Picture, if you will, a couple in a blue Toyota Prius from Wyoming, shoving Pringles potato chips into their faces
She’s driving and he’s wearing an Argyle sweater, looking like a millennial waifu with silver dollar sized eyes.
They’re both pointing at every object and building and person on Hollywood Boulevard, talking excitedly.

I haven’t been that excited since the one time I dropped ecstasy and wandered into the produce section at Jewel Osco.
Marveling at the lucious red apples
Stunned by how bright and beautiful the yellows of the bananas were.
How vivid the tangerines and lemons and loose leaf spinach looked.

Staring at the sprinklers with the wonder of a child
As the PA system began to play “Singing in the Rain”
Singing in the rain,
Singing in the rain!
My rapture unbroken by the cashier asking me to please leave.
Oh my gosh, she was pretty!

They both have that look about them right now
Cruising past the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Mesmerized out of their minds and probably without ecstasy.
But then again, it’s Hollywood Boulevard
And this is within the realm of possibility

He favors the sour cream and onion flavor.
And hers look like they might be barbecue.
I’m so happy for the both of them today.
Like the weeds and the dandelions, love always finds a way.

And then picture, if you will, a guy in a white sedan from California,
Cruising down Peterson Blvd.
Mesmerized out of his mind, and possibly without ecstasy.
But then again I have some history
And this is within the realm of possibility

This time my observer is sitting in the car with me.
I’m blasting Leela James
Singing along, tapping my fingers on the wheel.
My heart yearns for a passenger in the seat
To kick it and banter and then go our separate ways
Ever so much lighter for such an interaction

I realize that a woman next to me is staring at me
And she is smiling.
I’m a little shy realizing that this time I’m the one in the car
With the out of state plates, being observed
I'm a little self-conscious but I keep tapping and I keep singing.

I was so happy for the both of them that day
And this elderly woman is looking at me that way today.
Some people are intuitive and sense that you are looking their way.
From the perspective of another vehicle in the exact same position today.

Her observer is a little like my observer, namaste.
And then we went our separate ways
Ever so much lighter for such an interaction
Like the weeds and the dandelions, life always finds a way.

Posted at at March 29, 2019 on Friday, March 29, 2019 by |   | Filed under:

Rat City

I’ve always loved rat-related anecdotes.

I love how rats try to free one another from a trap.

I’ve heard something about the rat who would pull a lever to administer drugs over and over and over until it died.

And I went, “well, fuck, that’s kind of bleak.”

I didn’t know the other part of the story about Rat City, where they took the same rats and gave them a space that was 200 times larger than their previous cage.

They were given toys to play with and plenty of treats and food and other rats to socialize and places to nest and raise their young.

Only 5% or so of the rats continued to pull the lever after that.

Given the choice between regular water and drug laced water, most chose the regular water after that.

I was like “how have I never heard this?”

One of my classmates snorted and said “too expensive, no one wants to hear about this or come up with the money for it. It got buried and that’s all anyone ever heard about Rat City.”

I got to thinking the chatroom’s kind of like Rat City: Take a bunch of neurotic and isolated rats sitting at home and yanking on their dope levers and give them others to socialize with.. and a hunt game and some macros to play with, and bam. Some of them stopped yanking on the lever.

Some of them remain behind and continue to try to free the other rats from their traps.

It’s a far cry from addressing other psychosocial needs or getting people out of survival mode though.

I wish we had a version of Rat City that wasn’t wedded with NA kool-aid and abusive fucked up steppers.

Because I don’t think Rat City would have been so successful if you had introduced the aforementioned rat into a cage full of other rats that were bullies.

