security doors and an elevator (with jack russels in tow) – let’s just say, it’s complicated and “pisses me off”…. So, I am glad that today there are some clouds, makes me feel like I’m back in San Francisco – once upon a time, a home: before I fucked that up.

SO, this blog post is supposed to be about solitude and I see now that only anger is rattling my cage here in my half functioning brain. Well, I prefer anger over sadness and solitude (not to be confused with being alone – something i need every day). I did one of those personality tests before yesterday (even redid it once to make sure the result corresponded) and I got the same result twice! So, I guess it must be accurate with ‘their’ concept of personality “measurementing” lol – a continuous form seems appropriate somehow… I think it said I was a INTF? I’m not sure anymore…and that pisses me off too! Something about introverted, intuitive and ‘feelings’ oriented (woh, woh, woh feelings…) with a healthy slice of mentle analysis, everything was rather balanced (thanks to the gods).. Starting at 50 years of age, we need to do a computerized ‘update’ to our brain pathways cuz they get real messed up…too much bullshit memorized and classified….Have I gone off track here? Apparently, when you go into another room because you have decided to do something, and you arrive, having forgotten what it was you came in there for, well, going though that door clicks off some type of organization in your brain, and it’s normal! WTF? Well, just do stuff in one room, I guess, because you will continue getting up, going into the other room and forgetting why you went there. Accept it…well, unless you’re reading this and you’re like twelve or something…

I wanna bitch and moan about solitude, now. I hate it. AND I hate admitting to myself that I’m alone and feeling lonely. That is my pride, which has no place in fixing this particular problem. And I guess that personally,  my feelings of solitude are related to my anger. Anger about the recent break up and HOW it transpired. That my 10 year relationship with “O” (who turned on me), having been a real* as&=hole (to put it mildly)….really pisses me off.  I have not gotten over being used and the keys to my house being stolen to the glass door I hung, myself. To the door I recuperated and brought back to our ‘home’. A home which was ‘ours’, paid for by two people, now being kept at bay from me….And there/were/are other things too, important issues washed over with nastiness, lying, selfishness, pettiness….to sum it up, my being here in Paris, displaced, feeling this heavy solitude (with a touch of anger) is a direct result from what transpired between my ex and I…

So, “deal with it” – right – “get over it” – right…”turn the page” – of course….but maybe the most important thing I haven’t done is: allow myself to feel those true and deep emotions without judgement….This is most certainly the biggest key to moving on after an important break-up, whether it was six months, ten or twenty years. Allowing oneself to feel. Instead of pushing it away with, “He’s/she’s no worth it”, “I’m not going to bring myself down to his/her level” and so on. Those scripts are not going to help you heal your pain. The only way to heal is to first allow yourself to feel your loss, your tears, your anger, your frustrations….all and any of it that needs to come out, to be expressed. If you do not have the possibility to directly express those emotions to the person who ‘needs’ to hear it, then use your friends, your family, beat up the pillows on your bed, burn his/her pictures (maybe even make a voo-doo doll in their image..) whatever, be creative and get that pain out!

Once that is done, you can begin picking up the pieces of your new life….

Hit me up and leave a comment – I’m feeling lonely… ;((!

She Loved Her Coque by matt carlson

Patches loved her coque. She couldn’t get enough of it either. She loved lying next to it late at night and with her good hand, trace her fingertips gently along the side of it; though it was a strange request to her life assistants asking them to lie it down beside her. But she didn’t care anymore about things like that. It was her coque and she would have it nearby! She sighed, thinking about it, her breathing deep. Even the form was elegant. Eyes shined while looking at its’ beautiful shape, the way it curved just right, the wideness of it. Fantasies danced in her dreams.

She had had only three coques her entire life. The others two, well they hadn’t fit the way she would have liked. When sitting on them, it had hurt quite frankly, made her feel as if they had been made for someone else. She was so happy when this third one arrived. She had ordered it to specific measurements with help from doctors. Yes, doctors were very helpful when it came to ordering a good robust coque that fit perfectly. After all, they were architects of the body these days, weren’t they?

The thing was, she couldn’t sit on it all day long. There was a moment where even the best, the finest coque ever created, was just too much. But at other times, before it began to feel painful, she would be trying to have a conversation while secretly sitting there on her coque (it was unseen by most people), loving its sensation while talking about (as usual) nothing to someone. Nowadays most conversations were quite limited to;  the toilet, food, a spoon, being wiped, her medications, her physical therapy, telling her hired slaves what to do (they were her hired hands, literally)…Anyway, she would utter her fewer and fewer syllables all the while thinking about her coque, the way it held her into place. She did its biding, not the contrary!

Of course, all that was in her head. She knew that it was a fantasy only. Between her and her coque, well, it couldn’t be more than just a temporary meeting of two; a coming together of hard plastic and bending flesh. It had to end one day. Unfortunately, the day came too soon. One morning, after following her usual routine of getting up (which actually meant someone else getting her up) well when they helped her sit on her coque, this time it didn’t fit. No matter how she twisted and fettered, demanding to be pulled up further to the right, then further to the left – nothing worked. Then crying out “Pull me back! Pull me back!” But that hadn’t worked either. The coque hadn’t changed: it was still as hard, still as beautiful, with the curves in all the right places. It was she who had changed. Her flesh was different today; bones having stretched off on a private agenda.

