Always Forward

Time keeps moving forward,
Always forward, measuring change.
Moving energy and matter through space.
Artificially divided into intervals,
We call by different names.
Seasons and seconds.
Hours and eras.
We order our linear lives in this way.
For we too are matter and energy,
Constantly being moved forward by time.
Our form is sentient, observant,
Aware that it’s being moved.
Fearing the moment when awareness ends.
Naming that moment, death.
Matter is neither created, nor destroyed.
So we won’t be literally be gone,
When we’re dead.
We’ll no longer be in the same sentient form,
But we’ll still be here.
Our matter, our energy,
Still being pulled along,
Always forward, by time.

Monsters and Machines

It’s a curious thing.
What makes a man begin to hate everyone,
And everything?
Is it an insurmountable sadness,
That drives him to madness,
That makes him not a man,
But a monster filled with rage?
Or rather a machine,
With no empathy or anything,
That makes one a human being.
Was he really a monster?
Was he really a machine?
Did he really hate those people?
How could he go through it?
Was it God that made him do it?
We can really only speculate.
What filled him with so much hate.
So much hatred.
So much death.
So many people willing,
To be the monsters and machines,
To do the hurting and the killing.

The Sunshine Fisherman

I’ve got a way with words,

They say.

But words,

Are merely platitudes,

They communicate,

But can’t convey,

My feelings,

And my gratitude.

But I will try,

To say goodbye,

With these few words.

This lullaby.

You were the summer time,

To me.

Sand and sea and fun.

You were the sunshine,

Sharing all your love,

And all your warmth,

With everyone.

The one last time I saw,

Your face.

Looked in your eyes so blue.

You looked at me,

And knew my face,

You told me,

I was beautiful.

So goodbye, Grandpa,

Goodbye you sweet,

And lovely man,


It’s time to rest.

To cast your line,

Into that lake,

Up in the sky.

Replacement Heart

For your own heart,
Was fragile.
Too fragile from the start.
You needed a replacement,
So you got a brand new heart.
One just like you,
Both young and strong,
Full of music, joy, and art.
But then this strong,
Replacement part.
It became weak,
And fell apart.
And now there’s no,
For your replacement heart.

Dedicated to my friend and former colleague Jonas Sjödin, who passed away last night from a cardiac arrest. He was 33 years old.

The Beautiful Words

I want to sing a song.
A beautiful song.
A sad song.
A fitting song.
Something like “Angel,”
By Sarah MacLaclan.

For the sweet. Innocent. Dead.
Norwegian children.

Could have grown up,
To be geniuses.
Troubled geniuses,
Like Amy Winehouse.
We’ll never know now.
All that potential.

All that talent.
All Gone.

I want to sing,
A song for them.
But the words,
The beautiful words.
Will only come out,
As tears.

Maybe it’s better this way, Amy.
You know that I’m no good.

Suicide…but is it painless?

Perhaps I should be called Macbeth as tragedy seems to want to surround me, ok that is a little dramatic but twice now I have physically been close to someone who has attempted suicide…one a failed attempt jumping from a third storey building and sadly yesterday’s not so happy ending of a woman who jumped in front of a train.

This isn’t a subject people like to talk about because then they would have to decide which side of the fence they are going to sit on, should they feel sympathy or anger towards a person who has committed suicide? Suicide is not easy to understand unless you have been in that downward spiral where you believe there is only one way to take you away from all your emotional pain. That of course can include the pain of loneliness and lack of care and attention they receive.

Cutting wrists is visually dramatic, often to impress friends and family with haunting images, that are sometimes meant to punish them for not helping the person in cause when they needed you most.

Public suicides however, have a larger target audience, so what are they trying to tell us? Do they want to become remarked, to stand out, due to a need for acknowledgment, with this; they blame the whole society for their problems, and their death. Furthermore, they delude themselves, that a suicide in public will be long remembered after their death. Just like any normal person wants to live longer, an abnormal person with suicidal tendencies is satisfied with a longer existence through the tragic memory of others. You and I might consider this absurd, but for their flawed thought process, during an intense emotional state, this seems reasonable.

Yesterday’s incident is still very raw in my mind but I haven’t forgotten the other chaps attempt, I think of it often…so the fact I still remember, after all that time, proves the chap still exists in my memory. That is the exact reason he attempted to kill himself in front of me and many others. I am sure and this may sound odd, but I believe that is what feeds public suicides.

