Tag Archives: women

These Hands

I don’t remember this myself, but my mother used to tell me that when I was very young I would stand with my hands outstretched trying to touch the Moon. I was convinced that when I got just a little bit bigger I would be able to catch it in my tiny hands.
My favorite toys were marbles and crayons. Colors captivated me of course, it was what I could do with them in my hands that fascinated me. I would spend hours coloring, drawing in new lines. Taking my aggressions out on the page rather than acting them out more physically.

It’s been years … in fact I cannot remember the last time that I balled my hands into fists because of rage. That doesn’t feel like the right thing to do with them.

My hands have felt extreme cold and extreme heat, and have put those feelings onto paper with ink.

My hands have held my son, and my daughters. They birthed all four into this world: Two by catching and two by pulling and guiding. One of them actually wedged herself in by turning her head at the wrong time and jamming her ear. Just for a moment, and then  hands freed her and she came, gasping and angry.

My hands have purposefully ended two (non-human) lives. I took their lives out of Mercy, and I cried bitterly after each. My hands turned off the machine keeping my mother alive, and signed the papers that let her killer go free. My darkest self believes I have a murderer’s hands.

My hands have been broken, bloodied, chained, and cuffed.

They have worn wedding rings and scars. Nail polish tattoos of a broken and false loyalty.

My hands have been trained to fight. My hands have been trained to heal. My hands have done the devil’s work, and they have been thrown to the sky in praise of a God. I stretched them on the boards for self-righteous mock crucifixion. They have been clasped together until they went numb, begging for an end to the pain of heartbreak.

My hands remember the feeling of caressing the face of my lover. The gentle curve of her cheek, the gentle curve of her hip. They recall the silk-smooth skin of her back. They remind me of the pads of our fingers pressing gently together, and the careful moving of a wisp of her hair from her eyes.

My hands let me speak the words of my heart in magic. They wield the instruments of my craft and turn them into art.

My hands have earned everything that I own. They have saved my life, and they have saved the lives of others.
They have made life a little bit better for countless souls.

The gift I have been given is not my hands, rather the gift I have been given is in my hands. My life’s goal is to honor the giver of the gift by using it.
Until it’s gone.

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Weird Kid

For a season in high school, I wore a cape. I didn’t imagine myself a superhero or any such … I donned a floor length black cape with crimson red lining. I had purchased said cape from Morris Costumes, to use at Rocky Horror. It had residence in the trunk of my B610, and one morning I just decided to slip it on and … pretend it was the most normal thing in the world.

The oddest thing: most everyone accepted it without question. “Just seemed like something you would do.” was  the thing I heard later. Lots of my friends wanted hugs, wanted to be wrapped up inside my cape for a moment. Escape the pressure … be silly and whimsical, for a moment, for a season.

For a season in high school, I wore a scarlet letter. I read the book and had a heated debate with a teacher about gender roles and acceptable behavior. I didn’t know the term ‘slut shaming’ in 1982, but the concept was really clear. So I sewed a big red ‘A’ on my jacket and refused to take it off, even when threatened by administration. It caused a stir, but the point got through.  Almost earned me a small vacation. Almost.

I do card tricks now, and sometimes i push an envelope that constantly dares me to push it. This Labor Day I’ll be doing such a thing.

I want to be a safe place. I want to be a shield when a shield is needed and a pillow when a head is weary. I’m walking toward peace, and I’m plucking little bits of joy along the way.

I wasn’t sure where this was going to go, and I’m not sure how to end it.

Be weird. Get a cape.

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Gimme Shelter

I’m a magician, storyteller, busker, motivator, mentor and a showman. Yet … I try to avoid labels. I am Hannibal. I’m the only one that can do that. I follow my road and I do my utmost to enjoy the scenery (whatever it is) while I walk it. I’ve won some awards, but I’ll never be waving them in people’s faces. I’ve lost more contests than I’ve won. Experience!