Posted at at March 28, 2019 on Thursday, March 28, 2019 by |   | Filed under: ,

Madonna is my Higher Power

11:12 PM Robin_Y when i was new
11:12 PM Robin_Y it irked the shit out of me
11:12 PM Robin_Y because i do not have an understanding of god
11:13 PM Robin_Y and what i do know of him
11:13 PM Robin_Y is not like other peoples version
11:13 PM Robin_Y mine was mean
11:13 PM Robin_Y and looked like a baseball bat
11:18 PM misterpickles ha
11:18 PM misterpickles i like that HP
11:18 PM misterpickles i chose madonna
11:19 PM misterpickles because she is ancient, angry, vengeful, and vindictive like the god i grew up with

Posted at at March 28, 2019 on by |   | Filed under:

Will the organism please step into my office?

I raised my hand and asked aren’t we supposed to use the word “client?”

I got a blank look from our instructor.

I gave an example: “The organism denies suicidal ideation.”

He laughed: “Will the organism please step into my office?”

Posted at at March 28, 2019 on by |   | Filed under:

Spring Cleaning

A rats nest of tangled wires for electronics long forgotten
I left a banana on my kitchen counter, it is now rotten.
Reminding me of the bananas of my youth
when I played a whore,
in Egypt with a tourniquet and some cotton.

The mail is yellow and faded and spilling out of the box
And I’m kicking myself for not changing the locks
It seems though my sister has pawned my guitar
For a baggie of shards or some sticky black tar.

A Rubbermaid tote full of “video head cleaner”
And floppy rubber dongs I used to jam in my hole
A faded photo of grandma, so long since I’ve seen her
May God rest her soul

About forty feet of chain for the sling
This and that and some other thing.
Is it time? It is time.
It is time to clean up the house for spring.

Posted at at March 25, 2019 on Monday, March 25, 2019 by |   | Filed under:

Mindfulness, Prayer, and Meditation. Orrrrrrr, Xanax and Wine

Something I learned: People who endure constant lifelong stress have super-developed amygdalas.

Like, super muscular.

We’re being told that the key with those individuals for coping with stress is mindfulness and meditation.

Except, not to just glibly suggest it.

It is a specialty unto itself.

Alright. Something steppers have right: Steering you towards prayer and meditation.

(Which everyone groans at.)

Something I know: Look up and focus on the area directly in the center of your forehead/pineal gland, or so-called third eye.

Hold your concentration there for awhile.

This causes me a little discomfort and I don’t really care for it but it works.

It disconnects the region where craving and racing thoughts come from.

Something from my peer group: “Xanax. Definitely Xanax.”

Something from my peer group: “Wine.”

We all giggled.

I said “You realize, I hope, that you can’t tell your clients that.”

I added “But okay, I will faithfully record wine and Xanax into the discussion notes.”

Posted at at March 21, 2019 on Thursday, March 21, 2019 by |   | Filed under:

Body Pillow

Posted at at March 18, 2019 on Monday, March 18, 2019 by |   | Filed under:


Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which have ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath. Matt. 25:28-29

Why is the one-talented man chosen as an illustration of these talent-burials? It is to show the responsibility of those who have least - That the Lord expects even of the least of his consecrated people to know of and to use the talents that he has in his possession, and that he will not hold guiltless even those who have the smallest ability to serve him and his brethren and his Truth, yet who neglect to use it. Z. 01-59.

Posted at at March 17, 2019 on Sunday, March 17, 2019 by |   | Filed under:

A Day 1 Activation might go something like this

I received permission to write about this. 

The story is better than this, but the only person whose whole process I am at liberty to put out there on this page is my own.


She came into the room with the name “oxygen waster.”

I shouldn’t have laughed at it.

Because she kind of meant business.

But I did laugh.

I saw other people do the same thing: 


She was confused: Why is that so god damned funny to everyone? 

Because we’ve all felt like that before.

She explained that she got it from a band.

Not everyone comes back.

But she came back.

And then she came back again.

It only took a couple of days before the chat robot offered another animal in the hunting game.

Somebody typed !axe

I don’t even know what the bot says anymore. Something like: “Whoop whoop! [your] hatchet swings right and left, [you] have massacred a [$animal]. This juggalo killer has smoked X animals.”

The new arrival has a question: “wait, which one of you is the juggalo?”

