Bowie’s Buddha Waffle

I was lying in my bed looking at the white ceiling and listening to the sounds coming from the box fans we have in our room. Neither myself nor my wife can sleep without the sound of the fans. It’s been like that for a very, very long time. Dead silence is the devil. I looked over at her asleep on her side. Her hair falling so perfectly across her back. I couldn’t believe she was my wife, in my life, but there she was. Still there beside me becoming more precious to my existence every single day…

Anyways, I had just come out of a crazy dream, and like I said, I was staring at the ceiling and thinking about a documentary I watched the night before on the television. It was a documentary about the last five years of David Bowie’s life, released in 2017. The name of it being David Bowie: The Last Five Years. Well, there you go.

Now, I’ve never been an overly huge David Bowie fan or even cared for some of his music so I’m not even sure why I queued the show up in my line of saves on HBO Max. I guess I was intrigued because it was about the last years of his life which may not be something everyone always considers when an artist such as himself has such a long and storied career. People tend to look back at the energetic youthful years, the bubbling to the top years — not the settling down into yourself years. Maybe I wanted to get a glimpse of what aging had been like for him and his artistic process. Maybe I wanted to watch it in an attempt to prepare me and teach me how to still be cool when you’re in your mid-60s. (Not there yet, by the way). And despite a cancer battle, Bowie was still actively creative to the end. I hope I can be actively creative to the end. I don’t want to wastefully linger.

One of the things that kind of stood out for me in the documentary was a song from 2013 called Valentine’s Day — a dark message about mass murder and the need for gun control. I found it to be emotional and moving and sadly appropriate nearly ten years later… Considering what happened at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas in May, and continues to happen in a country that values its guns more than its children, its very own future. It can be a harsh world and Bowie knew it, felt it, and often conveyed it through his music. You can watch the video HERE.

I have a Bowie greatest hits CD (a round, shiny disc about the size of a sandwich that contains digital pieces of music that you slide into a slot or plop onto a tray to initiate playback) somewhere, but after watching the documentary last night, I am really wanting to buy one of his later in life releases — The Next Day from 2013 or Blackstar, released three years later on his birthday, two days before he died on January 10th, 2016. Both albums were heavily featured in the documentary, and for me, contained some intriguing music that I’d like to delve deeper into.

Like I said, I was never a huge Bowie fan or an expert on his career, but the documentary reminded me that I had included something about him in a yet unreleased short story I had written a few years ago. I may need to dig it out, blow off the dust, and add some polish.

This is what I wrote in a story titled The Chinese Guy and the Angels of Uranus. I know, I write weird stuff, but Bowie liked weird.

Here’s the bit:


Janice Ho worked at a big commercial real estate office in the central district. I looked up at the tall building of blue glass. It seemed to go on forever. It was a giant with cold clouds for hands. I went in through the heavy doors and found the elevators. I went up — floor number 22 it was. It seemed like a long ride. There was a lady in there with me. She was all dressed up and she smelled good — like one of those uptight stores in the mall. I could tell I made her nervous. She wouldn’t look at me. She wouldn’t talk to me. I couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Did you hear that David Bowie died?” I finally said.

She turned to look at me. “Who died?”

“David Bowie.”

“I’m afraid I don’t know him.”

Her stupid cell phone rang, and she turned away to talk on it. Blah, blah, blah. The doors slid open at 22 and I stepped out.


Yeah, I know. Not a grand cameo, but still, he got a mention, and I’m glad I remembered it and was able to include it. I think he’d appreciate it, with a laugh, welcome it even, maybe. He had a disdain for fame. And here’s something that I just learned — so, it appears Bowie’s eyes are two different colors, but in fact, his pupils are two different sizes — a unique trait for a unique person. He was a complex, eccentric, and intriguing guy with a head full of all kinds of peculiar, strange, and brilliant thoughts and ideas. The world is a better place because of him and his mind and art.

And even though his influence will reverberate forever, that was then, and this is now, and I’m at my desk drinking coffee and madly typing, and Bowie’s in the afterlife, floating and dreaming on a Buddha waffle somewhere near the moon, and he’s looking down, and admiring all the good, weird things that he left behind.


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Lights and Dreams and Time

Author’s Note: The following is a bit on the personal side, and contains some slightly mature elements, but I decided to share it because love is so important in these times of so much hate.


Tennessee sunset in viridescent.

Overdue Christmas lights still burn in the night next door

Bluish-white tantrum twinkles like stars splattered against the pitch

Another year flows behind us like an endless river

Another month, another week, another day, another hour

another second 

trailing off like vapor from an airplane

slowly dissipating like a wound

swallowed like a slug of water or wine or pennyroyal dreams

“Read some Kerouac 

and it put me on the track …”

Wishing I could burn a little brighter now

Wishing the broken heart road 

wasn’t so bitter and rutted.

Then there’s them shivers.

Those nervous shivers of love and loneliness, and then there we were, eating coleslaw and catfish right next to a big clean window, and then all these people pouring in — regular folk in caps and orange jackets and I heard the talk about motorcars and hunting and other mad things of the world.

I looked at her from across the table. I had known her for two years but there’s still times I get nervous. I demand too much perfection from myself when it comes to matters of love. I have all these thoughts and feelings and sins and regrets all flowing around inside me like cold streams — sometimes hard to uncork my emotions. Other times I just fly without any sense of personal censorship. I’m abridged one day, the next day I’m at full volume. It’s not only my burden, but the burden of everyone orbiting my sun. It’s a scar of guilt that never fades, an unwelcome skin I can never shed.

We went back to my apartment and played around on the couch a little bit. We tried to watch a movie, but they all sucked. I’d turn to look at her after about 20 minutes in and say, “Do you think this is kind of stupid?” She would agree, even if she didn’t.

We did that three different times. Then we gave up on that, discussed the meaning of the word feckless, and then she disappeared to the bedroom.

I found her there naked in my bed and I was totally surprised by that because just the day before she hated my guts, in theory, I guess. I have a tendency to go off on selfish rants — my head gets all hot and chuggin’ — like a muscled-up train — and I do and say things that would break anyone’s heart. I heard Pat Benatar bitching in my head the day before — some siren song from hell, but maybe really more like my own conscience kicking me in the balls. 

Anyways, there she was like I said, naked in my bed, waiting for me. I stripped down too and crawled in under the covers. We embraced, held each other. The warmth was amazing. Everything else that followed was amazing. It’s always amazing with this one. Two years straight and it still feels like the very first time I touched her. We drifted off clutching each other tight. Then we turned to sleep, our asses touching, the warmth of her back like a campfire. I listened to her breathe as I looked up at the purple stars of pretend. 

She always helps herself to my frozen waffles in the morning. We have hot tea and look out at the wayward cats on the patio. She still looks beautiful. I feel like I look beat up. We work hard on interjecting joy into the worried spaces of our lives. We can laugh and love amidst our troubles. It’s hard, but it helps, I hope. I can see her fall into the worry. She instantly knows when my mind slips. We love through the damage of whatever disorder of the day I am. 

We drove to the city, that city being Nashville, and got some sandwiches. There was football on the TV. The joint wasn’t very busy and I’m pretty sure I said something inappropriate about asses. I always do lately. We’ve breached that gap, her and I — her being the one with the beautiful Sonic Ocean Water blue eyes across the table from me. I watch her eat and her mind is grinding, and I love her all the same, all over again, every day, even when it hurts. We always come back to each other. 

“There’s no scoreboard,” she says. 

We drove over to a big bookstore, and I went the wrong way. I got confused. I’m new here. I don’t know where I’m going — but I don’t drive into cement abutments like I did in Amarillo where some god blowtorched my mind daily. That entire town was like a cement abutment. The bookstore was busy. It was packed with chatting birds and owls. It’s a big store filled with aisles and aisles of books. I could spend all day there. I get lost in the shelves and the spines and the titles. It’s sort of our place of peace and solace — in times of love, in times of fear, in times of worry. In times of me under the volcano.

“Mam,” I called out loudly to her in the literature section, like she was some stranger in my way, to make people wonder — “What the hell is going on? Is he some kind of jerk?”

Wit and comic relief bubbling over like pea soup slowly coming to a boil on the stove. I ebb and flow. I’m like the ocean. I rise and fall and crash and then calmly lie there, yet ever unsettled. She’s like a river. She’s strong when it rains and moves forward with purpose because she has to be, even when she can’t be, or is too tired to be. She flows around the bends and over the stones. We meet in the end at the estuary under heaven. We flow into each other. Our waters mix and make one. Hands locked, we tangle in love.

We drove out of the city after buying five books. I missed the exit to our town on the outer limits because I was all jived up by her beautiful face and a black Camaro steaming by. I had to go 10 more miles and then we were in town, and we went to the grocery store that I don’t really like. I may have kissed her in the car. Her lips were cool and wet. My heart pounds when they stick to me.

“I love you,” she reminded me. 

She’s a bandage to my wounds. 

We went in for pot pies and pizzas and the other things she had on her list. I wandered off a few times. I saw her in her red coat from a distance. I saw her talking to a woman I didn’t know. I don’t know anyone here. She knows everyone. I’m the stranger. I have no name here. I’m unrecognizable. But she sees me. She sees me like an X-ray. She knows my ins and outs, she knows my heartbreaks and faults. She’s my angel in the frozen-food aisle. She’s my lover at the dairy doors. She’s my princess in the meat department.

How romantic.

We load up the car in the cold and I already miss her because I know she has to leave to go home. But it was a good weekend after all. I cherish those good weekends. We break, we mend, we carry on. That’s us. That’s always been us. It would never be the same with anyone else. I would have been knifed already. I guess in some ways I was. But none of that matters anymore. Love begins and ends with her. We kissed again in the cold. 

“I love you.”

“I love you.”

She clutched me at some point during this day, shook me a bit.

“Know that I love you,” she said. YOU.”

That one struck a chord. Then I fade.