Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012

Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012
Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas at Luche Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, March 2012

Saturday, May 31, 2014

And Yet Another Tale Of A Relationship's Demise

Looking around the empty house, he once again told himself it was the sensible thing to do, given the circumstances. He knew that she would eventually stop hating him for it, or at least he hoped she would. Time heals all, right? He had repeated that to himself four or five times a day as he had gone about the business of ridding himself of his effects.

He held garage sales every weekend for months on end, selling for pennies on the dollar five rooms full of furnishings and whatnot - books, artwork, knickknacks - paraphernalia that at one time he felt compelled to purchase and now he regarded as just so much worthless dead weight. 

Every so often as he was emptying a shelf or clearing out a closet he would stumble across an item that would remind him of a moment, a time and place that had been special for them both. Occasionally he felt a tinge of sentiment, but more often he would look at the item and wonder if it had all just been a waste.

The relationship had begun auspiciously enough. They had met and there was a mutual attraction, and he thought she was smart, fun, sexy. She told him he was the first real man she had dated in a long while, and that he made her feel safe.

He recalled feeling though, that however great it felt to be together those first few months, there was always an undercurrent of apprehension, of caution. She had made a comment on one of their first dates that she wanted to keep everything casual, that she had rushed into relationships too quickly in the past and had made mistakes. He clearly recalled her playfully saying it would be nice if they could hold off getting too serious for "at least ten years or so."

That schedule wasn't to be, for it wasn't long before they had made the leap from casual dating to committed relationship, and it wasn't long after they had agreed to the serious, mutually exclusive status that the small disagreements became loud shouting matches that always resulted in three or four days of hostile silence between them.

She had moved in with him after she lost her job, about six months after they had met. It was just going to be temporary, until she got back on her feet and was stable financially. It had now been almost two years.

In that time her playful, confident persona had transformed into one of paranoid insecurity, and with that had come accusations of him not wanting to spend time with her, or worse. It was as if she had gone from being a fully-realized adult woman to an emotionally unstable teenage girl. 

She did, he had to admit, always find a way to apologize for her "lapses into immaturity," and she made what he considered valid points about some of his behaviors not being entirely mature either.

So he worked to stay rational when they argued, and he made every effort to minimize anything he brought to the table that she felt threatened by - he stared at the floor or ceiling whenever they went shopping or out to dinner in order to avoid being accused of looking at other women, and he stopped spending time with a few friends that she felt could not understand their "relationship dynamic."

Then one night, after yet another argument born of an unfounded accusation of infidelity, he decided enough was enough. He had finally arrived at the point where he could no longer fight - not with her, and not for her, and certainly not for the relationship.

When he told her she had to move out, she laughed at him. Two days later when she came home from work (the fourth job she'd had since they had met) and found all of her clothes and belongings packed up and stacked in the garage, she exploded in a rage that scared him - she made threats of calling the police and accusing him of assaulting her, of raping her. She threatened to kill his dogs, and she swore she would betray every secret he had ever told her to every friend and family member of his that she knew.

His sister and her husband came out of the back bedroom after she had screamed that she would get him fired. Seeing them standing quietly at the end of the hall stunned her. She started to cry, violently, and then collapsed on the floor, sobbing uncontrollably.

The three of them stared at her for a short while, then her father came out of the back bedroom as well, his face a mask of concerned distraught. He bent over and wrapped his arms around his daughter and told her it was time for them to leave. 

That had been three months ago. The day after her father had walked her out of his house he had returned with a U-Haul and loaded up all her belongings. He had not seen or heard from her since.

The sense of guilt he carried since that day had yet to subside. He knew he had done what had to be done, but still doubts crept in. He spent hours wondering if he had somehow failed to do enough, if maybe he hadn't tried hard enough to make the relationship work, if he had given up much too soon.

Now, today, he loaded up the last of the books that he hadn't sold at any of the garage sales into a large box and carried it out to the truck. He would make one last donation to the AmVets thrift shop and then get on his way. 