Last week I went out busking for experience. Money is fine at the moment, but for great rehearsal time, especially of material ‘in development’, there’s nothing better than a raw, honest audience that has no stake in liking you, or even sticking around. Plus, and I love this term, I hijacked many souls with joy. I put in some sweat equity and forged some time … the nights were beautiful and the people were great. I truly love working the street in the spring and fall.

A young gentleman approached me between sets and we made some small talk. People are fascinated by this kind of theatre and the people who brave the unknown, the unusual and present their craft. I like to think they get to live a little vicariously outside their lives through me. Meh. Ego?
At any rate, we got to taking about street performance and street preaching and street hustlers. He mentioned that he did some volunteer work at a few shelters and that the people there would enjoy a performance like mine. Did I ever do charity work?  I told him that I do, occasionally, and asked what he had in mind. It seems one of the organizations works with women and children, homeless and in poverty.

Have you ever had a moment when your heart just gave you direction, and you knew instantly that it was the absolute right thing to do? I’m not trying to get too ‘woo’ on you, here, but I caught a spark. Over the course of the next hour, and filling in details for a couple of days, we put together an event. As you know, I occasionally throw a dinner theater evening with local restaurants. I thought: why not give this audience that experience? Here’s what we did.

The children were in one room, a sort of makeshift cafeteria. I was to perform for 20-30 minutes and then they were going to have dinner. While I was with them, the grownup women had a ‘candlelit’ quiet meal. Because I really wanted my hands in as many aspects of this as I could, I made two crock-pots of spaghetti and one of beef stew. The food was a hit, and I had nothing to bring home after.
When I finished my show with the kids, I moved to the other room and performed my after-dinner show for the women. Now … I don’t do kid’s shows. I was very nervous about bringing them quality … very. To my delight, they were a perfect, respectful audience. they got my corny jokes, they were right with me for the magic parts, I really couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids. They loved the show and I fell in love with them.

The show for the grown-ups? EVEN BETTER. They were happy, they were sarcastic, we had some great interaction and a lovely chemistry. The elf boots SLAYED them and I had a line after the show to have a boot made. (You have any idea how hard it is to do origami with tears in your eyes?)
They sang along to my song. They SANG ALONG to “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday”. I stayed and swapped some stories and yarns and a few close-up card tricks.

I’ve worked all over the world. I’ve never been paid better than I was for this show. They made me wealthy. I’m repeating the experience for a different group later this week. I really cannot wait.

All of that to say: You have something to offer someone. You have talent and ability to lift someone out of their situation, if only for a moment. If only for a day. You can read books, brush and cut hair, give manicures … anything to make someone on the low feel loved and valuable.
I distracted them from harshness, I showed them love and joy and card tricks. It cost me nothing. Nothing. They left their harsh reality and saw … hope?

In the best of worlds, gods, I wish for that. To give someone hope …

You can, too.

 

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Two Cents

Sometimes a chord is struck and I have to put in a couple of pennies. The following are my opinions as a father of a boy and three girls. The opinion of a husband. These are my observations.

There’s been some controversial conversation regarding the rants of a misogynistic parasite and his views on women. For the record, these are the rules I taught my son:

If a woman is dressed in a scanty outfit in a club or a bar, she is not yours to grope, fondle or ogle. If she is in a tiny bikini on a beach, if she is dancing in a strip club: You do not have the entitlement to make sexual advances, comments or actions toward her.
She is not an object, she is a human being.

If you are on a third or fourth date with a woman, perhaps you’ve spent a lot of money in wooing her, she does not owe you anything. You do not have the entitlement to make sexual advances, comments or actions toward her if she is not in the same frame of mind.
She is not an object, she is a human being.

If you have been married to a woman for twenty-five years You do not have the entitlement to make sexual advances, comments or actions toward her if she is not feeling mutual. Her body is her own first and foremost.
She is not an object, she is a human being.

Sex is a mutual, intimate, agreed upon adult action. Physical or verbal abuse, mental intimidation or coercion have no place in a healthy sex life. It’s not a right, you are not entitled to it. It’s going to be painful sometimes, it’s going to feel humiliating to swallow your pride and walk away. But it is the right thing to do, the human thing to do.

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