“Give me a ‘C’!” Cried out Gelledge to Patches. It was better to laugh than cry, wasn’t it?

Her once-upon-a-time ‘I’ formed body was now the letter ‘C’.

“Here you go!” She responded with a smile while trying vainly to lift her right arm to add to the ever encroaching  ‘C’ form of her body. But inside, she knew she was going to miss her coque: the man made back forming shell meant to straighten her back.

Maybe the next coque would be better, she thought.

‘Paris Times Short Stories: ‘Repunzal and A Heat Wave in Paris by matt carlson

20150702_082137As he sat on the john, the artwork of the disembodied head hovered before Gelledge on the back of the bathroom door where it was pinned. It was from Patches who still went to art class on tuesdays. The image seemed to be alive somehow and Gelledge having had a past of mystic sensibilities tried to will the picture to communicate with him.

“Yea, I know what that picture means,” he thought aloud  and then considered Patches &  the feelings of dismembered from her own body that she certainly had, while Muscular Sclerosis took choices and abilities away; little by little each day. But he was not Patches: he could walk and run, still do everything he wanted. And yet, he wasn’t. Something was gnawing on his inner soul. Some of the eternal questions of life and what that all meant.

Having just returned from a long over due visit to see his family in the states, he was so very happy to have reunited with so many.  The coming back to Paris, though pleasing, left him with unsure footing. Once again. Twenty six years had passed since coming to Europe with Sergio, his lover at that time. They had lived in Paris and had finaly returned to live near Aix, buying a house there in the country. When Gelledge had learned about being HIV positive, the fairy tale (no pun intended ;)) collapsed.

Now years later, a similar tale, with yet another house in the same village (a strange coincidence) with O. and his madman antics, demanding to keep all they had shared for ten years. Gelledge now found himself on the parisien island known as Isle de France – and there wasn’t even an ocean anywhere nearby, only rivers threading here and there.

His small room on the top floor of the castle was pleasant enough, plus there was a landing leading to a large alcove. Lots of light and for parisiens anyway, a goldmine in housing. That is to say, it could have been if it hadn’t been for Patches’ health worries and the need to have everything ‘medicalized’. It was at times like a hospital – constant comings and goings during the day with life assistants (Patches was in a wheelchair), physical therapists, the traiteur for her meals, the maid, the administrative people; one fired after the next as no one could deal with Patches for long.

Yesterday as the unusual heat wave bared down upon the city, birds sat down on the sidewalks, a few not withstanding the high temperatures. The heat burned in Patches’ head along with the frequent glitches in her brain circuitry. She screamed at François, a tall balding 30ish man with a beard.

“Shit, shit, shit!” and then “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” She didn’t like this frenchman speaking down at her. She couldn’t get the words out quick enough and he strangled her with his. Choke, choke, choke, she felt light headed one moment and then the burning came. It felt like light bulbs spitting out sparks, then lay there dying at her dead feet. She could barely move any part of her body. Her body was forming into the capital letter of “C” so twisted was she. “Give me a “C!” Gelledge would shout out like a cheerleader. There was nothing else to do sometimes – just laugh. What else could one do? This wasn’t going anywhere else but down, right? Patches would always laugh. It was easy to make her do so.

Only Patches’ right hand saved her. She could still use it to straighten her glasses, even put them on and off, though not gracefully. And she could still feed herself too with a big soup spoon, play with her IPhone, watch tv on it, play card games….Little things that kept the monster of reality at bay while she slowly disapated into a non-moving C shaped shell.

Gelledge couldn’t get it. Patches had very little possibilies, but he had many. Why was he so stuck in his own life? What was keeping him from moving on? He thought of his little brother and his family. Being with them was like being home again. He loved his little brother deeply and now that he had met them, well it wasn’t easy leaving them. He wanted to part of their lives, but how could he do that? Return to Fresno? He had always pretty much hated that town and what it represented: blinded conservative & homophobic religious attitudes, rascism, the car culture in all its of its glory. He had seen how people lived in suburbia: arriving home in their big cars, their windows shut with air conditioning blasting, taking out their remote controls to open garage doors automatically… Then they would drive in, park and the doors would close. After that you saw no one. No one walked on the streets in Fresno. It had only been Gelledge, a few homeless, once a guy with his dog and he had seen two teenage girls actually cross the street to visit one of their friends houses….

People did congregate of course, but at the shopping malls, their work places, restaurants, sporting events and of course, at the churches. Gelledge pondered all of this. Here he was living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. How was he going to work things out?

He thought of that disembodied head again. Well, he certainly didn’t want that head of his coming off, he wanted to live his life, be with people that he loved, follow those inner intentions, create, share with others….be…..He took a deep breath, he had to go the toilet. He would use the upstairs one this time, then make some more coffee.

This day wasn’t over yet.