Suicides are not pleasant, nor for the victim, their family or the audience. But who should I feel sorry for, the woman who committed suicide or the driver and the rest of us travelers who had to be party to this one persons melt down? My heart does go out to her family but my head tells me I should feel more sympathy for the living…the ones who will have that image burned into their brain for the rest of their days.

And I hope Ken doesn’t mind me posting the following poem he wrote a while back, which can be found on his website

This is how death should be treated.

by Ken Donner on September 28, 2009

When Death comes banging at my door,
Let it fight to get inside,
I’ll not bow to what’s in store,
I’ll not turn or run or hide,
When Death comes round then let it be,
Because it’s angry, seething mad,
Filled with rage and jealousy,
Envious of the life I’ve had!

…chapter one

Alas, it was bound to rear its ugly head at some point.  Why not write when provoked? And why not dump as many clichés as humanly possible into the mix while I’m at it.

On 20 December 2010 at 17.26 my world metaphorically collapsed.  With the preview of one email, it was as if the roof fell upon me, 9 million tons of cement following.  I clearly remember processing the following from my pop up email alert:  Tom.  Daughter.  Kate. Dead.

I cannot cogently describe the next few hours of my life.  There was a phone call placed to Kate’s parents.  I was standing on the front stoop, in the cold, shitty wintry weather, smoking a cigarette.  I remember catching a glimpse of my reflection in the storm door.  I was smiling but it was that forced smile that I make whenever I’m on the phone.  I remember pulling on my hair.  I remember hearing the words and it reminded me of my first day in Sweden – a whole lot of gibberish that I would never understand.  I remember answering questions.  Asking questions.  I remember saying good bye.

I think I sent Magnus the email from Kate’s parents but without going back and looking, I don’t know when.

Then, somehow, I ended up in our dining room, near the door to the kitchen.  There were no lights on as the sun had set not too long before.  I stood in the dark shaking and gasping for air.  I remember Dock and Milkface coming home from work and school respectively.  Barely above a whisper, I said the unthinkable “Kate is dead.”  I remember being led to the living room and put on the sofa only to spring back up and run outside because I didn’t want my child to see me upset.  This time it was the back porch, a cigarette and my red pea coat.

For the life of me, I wish I remembered which outfit I was wearing.  By Jewish law, you’re supposed to rend your clothes.  Not by any stretch am I a good Jew or an observant Jew but I like the tradition of destroying the outfit you were wearing when the world as you knew it ended.  It’s a simple, cathartic rite.  To this day I eye the laundry pile, suspiciously, wondering which shirt was on my back. Kate would have said “the shirt is laughing at you.”

December 20th was a Monday.  I have little recall of how I got through the week.  Sparky, Monica and DeeDee brought food and booze.  I reached out to dear friends for some direly needed support.  I managed to keep focused on work and preparations for Christmas.  The first week was surprisingly easy.  I suppose that is the blessing of shock.

Rather than make our half-assed version of the julbord, I had Dock pick up a ham and I threw some crab cakes in the oven.  As I was puttering around the kitchen, I started making more and more food.  I par-boiled asparagus and let them bathe in a light olive oil glaze with lemon juice.  I think I even made bread.  I may have made boiled potatoes.  Daddy came and left.  Presents were opened.  I sat on the sofa and stared.

I tried keeping my shit together at work the following week.  Sadly, it all became too much and I ended up taking time off.  I wasn’t sleeping.  I was crying at the drop of the hat and if I could have figured out a way to get out of my own skin without making a bloody mess, I would have.

The only thing in my favor was self-medication.  As my back was giving me a world of trouble, I had various forms of painkillers at my disposal.  One can find a good amount of peace in an opiate induced fog.  Unfortunately, the calm was temporary.  At some point, notifications would be made and the floodgate of questions would open.  After all, it’s not every day that an otherwise healthy and happy 39 year old woman ends up dead.  Even if most deaths come without warning, this one was sure to jar.  And jar it did.

A death around Christmas is unusually cruel and not for the obvious reason.  A death around Christmas causes all of us to look around the room and wonder who may not be in their rightful place next year.  A death around Christmas provokes feeling of survivor’s remorse.  A death around Christmas makes you feel like absolute hell knowing that someone’s parents are not opening presents with their children or toasting a good meal with everyone present and account for.

From time to time, I’m going to chronicle my journey.  My journey with Kate who is closer to me than any other creature on the planet.  My journey of losing her and my attempts to build a life without someone who played such a critical role in my existence. While certainly therapeutic for me, I hope people will be interested in the tale of two girls growing into women and a very special friendship/sister hood.  These installments will may not always be life-affirming.  They’re certainly not novel.  But, for me, they are necessary.