The house was empty, and he felt compelled to make a comparison to his life. The new owners would be taking possession in three days. His new life was waiting for him almost 1200 miles away. 

Sitting behind the wheel he looked up and saw the small note he had tucked under the sun visor. He reached up and read it yet again.

"Patience, tolerance, & forgiveness will not always fix a relationship. Stop trying to convince yourself you have to be strong to be in a relationship, just stop. Stop right now. There are some people who are just looking for conflict to make themselves feel alive, and they are not capable of being in a relationship. The fight they are having is not with you, it is with themselves. Stop wasting your life on them. Stop fighting for something that isn't there. Having someone in your life who is constantly tearing you down does not make you better. Stop being afraid of being alone. Being alone is much smarter than being in a relationship that you have to constantly fight for."

And then he drove away.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cheap & Maudlin Sentiment

Heavy gray clouds crushing the sky
Leaves torn from branches flit on by
Lightning flashes
Thunder crashes 
She is bound for distant pastures
The silence broken with a sigh

Kaleidoscope of dull color in a rain-swollen gutter 
Sudden frozen wind brings a shudder
Staring faces
Cold embraces
All day longing for the sun
And the time when none of this will matter

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Wounds That Never Completely Heal

It's sometimes hard to be comfortable in the here and now
No one around to show you how 
To go on
It's sometimes hard to be comfortable in the here and now
No one around to show you how 
To go on
It's sometimes hard to be comfortable in the here and now
No one around to show you how 
To go on

Sometimes it's hard when things just slip away
People are here one moment and gone the very next day
Time too slowly heals the wound
And those moments come when you recall
A great moment that was shared
With a long-since departed friend
A moment recalled for which you were unprepared
It almost leaves you again grieving
Until you can pull yourself together
Such a damn ugly feeling
Peeling back the bandage to reveal the scar
Like lighting up the Devil's cigar

It's sometimes hard to be comfortable in the here and now
No one around to show you how 
To go on
It's sometimes hard to be comfortable in the here and now
No one around to show you how 
To go on
It's sometimes hard to be comfortable in the here and now
No one around to show you how 
To go on

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Maybe We Should Be Taking Cover In The Basement...

Yep. That is a funnel cloud forming behind my house

Spinning clouds...isn't that interesting?

Hail...lots of hail

Friday, May 23, 2014

A Personal Chance Event

                                          This rose...this rose is freaking delicious!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sketching With A Ballpoint Pen

                                           Sketches, ballpoint pen on paper, 10" X 11"

Small Watercolor Of Lisa C.

                           Lisa C., watercolor on cold press paper, 8" X 10" May 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

One Thousand Anything

One thousand unforgettable days
                    One thousand regrettable nights
While you were making your play
                    The world was adjusting it's sights
One thousand irritating delays
                    One thousand priests delivering last rites
If you're playing a game of come what may
                    Be prepared for sorrows as well as delights 
One at a time
For one thousand mornings
Think of a way to make someone smile
Even if it's only you
One at a time 
For one thousand evenings
Think of a way to make someone laugh
Even if it's only you

One thousand affections you swear are real
                    One thousand punches to the stomach
Work like mad trying to land ever bigger deals
                    Only to see the value of the stock plummet
One thousand broken hearts waiting to heal
                    One thousand words stuck in your gullet
Sometimes it's all trials, tribulations and ordeals
                    Sometimes you fall when you reach the summit

One at a time
For one thousand mornings
Think of a way to make someone smile
Even if it's only you
One at a time 
For one thousand evenings
Think of a way to make someone laugh
Even if it's only you


Monday, May 19, 2014

Seven Questions To Avoid Asking On Dating Websites

1) Can you describe how it feels to be so blissfully ignorant all the time?

2) How long have you lived with this delusion and what makes you think it will last?

3) How would you describe your inability to see the forest for the trees?

4) What are some of your strategies to rid yourself of your more obnoxious character flaws?

5) What types of self-help books do you think may be able to help you tackle your problems?

6) How would you rate your lack of developed skills and/or abilities?

7) What are some of your less obvious shortcomings?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Two Sides To Every Sign

On one side of his sign it reads, "Spare Change For Weed"

On the other side of his sign it reads, "Need Weed And Munchies"

This is a man with a clearly defined agenda. And hopes - high hopes.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Tell 'Em About Creating Your Own Opportunities

You got it kid, you know what it's all about. A long time ago you figured out that fate was just a construct, that it was a fiction created by someone who didn't want to owe up to his or her responsibilities for the condition of his or her life. After all, blaming "circumstances," of birth, of parentage, of environment, etc., was a whole lot easier and less stressful than owing up to any failure of one's own.

Yeah, you came to the understanding early on that unless you were being forced by threats of violence or even death, you were not a slave to your environment. The conditions of your life were just the raw materials you had to work with, they were not restrictions, they were not a prison.

So now what?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Torturous Existence Of A Garrulous Ghost

Not content to sit in a corner and mutter to himself, he made the rounds of the old place, muttering to each and everyone he could see. 

Not a one of them could see him though, and all his muttering sounded for all the world like a slight breeze ruffling leaves.

Which made him feel ever more alone.

Suddenly Southbound In The Northbound Lanes

Okay, so you're driving northbound on the highway, behind the wheel of a full size pick-up truck towing a trailer full of building material. The speed limit on the particular stretch of highway you're traveling along is 65mph, and you abide by it. Then something happens - a wild animal darts in front of you causing you to instinctively swerve, or maybe something causes the load in the trailer to shift - perhaps a powerful gust of wind hits the trailer like a kite.

Whatever the cause, you lose control of the truck, along with the trailer, and somehow execute a complete 180-degree turn on the highway. This turn slams the truck and trailer into the guardrail that is designed to keep vehicles from flying off the highway and into a ravine. The guardrail holds, and your truck and the trailer come to an abrupt stop on the shoulder of the highway - except you are now facing traffic.

You are not seriously injured (though you are shaken up), and you have not hit any other vehicles. Your truck is of course banged up from hitting the guardrail, as is the trailer - in fact, the rear door of the trailer has popped open and the material you were hauling is now scattered behind it - but not on the highway, on the shoulder.

As I drive past the accident site I marvel at seeing your truck and the trailer pointed southbound in the northbound lanes, and I wonder how it was possible to get in that position without having hit any other vehicle or completely destroying your own truck and the trailer.

It is cleanest accident with the greatest potential to have been horrible that I have ever seen. Remarkable.

You, the driver, whoever you are, probably aren't feeling very lucky right now, but you are - you and every driver who was following you on that northbound stretch of highway.

All of you just won the lottery, pretty much.

Shared Obsession

There I was...naively thinking no one else in my neighborhood could possibly be suffering from the same affliction...and then this happens.

Someone else has a crush on Oprah.    

Monday, May 12, 2014

...And Yet Another Snowy Day In May

       Sunday's storm decided to stick around and dump another five to six inches on Lakewood

                                 Five to six inches according to the deck rail gauge

                                Looking east down the street at 7:30 Monday morning

                         Southbound I-25 near Englewood about 9:00 Monday morning

                          Snow covers the tables on the patio of the Deli next to the store

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Snowy Day In May

Nickel Taped To The Window

As I walked across a parking lot I spied a few small, odd shapes taped on the inside of the driver's side window of a small car. I investigated further and discovered that a nickle had been taped to the inside of the driver's side window using HVAC tape (This is actual duct tape, not the polyethylene coated Duct Tape that people use to tape together nearly everything except actual heating ducts, as actual duct tape is heat-resistant and common Duct Tape is not).

The nickle was not only taped to the inside of the driver's side window, the eyes of Thomas Jefferson on the nickle had been outlined with a fine tip black pen. This struck me as unusual.

Was this a nickle intended for use in a parking meter should four minutes of parking be necessary and the driver had no other change to use?

Was this a nickle intended to be handed to one of the many, many people who stand at intersections in and around Denver with signs proclaiming themselves to be victims of unfortunate circumstances and anything will help, God bless?

Was this a nickle that had been rolling around on the floor of the car in an annoying manner and the driver just said, "Okay, to hell with that roly-poly nickle. it's going up on the window"?

Was this a nickle intended to now be regarded as art, as it now was being presented out of it's usual context and therefore is open to a whole new world of interpretations? (That would not be unusual among Denver's pretentious academic-art environment).

Was this a nickle with some sort of secret meaning that only the driver and other members of a secret cabal understood, and when other driver's who were in the know passed each other on the street they could readily acknowledge one another?

Was this nickle a more universal symbol with a meaning understood by many, but one that I was just not hip to, like, "Driver carries no change...except this nickle"?

Or was it just a nickle...randomly taped to the inside of a car window?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Troglodytes & Parasites

She had her pick
Of any of the many
Burnt-out, dried-up
Unrepentant degenerates
In the place

He stroked his poolstick
His hands were steady, he was ready
Didn't even look up
Thinking lecherous
While keeping a straight face

The room was small, the smoke was thick
She smiled slyly he nodded wisely
Champagne in a coffee cup
With an unusual reverence
And a hint of disgrace

They both knew how to turn a trick
They'd do plenty for a twenty
Without spilling a drop from the loving cup
Struggling for significance
Also rans in the human race

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Be Loud And Happily Discordant

The thing is, I still have that shirt

Dance on, my friends
Dance on in a trance
Dance like the song will never end
And howl with laughter
Not in lament
Plunge into the depths
Of life
Refuse to be still
Refuse to be mute
Take a chance with your heart
Don't let the doubters tear you apart
Rise up from the rabble
Never, ever settle for less
Give it your all, give it your best
Dance to a song in your head
Dance to the song that moves you
Dance furious, to a frenzied beat
Taxi cab rhythms in the street
Plunge into the depths
Of life

The Impulse To Be Social Vs. The Desire To Be Alone

There are people who absolutely hate having to interact with other people. Whether it's due to asociality, shyness, misanthropy, social anxiety, or some other expression of introversion, those people all seem to have one thing in common.

A dread of people like me. 

In fact, I probably owe a lot of those types a boatload of apologies for interjecting myself into their lives, all uninvited like.

The thing is, I love people - all types of people. I love social gatherings where I can meet and talk with a large number of people, and I love one-on-one interactions. I love being able to engage with people who have something to teach me or who desire to learn from me. 

I am without compunction when it comes to initiating conversation or being the recipient of a conversational gambit.

The people who intrigue me the most are those that are hiding in corners at parties, or burying themselves in books on planes. With rare exception, those people all have interesting stories to tell and particularly interesting world views. Plus, all the reading they do usually means they are fairly well-educated, or at least well-informed.

Which, when my penchant for spending hours drawing, painting, writing or reading is taken into account, is somewhat puzzling, as just about every personality profile or psychological characterization of the artistic/creative type concludes that those traits are system archetypes of introverts.

But I'm hardly an introvert. Sure, there are times when I fall into the role of the introvert, when I want to be alone to draw/paint/read, etc., and there are even exceptions to the pursuit of an interaction with someone when I'm in a social setting, but that's usually when I'm either too tired or when the conversation turns decidedly antagonistic, either towards me or another person.

However, for the most part I enjoy being with people, and I absolutely thrive on being involved in most social gatherings - I state "most" because, well, politics really aren't my bag. I find politics and politicians dull as dirt, so I avoid political gatherings.

Again then, a boatload of apologies to those I have imposed upon when they would much rather have been left alone - but truth be told, I can't remember even one of those people not being fairly interesting once the conversation got rolling.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Bold & Unbalanced

There are artists who are capable of creating majestic oil paintings Alla Prima - that is, they are able to paint without use of an underpainting, by simply applying paint directly to canvas, in one thin (or thick) layer.

Which, to some, may seem like the single best (and most obvious) way to paint...but to me it's like a superpower I have not been blessed with. When I paint, I have to first apply a monochromatic underpainting that clearly shows how the darks and lights will work with or against each other to develop depth and dimension. 

Then, after the underpainting is dry, I have to patiently build up the color I want each object or area of the painting to be. It takes a lot of time and patience, and it can be more frustrating for me than a 5-hook bra is to a teenage male of conventional sexual orientation.

The odd thing is, I don't execute a lot of thumbnails of what I want to paint - I usually have a very clear idea of what I want to put on canvas. Composition comes naturally to me - though I usually have a ton of reference pictures of the subject matter on hand to help.

Which doesn't make sense on many levels. If I can imagine what it is I want to portray, shouldn't I be able to simply paint it directly onto the canvas? Maybe it's just a matter of further study or practice. Maybe I just need to get another hundred or thousand hours of studious development of technique down.

Maybe I need to take up sculpture.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Battle Of Meyers Fort

There was a time when were all Roman soldiers
Battling the barbarian hordes
At least we imagined ourselves so
Swords made of sticks 
Shields made of trashcan lids

Defending our impregnable fortresses
Made of cardboard and tree branches
Dry clods of dirt assailed the walls
As if launched from catapults

Falling Through Paper Fingers

Emptying all of the symbolic intentions
             Stripping away the subtext
             Dragon's teeth are just dragon's teeth
Bright yellow flowers
Not an armored knight
Bright yellow flowers
Ground cover
A beautiful sight
                  In the morning, in the first light of a new day
              Before the dew has been taken away
                         The creation of a constant builder
              Laboring tirelessly
              To enliven the world
Until a rival force
As constant, as tireless
Crushes them to the ground

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Vivid Visions of a Persitent Man

He perceived colors as if they were being illuminated by an internal light - but not as if they were aglow. The colors were simply bright from within. He painted with energy, with a distinguishable force. Even today, over 120 years since his passing, his paintings retain a vibrancy that no artist has since been able to duplicate. It was as if he sculpted on canvas with color. the branches of his trees appeared to climb the canvas, the wheat fields seemed to be undulating under the force of strong winds.

The tormented Dutchman captured emotion on canvas like no other, and like no other he has left a legacy that depicts the powerful grace and unparalleled beauty of the natural world.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Smiling Through The Torment

They lived in the nicest house in the neighborhood
Though it was far from the biggest or most expensive
They simply spent time and energy keeping it looking good
Made an ordinary house into something quite impressive 

Then they moved, and the people they sold the place to let it go. Bummer.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Burn It To The Ground

What comforted him at night was the sound of the train
Clang of the crossing's warning, the shrill whistle's sustain
He left the window open in spite of the winter cold
Enjoying the rhythms the locomotive created as it rolled
His imagination would carry him on trips along the rails
Far from the 8-lane freeways or even sparse hiking trails
Every morning he woke wishing he had been taken far away
Perhaps to Nova Scotia, or Ohio, or maybe Chesapeake Bay
Anywhere an adventure was is where he wanted to be
In a sun-baked desert or on the shore of a deep-blue sea
Sadly, every morning he awoke in his same old bed
Under the same old covers with the same old woman he wed
It was his lot in life to be blind to the treasure
Couldn't see he was surrounded by wealth beyond measure
Inexplicably, life can be like that
Lull you into believing you have as many lives as a cat
The truth is, we only get one go around (as far as we know)
It's your responsibility to do more than attend the show