The near 40-year-old with a hatchet girl tattoo who wrote the website with the aforementioned juggalo Easter egg.



And when she said we made her cry and want to live,

I cried too.

Maybe other people leave this place with hope,

But I’m not usually one of them.

Posted at at March 16, 2019 on Saturday, March 16, 2019 by |   | Filed under:

Day 1 Activation

I had a dream we were going to build another website again for some reason.

And you were there,
And you were there,
And (you) were there.

Excitedly, we raced around town in a sedan from one member’s door to another to whisper the news and get them into the car.

I began to reload a Linux operating system on a system and I watched the dots flash across the screen ....................................

We hurried off to Ashlyn’s house.

She wasn’t home.

Well, we’d better not tell her now anyway,

She might not understand or support this.

(Okay, let’s go.)

There are already seven of us ready.

Isn’t that enough?

(Why yes, I reckon that it is.)

Is she on board?

(Uh-huh. She’s using a new nickname and pretending she’s new.)

Is he on board?

(Uh-huh. Him too.)

What about her?

(No. She’s already on another site.)

What’s her excuse? I’m on about five of them that I cycle through all day long.

Things were going so well, I turned to one of them and said “You’ve never been here to see a day one activation, have you?”

She got really quiet.

I went back upstairs to resume my work.

Two of the others came upstairs looking for me and they seemed quite alarmed.

(“Day one activation.”)

(Why did he say that?)

(How does he know what that is?)

“You need to go to the hospital right now.”


“Our movements have torn a hole through you.”


“Go downstairs. Right Now. We’re not kidding, we called an ambulance and they’re on the way. You have to go.”

(I was confused but I agreed.)

I got to the bottom of the stairs and saw the flashing lights outside of the front door.

(I opened the door.)

“Is this him?”

(Hm, I don’t feel so good. I held on to my stomach.)

I noticed the trail of blood and I blacked out.

Posted at at March 16, 2019 on by |   | Filed under:

Rain or Shine

One of my favorite gigs was when they built the Vikings new stadium and I was blasting Evidence - Rain or Shine on one of the club levels. IIRC, I was trying to nail down an audio problem or HDMI signal degradation when some kids burst through the door.

I sheepishly turned the audio levels down. Grunts like me weren't supposed to be seen or heard in some stadiums when the doors were open for spectators, but this was Minnesota after all: They all but tackle hug you at the door up there.

One of the kids grinned and thumbed up and told me to turn it back up. I was happy to oblige:

It's funny how strength comes in different forms
Some embrace they faith, others weather storms
Others tell themself that the pain moves on
I saw the clouds move in and when it did, they poured
I push away the pain, it's the sun and the rain 
Rain or shine, I got my umbrella

Posted at at March 16, 2019 on by |   | Filed under:

The Two-Headed Calf

The Two-Headed Calf, Laura Gilpin

Posted at at March 14, 2019 on Thursday, March 14, 2019 by |   | Filed under:


"I always knew worry was a fraud, because it would go away so quickly with just a laugh."

Posted at at March 11, 2019 on Monday, March 11, 2019 by |   | Filed under:

Squeak, Squeak, Squeak went the sneakers! Clang, Clang, Clang went the bell!

I started running through this very door at the Milwaukee County orphanage named after Aemelian.

Back then the double doors were wooden and green, with big brass Corbin bars you’d push on to open them.

Somewhere about two stories above, a silver bell with the word “Simplex” printed on it would ring and clatter furiously as your Velcro sneakers squeaked down the stairs.

I preferred running away when Robert was on duty. The only thing Robert could ever catch me doing was lying, such as when I’d deny being a homosexual to the other boys. 

I had a girlfriend and she was Black as HELL and her name was, um, Aisha!

Robert had started laughing and he asked me what color her eyes were.

I panicked and blurted out “blue!”

“Tell me how you kick your game to Aisha. What do you say to her when you call her up — like hi Aisha, do you want to come over and play? What do you say to Aisha?”

