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March 9th, 2022

It’s A Dog’s Life . . . After All

It’s strange to be in it. I mean, I knew it was possible. That it would probably happen someday. I just didn’t know when. Or how. Under what circumstances. Of all the place it could’ve happened I never would’ve guessed Omaha. But it’s as good a place as any. And there’s no better time than now.

Millie’s been staying with me for over a week now while I’ve been going through it. She’s been good for me. Keeps me in line. Makes sure I’m taking care of myself. That all my needs are met. Her’s too. We wake up around 7, her and I. We stretch then make the bed. Get dressed. Go for a walk or short run around the neighborhood. Mille does her business. I mind my own.

Then we head home and continue on with our day in the same vein. The momentum set in motion. Our hearts pumping. Blood working through the both of us. I say goodbye to her while rubbing her head or scratching her butt. She doesn’t protest though I can tell she’s not happy about it. Doesn’t look me in the eye. That sort of thing. I close the front door behind me and let her sit in it. There’s nothing more I can do.

I get to Lola’s around 8. Set up at one of the single tables along the black bench in front of the large windows that stare out at Dodge and the Vape shop across the street. I take off my jacket. Open my laptop. I go to the register. Say good morning to Jean or Skylar or Keelie or Jean-Paul. They know what I want. I give them the $2.74. They slide the coffee with oat milk across the counter. Then I get to work. I have to. Have been. For the last two months. Like I never have before. That’s what it takes, I guess. I don’t really know. I’ve only heard about it. Read about it. Seen those who’ve already been through it and come out clean on the other side.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been in this position, my pockets flipped inside-out. But it’s the first time for the right reason. And that makes all the difference. At least I think so.

I could easily take whatever I can get to move me along a little ways but sooner or later it eats away at me and I end up in the same place I was before.

Same place I am now. Hungry. I’ve done it again and again. It’s been a process, really. Each time working on my craft more and more. Playing with the word. Trying to get it down in different ways. New techniques. Styles. Whatever it takes. When I get back to my table I check my emails. Apply for this position or that. Accept my rejections. That’s the way it goes. Over and over again.

There should be a word to describe the mountain of failure we build our lives upon. Success is too vague. Too arbitrary. It leaves room for interpretation. The word needs to be worthy of all the effort and attempts it took to make it work.

If success got it right it would mean an outcome by which we measure our failures, it would contain a definition that has us feel like we are in fact trudging through the cantankerous tasks that it takes to reach the bittersweet relief of resolution.

It doesn’t. It only points us towards the achievement. A glittery accolade on the shelf.

When I’ve done all I can and find there’s no more use for the WiFi, when I’ve lost interest in the conversation next to me or can no longer stomach a third or fourth cup of coffee, I go home. Millie is there, waiting. I can hear her yapping from behind the door. She has undoubtably been staring out the window for hours, keeping a keen eye out for me the moment I return. When I open the door she is on me, her tail wagging. She barks and whines and whimpers, no longer alone in the Bungalow. She quivers with excitement. I say “Hi, Millie! Hi!” She barks some more then goes for her toy, a deflated monkey with ropes tethered to its body for a good tug or two. She tears at the thing. Growls. Whips it around.

“You’re an animal!” I tell her. “What a wild beast you are!”

She goes on violently whipping the thing about. I tease her. Egg her on. She loves it. Me too.

If you want to keep a strict routine the answer is simple. It may cost little bit of green for maintenance, but it does the trick…Get a dog. Their lives are far less complicated than our own. Their basic needs similar, if not the same. They do without all the stories we easily get caught up in. The beliefs we tell ourselves. Have been told. They live according to their nature. So you have to be sure to get one with a temperament and lifestyle that matches your own. This is important. Take Millie for example.

She’s a perfect model for the get-up-and-get-shit-done mentality.

There’s no beating around the bush with her. She just pisses on it. She’s up early. Needs plenty of exercise. Communicates clearly. Kind of. She growls to let me know when something is amiss, and she’ll stare and stare and stare until something is done about it. If she’s already eaten then it can only be one of four other things: poop, pee, play or treat. That’s it. Anything extra is like “success”.

In the afternoon we go for another walk. We take our time. Breathe easy. Saunter in the fading light.  Take new paths that weave us between Dodge and Underwood. We appreciate the different tastes in architecture, like the olive Victorian on Capitol towards 48th that looks like the Steinbeck house, or the brown and white Danish on the corner of Cass and 49th. Millie leaves her mark here and there. On bush or sign post. Letting the others know she’s around. That she exists. Sometimes she’ll let out a steamer like she’s taking a piss, lifting her leg against a tree or stone wall. It’s the oddest thing, but that’s her style. And as we move along Millie snoops around. Gets a whiff of the landscape. I collect my thoughts.

Become more aware of the idea that what I consume consumes me, giving a whole new meaning to the idiom you are what you eat.

Digesting the things I put in front of myself. I recently heard Jordan B. Peterson say something along the same lines, that if we were to watch ourselves close enough we would come to know what we actually believe, how we truly perceive the world and what that means about those we surround ourselves with, what are habits are. My dad always used to say what his dad always said to him, “Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are.” Which is only a piece of the truth. Not the whole thing. But true nonetheless.

We are what we consistently do. And I’ve been stuck in similar variations of the same pattern for a long time. How long I couldn’t say. As Millie and I walk along I can see the whole of my life playing a like movie reel. I watch myself. Take notes. Get clarity on how I can manifest something else. What I’m willing to do to get there. I told Kevin at the bindery I would do whatever it takes. Sell everything I have if I have to. The records. The books. My desk. The couch. Everything can go until there’s nothing left.

When we get home Millie wants a treat then to play. She wants to eat. Drink some water. Lay around curled in a ball of white fluff. She teaches me how to care for another being. Take care of myself. How to be a child again. How to play. Not take things too seriously. She teaches me patience and understanding. In a way she’s become my seeing-eye-dog with her white fur flopped over her eyes. She shows me the way.

And I’m doing the best that I can in this balancing act, acting accordingly by following her lead. Doing whatever it takes to become the man I want to be.

It’s no wonder Gusto loves her so much.



March 30th, 2022

Meditations During An Existential Emergency In A Midwest Cafe

At Lola’s. Again. Staring out at Dodge and the cars passing like metallic streams of green and grey and red, streams of blue white and black. They pass and disappear past the glass…


March 23rd, 2022

In And Out And Upside-Down It’s All A Mess No Matter What

I was not. And then I was. Birthed out of nothing. A thing of two become one bathed in milky cream from the womb of my mother. Eyes lolling in my head. The tongue a loosed agent like a blind serpent on the head of a gorgon. Wailing into the light…


March 16, 2022

Realistic Magicalism Is The Real Deal So Deal With It

What is realistic magicalism?

It’s reality at its finest. That’s what it is. It’s the beauty and mystery of a moment, of instances. Of existence. It’s the realization that we are living, breathing, creating realities…



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