• roofers •

A couple of days ago, a crew of Spanish speaking ‘roofers’ replaced the roof on the property next to mine. These men were three stories up, in the heat of the day, from sunup to sundown. They did the entire job in a day and a half, including removal of the old roof. They did a very good job, and the new roof looks super.

At the end of day one, as they were packing up, I ventured to talk to one of the men. My Spanish is rudimentary, but we got along well. I didn’t ask where he was from, but he volunteered that they were living in Houston. He was impressed that I had attempted to communicate in the language he knew best. He asked about it, how it was that I could speak Spanish, and I told him, “Soy de Tejas.” He wanted to know, which part. I said, “Corpus Christi.”

Also, he had some English, and his manner was gentle. So I spoke in Spanish and he, mostly in English. It was fun, and we spoke openly about the current, shameful, state of affairs in this country. I was glad to disabuse him (and his mates, those who could hear) of the notion that their presence is unwelcome, and assured him that a majority of ‘Americans’ consider Trump to be hateful, crazy, bad, and a terrible President, and to assure him that not all people in the United States hold the same views as Donald Trump and his coterie of yes men. He seemed relieved to hear it: still, this was news to him.

I won’t bother you further with the details, but we parted company as men with a common view, that skilled workers are needed everywhere, and should be paid according to their skill, professionalism and productivity.

We parted with a handshake and a smile.

As I was walking back to my front door, in his language, he wished me a good evening. I returned the gesture, with a wave to his compatriots. One of them, a young man who had been listening to us from a short distance away, waved back: a greater compliment than I could have imagined. It felt good.

We must all do what we can to limit the damage being done to the people of the world by the Trump administration. Reach out in any way you can. Be kind to strangers. It’s not much to ask, and may do more good than we can possibly imagine.

~ Tim Burchfield

7/23/18

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• paradigm shift •

We gotta stop looking ‘up’ for wisdom, answers, or solutions. We need to make a mental adjustment, about the nature of our world: a ‘paradigm shift’, if you will. To adjust one thing, in your head, can do incalculable good, and that is this: it is, and always has been, a ‘bottom-up’ world. This, ‘top down’, view, is a betrayer, a misleader, and a miscalculation of epic proportions. Look at the state of the world, if you need examples. If you want something fixed, get busy. Take responsibility for the outcome. You are the answer. Cooperation works best, if it begins there.

~ Tim Burchfield

7/25/18

• in remembrance •

I just read that Paul Pines has died. Poet, novelist, Jazz and movie enthusiast, professor, husband, father, counselor: a man who had such a lasting and positive influence on me. I am sad at this news, so very, but I smile at the remembrance of him.

I have been reviewing, in my mind, many of our captivating and inspiring conversations we had over the several years he counseled me with wit, and humor, sage advice, and creative encouragement. Always with the genuine greeting, always with the infectious smile, Paul Pines was a kind man. And a one of a kind, most definitely. So informed on a dizzying number of subjects, and so damned funny, when he wanted to be. A generous man. He was extraordinary.

One of the things Paul taught me, seriously, was how to cherish your craft, and the importance of nurturing your art, and to, “Care for it, like you would your very child. Raise it up right, make a space for it. Be dedicated. Defend and honor it. Work it. Yes, and love it, too.”

And this has made all the difference in me, as human being, as an artist and as a parent. Too, importantly, he taught me it’s okay to love myself, similarly. His influence affected a great change in me. I am grateful, for this, even to today. I guess it’s safe to say, I always will be.

So long, Paul. I was lucky to know you. I will carry you with me. I shall cherish our time.

~ Tim Burchfield

7/1/18

• speaking of supreme court noms •

Speaking of Supreme Court nominations, I read once that former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once famously said that he tended to be tolerant of what he saw as ill-founded ideas of every sort because, as he put it, “People are entitled to their ridiculous notions.”

I disagree. By giving ground to this premise, or by giving it any credence at all, we are giving away the whole socio-political show, which goes some way in explaining how we find ourselves in the precarious situation we are in now, not just in this nation, which we hold so dear, friends, but the whole world over. This false claim has done more damage than any one thing I can think of, is dug in like a tick, and like any disease or thoroughly ensconced abnormal condition this endemic, it has got to go. We can do ourselves a big favor by eschewing it altogether: give it the bum’s rush, right out to the curb, where the rest of the trash should go. (In the proper container of course, marked ‘hazardous material’.)

I think we may do ourselves a whole lot of good by doing one simple thing: stop saying, “You are entitled to your opinion, that’s your right.” Because it’s not true. Just that, friends. And see where it takes you.

~ Tim Burchfield

6/30/18

• flea bottom est •

“Am I the only one

who thinks ‘phlebotomist’

sounds like the funniest

Latin slogan, ever,”

I ventured, aloud,

to the very competent woman

standing before me,

as she deftly drew

several vials of blood

from my arm,

with nary a hematoma,

and entirely pain free.

Shaking her head,

she gave me

the saddest look ever, and said,

“Probably.”

~Tim Burchfield

6/29/18

• i pray so •

The last thing I said to my daughter before she left home was, “Stay soft. It’s one of your best features: it looks good on you. I’ve lived this long without building walls, and I have never regretted it. You’ve got such a beautiful spirit. I am so proud of who you are. Keep being yourself. Don’t let life make you hard.”

I think she got what I was trying to say. Life can do that to us.

This morning, when I was in pre-op, when he asked about the band-aid on my forehead, I stupidly lied, and told the interviewing anesthesiologist I had “banged it’, not badly, but just enough to be embarrassed about.” Wrongly, it seemed the right thing, at the time.

Then, after my arthroscopic procedure, in post-op, under the influence of what remained of general anesthesia, to the RNs, who were easing me back to reality, like a drugged up bone-head, I revealed why I had had that band-aid on, when they asked about it, and if I felt dizzy or nauseous, that I had “…dug out the mother of all blackheads, and that, embarrassingly, had made rather a mess of it.”

I could see that the nurses were professionally pissed, for changing my story, but they didn’t let on, but for a knowing glance between them. After all, when lives are at stake. Bonehead!

What I didn’t say, was the second part, as to what had had me in a torrent, the other day, as to what was tearing me apart, that, “in a fit of pique, and rage, over incarcerated babies, I had done this thing to myself,” (but that I didn’t want everybody to see me crying over spilt tears, pointless suffering, and needless want.) Avoidance seemed the best avenue. Then, too, and again, because I didn’t want to bust out crying, again. Damn. Grown man that I am. (But, damn, if that general anesthesia isn’t so like a “truth” drug. I just blurted it out, the part that I did. Bonehead.)

I hate to lie, but I worried, I guess, that they might have seen what I did as self harm, and maybe, to some extent, it was; but I feel so damned helpless, to help anything or anyone, these days. Especially those I would save, if I but could. But I can’t.

More powerful men than me have taken hold. The foxes are in charge of the henhouse. The world is getting ass backwards from everything I was taught. Plus, I did dig out that festering slug, which no longer has a safe harbor, in me. Would that I could dig out the tick that is really bugging me. The one in the White House. But history, surely, has to play out its part. I am almost entirely sure it will, thank Bob.

In normal life, if I have to hear, “Don’t be so sensitive,” one more time, I may go mad. I have no wish to change, at this late date, and doubt if I could, if I wanted to, which I don’t. Stay soft? I wonder, did I give my daughter good advice? I can’t be sure, with any certainty, but I think so. Oh, yes, too, my love, I pray, so.

~ Tim Burchfield

6/29/18

• the great thing about a.d.d. •

The great thing about having ADD

(I don’t know if you can ‘relate’),

is that it makes it so easy

to ‘free associate’.

In fact,

we who fly from interest to interest,

may enjoy just as much,

a ‘nothing day’,

as one that delivers

a compelling quest.

It’s something like a ‘reverie’,

with just a smidge

of ‘free floating anxiety’.

Some people like to put it in long pants

and call it ‘creativity’,

but I just call it

‘thinking like a tree’,

as we have no particular agenda,

at present, and rarely do,

except, perhaps, to simply ‘be’.

At such times

I can be

just as content to be led

by the interest of someone else,

as one does, say,

when participating

in a meandering conversation

with a small child,

about ‘thumb theory’.

(You’ll be surprised to find out

why we have them, thumbs,

these appendages, in opposition,

and you may learn something

you could never have

in a million years

come up with on your own.

Alright, I’ll spill the beans:

It’s to do with “jelly-tasting,”

when you’ve poked it through your p.b.&j,

and for “pointing behind you,”

according to Sam Wainwright,

age 3.)

Well, I’m off.

Off for a wander,

or, as they say ‘down under’,

a bit of a ‘walkabout’.

(I can already feel the freshly scented post-rainstorm air, breezing through my naturally tangled hair.)

Let’s see where it takes me.

~ Tim Burchfield

6/24/18