He had me so bad right front of everyone.

Twelve year old me bit my lip, and said very calmly, “Hey Aisha. Let’s get together and fuck sometime!”

That fat bastard dropped his flashlight and fell over on the floor crying and wheezing.

I never heard the end of it from the older Black men after that.

What’s up! You talk to AISHA lately? Gonna get together and fuuuuuck sometime?

I lived for that kind of shit.

Paradise awaited you just outside at the intersection of 89th & Capitol. There was a big and beautiful, if not somewhat foreign world I was a little too impatient to get out there and see for myself at that age. 

It was strange out there and it would always remain so.

My freedom was always short-lived and it would always remain so.

If it was cold outside I’d sleep in a little red shed behind the Open Pantry at 27th and Capitol, shivering and huddled up against the compressors blowing hot air into the shed from the beverage coolers inside the store.

I’d ask strangers for bus fare and steal things from the mall. 

Malls were heated, nobody asked questions.

I didn’t know about the rocks on the shore of Lake Michigan yet or it’s a sure bet I would have been found there every single time.

I remember being stoned at one of my first NA meetings when they read Step 10 out loud and got to that part about “making amends to the mall.

I sat there in my chair thinking “Hahaha! Never happening! They tore the mall down!!!!”

I befriended a boy around my own age named Drew, and I don’t know where his family was in all of this but he always had some family to spend the night with. Random strangers taking in a 12 year old with no questions asked. So many people coming and going.  I'm not saying that I know shit about the game or about invisible lives and invisible suffering but I've seen signs of it.

Drew liked me, he’d do funny things like whipping his dick out and waving it like a puppet and singing along to Mary J Blige’s “Sweet Thing.” 

Running away never really worked. You’d get hungry or you’d run out of money or something.

Adulthood turned out to be something along those same lines.

Except now that I'm all grown up, I don't have St Aemelian's to come crawling back to.

Off I’d go, back to 8901 W. Capitol.

Until the next time I eyeballed that door and my heart started pounding again as I jonesed for one more push of that beautiful brass bar.

One more clang of that silver Simplex bell.

One more squeak of my sneakers scuffing against that concrete.

One more clack as the doors at the bottom burst open.

One more breath of freshly cut grass in someone’s yard in Wauwatosa.

Never gonna catch me, I’m the Ginger Bread Man.

We'll do it all over again until the Ginger Bread Man is tired and dirty and hungry again.

Posted at at March 09, 2019 on Saturday, March 9, 2019 by |   | Filed under:

St. Aemelian

Jerome Aemelian was born in Venice, the son of Angelo Emiliani (popularly called Miani) and Eleonore Mauroceni. 

His father died when he was a teenager and Gerolamo ran away at the age of 15 to join the army. 

In 1508, he participated in the defense of Castelnuovo against the League of Cambray (this was two years before Pope Julius II joined the Venetians). 

He was appointed governor of a fortress in the mountains of Treviso, and while defending his post he was taken prisoner. 

He had not cared about God but he attributed his escape to the intercession of the Mother of God; and he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Treviso, in fulfillment of a vow, and left his chains as an offering.

He was then appointed podestà (Venetian magistrate) of Castelnuovo but after a short time returned to Venice to supervise the education of his nephews. 

All his spare time was devoted to the study of theology and to works of charity. In the year of plague and famine (1528), he seemed to be everywhere and showed his zeal, especially for the orphans, whose number had so greatly increased. 

Jerome began caring for the sick and feeding the hungry at his own expense. He rented a house for them near the church of St. Rose and, with the assistance of some pious laymen, ministered to their needs. 

To his charge was also committed the hospital for incurables, founded by St. Cajetan. 

In 1531 he went to Verona and induced the citizens to build a hospital; in Brescia, Bergamo, Milan and other places in northern Italy, he erected orphanages for boys and for girls. 

At Bergamo, he also founded a hostel for repentant prostitutes.


Posted at at March 09, 2019 on by |   | Filed under: