Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Born of the Woods. Ruled By None.

Sitting across from you..  both of us wearing ourselves in the open.     I watch the words bouncing from my mouth, off of your eyes.. and into the street.  And the bicycles run them over in front of Regions' Field.   The IPA in my glass stares up at me,  grinning back at me,  looking delicious.  
And for a second I want to fight to hold on to my anger, my struggle to work over the world's insufficencies.   but that thought faulters.    And I grin. 
  And I'm left with the serene silence of your company..  the of the moment..  that we're here and the world is a quiet creature.    Inhaling, exhaling, admiring the stars...  who are also silent and spectacular.   
I am overwhelmed with gladness to be here.     This is not the story you read about!!   or have ever known!!    This is not the wheel turning over and over..  or the headstone laying in wait for you..    it is something else.    Born of the woods, ruled by none.     I am enthralled, no matter where it leads. 

Andrew Tipton

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Vandals of North Point St.

Call me crazy,
but I never saw this coming,
your phone call, the exuberance in your voice describing the way those apartment keys feel in your hands. 
San Francisco!!   You sly one.    You extraordinary magician.
There was the broken glass, the door half dented.. I remember the sadness and desperation in your eyes.
Ahhh.. I felt so much anguish that afternoon..    like maybe?!   
Maybe we shouldn't be here..?
Maybe I was wrong to take you sailing..? 
And I never in a thousand years would have believed..  that the universe was secretly conspiring..  that it's intention was to lead you somewhere incredible.. somewhere you never could have gone otherwise!    
We pretend that we know where goodness comes from...  like we can see it, like we can say with the utmost clarity..  YES, NO, YES, NO.  
YES.  This is good for me.    NO. This is bad for me.
But we are clueless!!  
Goodness doesn't play by our rules,..  it doesn't speak the same language or abide by our emotions. 
Its wrecking havoc, and in the same instant..  setting us up for something wonderful.  
I love that I know this much of the story..  that I was with you for every step of the way.. 
The heartbreak and the hope and the realization..     all of it.
Because it shatters my fear into pieces!!
It makes me realize that I don't have all the answers..  that the universe is not anxiously awaiting my perfect decision.   
This is a wild adventure..   we should keep our hands open.. and our eyes gleaming.
I'll visit you soon.



-Andrew Tipton

Monday, November 30, 2015

Give Fear Up

Listen to me now universe,
I do not beg of you..   I stand with shoulders broad,
straight and tall, and lean,  and a hunger.
the glow has travelled away, and returned again
there is war here, 
there is fixation and a madness,

I tell you,
fear is a liar.   And I must give it up.   






Andrew Tipton



Friday, November 27, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Love and darkness are my side arms.  

Love and darkness are my side arms.  
  Affection and the adoration of mystery. 
  Be Relentless.   make sure of it! 
 Life begs for this! 
 Leave me tethered to the shadows,  an origami bear, a handmade rock..  hidden among the deep chasms of the intuition.  The secrets, the gentle raging plots of our former selves,
 cunning and complex and divine.   
    Tucked away in between the conventional ordinaryness of a traveller's pack.. canvas, faded leather.  
or
 among the thistles of the high desert.   

The gift is the daydream that thinks up darkness..  the gift is the mind that seeks to surprise and taunt joy from each other's numbed edges.   
To cause sparks. 
 To incite intrigue.
   To make life glisten with uncanny possibility.  


Andrew Tipton   

Friday, November 13, 2015

Paris on A Friday

Reading about the attacks in Paris tonight.    Viewing photos of the faces of bleeding and injured people, looking into their eyes and seeing the fear and the disbelief.. the sadness, the rage.   I feel the rage too, somewhere in the pit of my chest,  gnawing at me.   

Tonight, I remember who my enemies are. 
Clearly and precisely.  

We fight so much here in America, over insignificant issues.  We quarrel over racial differences,  we attack expressions of personal liberty..  we grumble about people who love us, and worry about our self-image.       I think we get caught up sometimes, with these surface-level struggles..  and it isn't until a moment of piercing clarity, like today,  when we suddenly remember that we have real enemies.    

American people!     This is sobering, and also illuminating.   Lets reassess what we're willing to tolerate in ourselves and others.    Lets offer our leniency to those who are not trying to destroy us,  but rather simply trying to live and be free.  Treating peace with renewed gratitude and fervor.   Intolerant only of real enemies that threaten that peace.      



Andrew Tipton

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Rebelious October.


The idea that we create our own realities.   This begins from the idea of perception, everything in life is perception.  From the sunlight that is on our faces, the texture of a horse, the skin of a lover,  everything that we can interact with must be filtered through the vines of our ability to perceive as a human being.  
In Spanish this idea is said, “Nuestra Creamos realidad”  which translated means:  we are the creator of our reality.     Reality then becomes perception,  and our response to our perception becomes our take on the world around us.   We might agree on common ideas about the world around us,  we might be drawn to similar places or sensations..   and yet, consciously or unconsciously, at each juncture… at each point of interaction,  we are agreeing to the perceived reality that we have ourselves created.    This is such an intimate thing, such a common thing that we are usually completely unaware of our agreements.     Some might scoff at the idea of being able to create your own reality..   This might seem like insanity to many people.   How will you control the sun?   How will you not age?    How can a person walk through fire?     The idea of creating our own reality is not based on the limitations of physical presence,  but on the vastness of our very personal, subjective, perception of our universe.     There is no effect possible towards the outside world, if it has not been also experienced through our perception.   This is the creation of reality:  learning to speak our perception.   Rearranging the way the world lines up in our minds..  challenging the greatness and the simplicity of living experiences, and either accepting or denying their weight inside our minds.    We are changing the world, by literally changing how we perceive the world.    



Andrew Tipton

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Legacy

I've been thinking a great deal about the idea of leaving behind a legacy.   Blame it on an adventurous lifestyle or all the close calls I've had this year..  (I'm looking at you Rome),  but my mind just won't let the thought go.   
I know what a legacy is...  at least what I've been taught to believe about one.   That part of your existence that you leave behind, for your family, for your kids, for people following.    I know that politicians talk about leaving legacy and I know we admire great men who have "etched their legacy" into the history books through action and with sheer determination.     But recently I've been given the chance to re-evaluate my own terms of "legacy".. to abandon the lofty disconnect I've always associated with it..  and to truly ask myself,  what is of importance to me?    Or a better question....  who am I already?  

The, "who am I already?"  question... that struck a chord in me.    When you ask yourself that question, you also have to answer:  "What do I do?"     And not in a typical, work-related, bullshit sterile sense..   but organically,  naturally,  completely..   WHAT THE HELL DO I DO?     What do I talk about?   Where do I go?   What do I eat?   What makes me laugh?  Who do I adore?   Where are my dreams?    What are my habits?
 I think that a legacy is something that we are all building... some of us are intent about leaving a very specific one behind..    some of us could care less.     But perhaps...legacy.. the version that I desire, is not about manufacturing an image for the world to treasure once we're gone..  but more about leaving behind and essential-ness,  a quality that is so fundamentally us that we never even knew we were becoming it.    My perception of leaving a legacy... is becoming personal, human, intimate...  real.    
Thinking about people I admire,  or people that I remember,  many times it isn't their greatness or their towering achievements that stand out in my mind...  but rather their nobility, strength and passion played out through simple actions.  Practices of living that, over time, have become deeply associated with their character and presence.

I remember the way my dad's arms felt after he cut down trees with his chainsaw...  every Saturday I remember the earthy, rugged scent and the coarseness of the shavings caught in the black curls of his beard.  I remember the way drips of sweat left trails down his dirt covered forearms. 

I remember my grandpa's pipe tabacco..  watching him nimbly, expertly push it into place... watching him flick open his silver Zippo lighter with the eagle emblem,  and light that sucker up...  puff puff puff.. then the grin - the twinkle in the eyes.


These are very simple things.  The actions of men who were just doing what they loved..  over and over.    It isn't some great deed or single magnificent event that defined them... it was the action that they were least aware of..  the one they did all the time just because it was so wildly and intimately part of their essence.   
  I like that.    I like that version of Legacy.
   



Andrew Tipton

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

Aspen

Andrew Tipton

Stealing Horses

How do you work out the intricacies of another human?     It is necessary?    We spend so much time looking for answers...  making sense..  convincing others to rip themselves open and spill themselves all over us.    Why do we push and tug and struggle to get to the center of everyone else?      To figure them out,  to sort through the fabric and the dust of them.   Why is it that?   Why do we try to interrogate, to take bright lights into the soft and intimate spaces of people?   Why do we try to twist, and wring, and scour out their secrets, try to dissect and devour them?  

I release myself from my instinct to seek out understanding at the cost of peace..    I release myself from the insecurity and fear of uncertainty.     This need to attain clarity leaves no room for the subtle intuition and liberty of love.    After all..  how does a man fall in love with something he comprehends?     We are drawn to mystery..  we are awakened and enlivened by the things / the ones that intrigue us.  



Andrew Tipton

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Reading At the Campsite

"...man has within him somewhere, in the deep of his soul, that which calls out after mystery.  Deep calls unto deep at the noise of God's waterspout;  the deep voice of God calls and the deep of man struggles to answer back."     AW Tozer

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Deer are Like Ghosts

Habit.  Those abiding actions and responses in us that are so commonplace and repetitive, that they quietly slip by unnoticed.     From something as simple as shifting gears on a motorcycle,  to the most intimate instincts that become the method of our interaction.   Habits are the movements and thoughts that time and repetition have cultivated in us..   perhaps our truest version of self.

 When I was young, my mom used to feed me the same line again and again every time I accidentally did something wrong.   She would look me straight in the eyes, and tell me,  "Its not enough that you didn't mean to...  you have to mean not to."      That line always frustrated me.   I imagined that she was being overly poetic.      But now I am beginning to understand what she was getting at.     She was teaching me in a way,  the intolerance of apathy; the value of intentional behavior, an intolerance of building arbitrary habits.    She was conveying the idea, that whenever I respond or act..   my response ultimately becomes my habit - it becomes my agreement with life and my accustomed way of living.    What I am doing is becoming me.      
  
Now that I am older,  I get a glimpse every once and awhile of certain habits.   I see the positive ones,  I see the pain-causing ones,  I see the ones that are remarkable and strong,  and I see the ones that often drag me through the dirt.       Whenever I uncover a habit,   its fascinating to try and figure out "where did this come from"?   Nearly always, after some contemplation, I can track a pattern..  track a path back to the inception.  This particular way of being "Andrew" didn't just happen spontaneously!    Not at all!   
I am the culmination of the things I have been "repeating".   Days, months, years..    They are all adding up.    Every honorable action,  every empty choice,  every compromise, every steadfast decision..  every lie, every truth, every positive roar.     They are becoming my routine.  
The subconscious, true me.  

 



Andrew Tipton





Sunday, August 23, 2015

Riding Motorcycles With God in a Desert

What about the awe and humble questioning?
The rambling drives across the mountains of America.
Should we forget those?
Should we forget the desires that challenge our minds,
or the ache
and sincere quality of our own empathy? 
Swept away.  Out to sea.  Dust.
I'm ill.  Of the dull quivering. 
the selfish throb of voices spilling inarticulate thoughts.
The shy pleading. 
The timid groping and shrieking emptiness of masturbation.
Aren't you thirsty though
my love?
For your deeper succulent self.
For your knotted heart and lungs to unfurl themselves.
Clawing North.
Skyward. 
Abandoning the coughing, sputtering, trivialness,
the fat dream of the dead.     Fuck you. 
So long. 
WE are remembering our Godness now.
WE are building cabins on the edges of mountains
and licking the morning's juice from the necks of horses.
Hello my favorite part of everything.
Hello deadly loving muchness.
Kind friend.
Ambitious whisperer.
Wakeful morning preacher.
Rising. Speaking. Proclaiming. 






Andrew Tipton

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Avocados and Food Stamps

 I just picked out two of the ripest, most succulent avocados in all of Piggly Wiggly. 
 Perfectly soft, each with a rich, deep green skin and subtle marks of blacked ripeness..  utterly mouthwatering.             I'm in line, waiting to check out, standing behind a Hispanic woman and her two small children.    I lay my perfect avocados on the rubber checkout belt, and watch them tumble around gently for a moment.     I pull my eyes away from my purchase, and look at the woman in front of me.   Her shoulders are hunched, her body language anxious and intimidated, her eyes gaze quietly down at the floor while the cashier scans her groceries..   bleep... milk...   bleep... tortillas..   bleep...  tomatillos.    There are no words exchanged between her or the cashier..   only the repetitive bleeping of the register.      My eyes wander to her two kids;  one peeks out from behind her mom's shopping cart,  the other lays asleep in a tiny basket, nestled between bags of groceries. 
In a raw, gritty, smoker's voice the cashier reads the total to the Hispanic woman:   "One hundred and seven dollars,  and... nine cents."    She has the thickest Southern accent I've ever heard..  and I immediately like her.       The Hispanic woman see's the neon numbers illuminated on the register, and abruptly fumbles in her little purse for a few moments.    She pulls out a handful of food stamps and timidly hands them over the counter..  I can tell she is embarrassed.     The cashier pauses..  grunts.. takes them from the woman, and begins inserting each individual one into her cash register...   I'm guessing to validate the coupons.    

I stand there next to my two perfect avocados..  watching both women...  watching the cashier slowly and methodically shove the food stamps into her register.  Watching the Hispanic woman avert her eyes from the people around her... fully accepting her own embarrassment and her discomfort.     I felt like she believed everyone around her was judging her..   resenting her for some reason.  

Suddenly, out of nowhere,  I felt this rage for the absurdity and joke of the moment.    The practical numbness and tolerance for those feelings of embarrassment and judgment.   How dare another human feel that way!    How dare US to tolerate those sensations in each other..  or play the game of existence in a way, that it undermines the joy and hope of another person!   In my mind,  there was this bitter realization that this woman felt alone and unfriended..   her embarrassment from using food stamps and feeling judged by those around her.. was completely unnecessary.   
 I looked for her eyes..  to find them with mine..  and through softness and a genuine smile..  reassure her that this moment was just a silly, trivial passing thing.        

After paying for my avocados..   I sat in my jeep for a long few minutes thinking.     
I think we get caught up in our tangled beliefs of life sometimes..   we tolerate the ideas of status, and personal-worth... and we forget that those are inventions..  NOT TRUTHS.   At times, we have these sensations of being unfriended, or embarrassed,  or forgotten, or shameful, or hopeless...  and those feelings are absolutely not worthy of our time!      We should remember to offer kindness and grace to ourselves... and ALSO, to those people around us.    Reminding each other of our muchness and reminding each other than the entire universe is absolutely head-over-heals about us.    
This experience of being human is not a shameful or embarrassing one...  it is a gorgeous, delicious rapture of events... that can all be summarized with: perfection.  

Eating ripe avocados... is just perfect. 
Paying for groceries with food stamps... is just perfect.
     





Andrew Tipton

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Was the Sex Great

Don't perish among the niceties,   comfortable and underwhelmed.  
Do not tolerate your own lies.   Do not compromise your essential muchness.  
Don't erode away, attempting to muffle the scorched and brutal scream of your longing.
Hunger for everything!    And seek out what improves your soul.





Andrew Tipton  
  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Sky Without Stars




God, harden me against myself,
The coward with pathetic voice
Who craves for ease and rest and joy. 
Myself, arch-traitor to myself,
My hollowest friend,
My deadliest foe,
My clog, whatever road I go.   

O. Sanders.  





Andrew Tipton

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Massive Quiet Waves


 
 Journal Entry July 28th,
 
Out on the surface of the ocean this morning..   no wind at all.    The calmness is enchanting.   There are massive quiet waves undulating beneath my boat;  smooth as glass, and heavy and dark.     It feels like the sea has fallen asleep, and I am riding the smooth ripples of its enormous heartbeat.   

I am still young and discovering joys from being in the presence of the ocean,   but today its stillness and unwavering surface reminds me of life's simple constancy.  
 On dry land,  surrounded by the hectic, bustling, striving, loudness of modern life..   sometimes I am convinced that the universe is just as vested in the madness as my mind pretends to be.      But out here..   I am the witness to truth..  to the fact that the ocean, the universe, god...   doesn't give a damn.      It is not apathy...  it simply knows that it is greater than the madness.     And it quietly reminds you that you are greater too.     
 Alone, surround by miles and miles of silent turquoise water..     I felt relieved of my desire and opinions of ordinary things.   I felt unencumbered.. not due to distraction...  but as a response to the limitless "observance" and quiet attention of the water.     The only turbulence that existed out here was self-perpetuated...  the resonating, clanging of my own thoughts. 
Somehow the ocean makes it easy to release those feelings..   to find the wholesome delicious heart of yourself.        
   
 
 
 
 
Andrew Tipton
 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Soft Animal

When I am most myself,
I am imagining how I seem through your eyes. 
And in that moment of recollection,
I am reclaiming the essential clarity of my motion,
allowing you to peer into my truthfulness,
believing, that you are offering the reciprocal of that experience back to me,
so that we may both witness the soft animal of one another,
dislodged from the weight and burden of our unnecessary selves.  



Andrew Tipton





Thursday, July 16, 2015

Reading Books in Bars

My boots are propped up on the edge of the table.   Leaning back in my chair, I gently slide my fingers along the thick pages of my leather journal.  In my left hand, my pen hangs loosely, working up the nerve to speak.    The red flannel shirt I'm wearing is unbuttoned, my skin feels hot underneath its rusty softness.  My hair is a managed mess, my face unshaven..   any bohemian, drifter or a vagrant would feel at home in my company.   Regardless of my appearance, an elegant, blonde haired girl sitting at the bar keeps looking my direction and smiling invitingly -  but I am disinterested.    My eyes wander to one of the large windows next to me..  I stare out into the night and I admire the streetlights casting shadows on the people passing by.   
 I'm sipping on a cold glass of Avondale Ipa, quietly at a table in the corner.   My head is spinning; somewhat from the beer, and somewhat from the currents of intense thought rippling beneath my relaxed exterior.   I come here to read, to write, to ponder my most pressing questions.    Its a very solitary experience..  which is ironic.   The bar is loud and engaging, there are voices chattering, glasses clinking together as drinks are poured,  music meshing everything into one glistening, visceral distraction.     But for some reason, its easy in a place like this to "uncover" my inner thoughts -  writing seems to flow carelessly and potently.    There is nothing cautious or respectful here..  the people and interactions are open-ended and emboldened.        I enjoy discovering myself in this atmosphere.. among the rowdiness and cliché purposes.     A place like this is about "feeling" yourself at a deep and unfiltered level... stripping off niceties and getting vulnerable.      When I catch glimpses of conversations about sex, the frustrations of work, or the complexity of relationships -  these are all catalysts for my own sensation.  
Sometimes I feel as if the path towards arriving at my best self must be controlled and organized and intentional.    Some part of my practical side scoffs at the idea of writing poetry at a corner table in a dark bar.    But often its the release of those boundaries that elicits the full potential of my muchness.       And so I'm here.  



Andrew Tipton

Friday, July 10, 2015

Translucent

There is no reason to forfeit our greatness.   Never.  
To speak empty words, or to offer anything other than genuine action... is to surrender our magic..  to deny ourselves the experience of that moment.  
 For the sake of others, for the sake of ourselves..    it is absolutely necessary that you be you.. and I be me..    unedited and translucent.  
To be ourselves,  to turn our wrists over and give the rest of the world a glimpse of our palms, of our deep scars, our stories, our questions, and our beliefs.   to be known by other people.    This is necessary so that we don't vanish into a soft and indistinguishable place...  So that our intensity and our ferocity remain intact! 

I feel more and more that the inner part of me longs to move past the convenience of practical and methodical interaction.   It whispers, "deeper, deeper deeper!"  in my ears,  I hear its hunger for substance..   When I am about to speak,  instead of the words dripping automatically from my mouth...  I feel their weight pressing against my throat.     The whole piece of my body feels the difference between sincerity and bullshit.     The whole piece of my body urging me to obey my truth.

Do you also hunger for this!!??     
There is not space for anything lesser than this.    







Andrew Tipton





   

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

God Is Not a Lonesome Experience

Sometimes I am afraid
of what I love,
to let the world at it,
Tell me,
from wherever you are,
does it feel the same?  
Do you choke on the songs
even as we sing them together?  
Do you ever
paint over the dark hounds of the open road?  
Or lie. Awake. 
in the stillness and quiet of the night,
finally inhaling the soft animal of yourself? 
I do. 
And what of us? 
What of me? 
Truthfully, when I stand there
silent
peering into the vastness of your intention,
I believe
God is not a lonesome experience,
and when I am in among them,
its also there
I feel it. 
Swallowed up, consumed, bewildered, embraced, terrified.
maybe as you do,
that the world is built for touching. 
that my body is a simple reckless thing,
and
I am not distrustful of its
rumbling earthly madness.




Andrew Tipton






Saturday, June 20, 2015

Second Hand Clay



 
delicate slope of summer,
a Thursday perhaps,
fragile between the fingers, among the hands
a pottery wheel,
second hand clay,
leaving pages torn from surfing magazines, 
a trail,
a memento for the lingering night,  
the small stove,
 and brewing tea,
 
 
 
 

 

Andrew Tipton

Friday, June 19, 2015

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

For the Horses

I wanted movement, and not a calm course of existence.  I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love. I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life.  

- Tolstoy

East Boundary

There is this cliché I grew up with, that says nothing special happens where you're from..  everything of value or importance is happening somewhere else.
When I am back in rural Alabama sometimes,  I feel that cliché might be true.  Often, when I am "home",  it feels like nothing of importance (as far as I can tell)  is really happening there.   I go for a run, or take my jeep for a sunset drive to feed the horses..     It feels like the same routines, the same ideals, the same familiar faces..   I am often counting down the days till the next "trip",  or the next chance to venture elsewhere.     Talking up surf escapes to Nicaragua, or motorcycle rides to Alaska..


People (my self definitely included) go off in search of adventures, of romance, of inspiration, of purpose..   we travel to the corners of the world to sort ourselves out, and forge new ideas..  reclaim forgotten truth.   New places are sensual!  They are unpredictable, they are freckled with fascinating people and experiences!   So many unforgettable stories I have shared while on the road.     When you are traveling in an exotic destination,  its easy to find bewilderment and to feel that travelers "high" - the sensation of being intimately connected to the abundance and affection of the universe.   
Now, after much travel...    I am beginning to discover, that it is:  the sensation of being intimately connected that we are all secretly longing for as human beings!   We want to feel part of something great..  something epic and sacred.


Recently, I've begun to revisit and to challenge the cliché that I grew up with..   the cliché that encourages travel...  but leads us to believe that intimacy and muchness only exist outside of our ordinary surroundings.   The idea that I have to "go somewhere", in order to experience god's conspiracy of goodness.
      I think when we believe that nothing worth-while is nearby..  that begins to erode our perception of the magic close to us.   It diminishes what we expect from ourselves in ordinary spaces.  No matter where we come from, or where we find ourselves.


I have long adhered to the instinct that somehow the universe was hiding its best pieces from me..   that it had scattered them across the earth in mysterious and difficult places.   That love, and fulfillment, and revelation were available..  but only with extreme perseverance.
Perhaps that vision of god lacks clarity...  
I am reimagining now.. that the sensation of being intimately connected to the abundance and affection of the universe is sometimes right in front of my nose!  Perhaps "god" places us nearby to outrageous gifts..   maybe we just aren't accustomed to looking for them in ordinary places.
Perhaps what we are searching and longing for is often so close, that we overlook it entirely.      
Maybe love, and revelation come right in through our front door..  maybe she sits down on our porch, or eats dinner at our kitchen table, 
and we don't even see her because we are simply not looking there.

I believe greatness and enlightenment are sparks born from the depths of travel and from existence on the edge of our sanity and discomfort..      But also.. there are the most incredible things happening to us in very ordinary places as well. 
I wish to be aware of both. 
    




Andrew Tipton

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

33°02'01.2"N 86°47'29.2"W

The only way to see myself clearly now..  is too turn and look at the places that built me.   My 'coordinates'... my birth marks on the map.     The outlines of what I adore, and the fear, and the ambition..   they were all there from the beginning.     Like threads heading backwards into old photographs..    I can feel where they touch, somehow, the story of my past..   where I agreed to them.    
I think there is a place, or many, like that in all of us..   place / places that lends as much of itself as it can to our becoming..  to our muchness, or our weakness, or our grace or our apathy.      It isn't a clever thought..   but more like a recollection and a acknowledgement of those spaces...
I am thinking about my identity,   the WHO, that I feel.. deep down.. at the bottom of all of myself.   There is a great deal of who I am, born in ordinary rooms, or while paddling a lake, or in a treehouse...   And what is it that makes those spaces great?     The walls and between them..   the seemingly empty... that gives birth to THIS NOW.   
?
 


Andrew Tipton  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mountain Dulcimer Lessons

I remember the first time I listened to my mother strum her mountain dulcimer.
   I remember the way she held it gently in her lap,  her hands cradling its scratches and its worn-down imperfections..   I remember the glow of the sound,  the soft resonance..   simple, droning and melodic.   The strings vibrating along the cedar frets..  the lonesomeness of it..   the earthy, essential honesty of it.  
I remember feeling the blood pumping from my heart to my ears..   standing there, lightheaded, entranced..  not daring to breathe. 
 And I remember knowing instinctually, that sound and I were destined for a relationship..   that we were invented for each other... 

Somewhere in the roaming out of life, I feel that I stumble upon pieces of my essential self,  reflections and fragments of my innermost person.      
Hearing my mother play her dulcimer.. 
Focusing a camera lens..
My first time riding a motorcycle.. 
Feeling the weight of my first leather journal.. 
The smell of my dad's tractor.. 
Wandering through the Redwoods of northern California.. 
My feet in the stirrups of a horse..  
The scent of saw-dust..

There are times when I feel no distance at all from myself...  nor from the clarity of my identity.  

To be in the place that we are most our essential selves,  is to be closest to wholeness.   
Following a life that revolves around this identity..   seems to me the only life worth pursuing.




Andrew Tipton



Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Simple Death.

Our hooves,
kicking up golden splinters.
Slowing the world till it cracks, and
announcing every trembling grain.
We are.
Chipping sparks, ripping embers.
We are
waking the shoreline,
bringing the growl to the wolf
and
the grin to the wayfarer. 
Stand aside, bow.
Heed. Steed.  The chant and cinch
of leather straps, the sweat
of windswept mane,
the heels turned inward, the eyes and heart
awakened. 
Of both of us.   Even.
Stirring the gods'
envious of the tides lapping at our stride. 
I would live here. 
Sip champagne from the rooftop porches,
stare eloquently westward,
as the horizon melts... 
fade as it does.  Too in turn. 
I am.  imagining it.  
And to those who belong to the ghost of the river,
or to the grayness and forests
of Santa Cruz,
this is an ordinary dream.   A simple death. 
But to us.  But two us.
We reach out with young and eagerness.
Cradling its sacred edges,
its delicate, faltering
disappearance. 
And marvel greatly. 





Andrew Tipton

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Highway One.

 
 



 
 
Andrew Tipton

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Shadow

Upon a June day the grass said to the shadow
of an elm tree, "You move to right and left over-often,
and you disturb my peace."
And the shadow answered and said, "Not, I, not I.  Look skyward.   There is a tree that moves in the wind to the East and to the West, between the sun and the earth"
And the grass looked up, and for the first time beheld the tree.  And it said in its heart, 
"Why, behold, there is a larger grass than myself."
And the grass was silent. 

Kahlil Gibran


Monday, April 20, 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Song of the Pacific Coast

Standing with my eyes shut on the coast at sunset..  GT's Kombucha in my left hand,  worn denim, boots,  the scent of the Pacific currents merging secretly.     We talked about the places that we go, we talked about how they are rubbing off on us..  maybe even becoming the literal sensation that we feel of our own self.    The thrill and absurdity of that thought sweeps over me..  
As I watched the deserts of Southern California slowly fade beneath us.. 
I asked myself on the plane,  "What is you?"
I feel tonight and tomorrow I am writing him down. 



Andrew Tipton

Friday, April 10, 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cardboard Horses

Cardboard horses.
Cowboys selling weed.
In or out.  In and out.
The magic is fabric,
a pretty tarp.  A blanket.
For the eyes.
The stage,
the fragile words sewn to the page.
punching holes in their shine.
Cleverness makes her way to the exit,
the door slams. 
And yet,
bewilderment remains...  gazing
hopeful.  Ahead.




Andrew Tipton

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Be Young Forever

 Here he is..  attacking it, his eyes lost, glowing half-desperate / half-euphoric, chasing the center of the room's voice, flowing..   channeling the ferocity and the affection that I can see moving through his body, in waves. 
 The hands grasping the neck, and the slide trembling against the strings..  
the guitar quivers,
the banjo bends into shiny-splinters,
 the echoes of the drums turn into honey and drip from the corners of the ceiling. 
The music is not being played..  the music is playing itself.    
It is not being recited...   it is happening out of its own free will.   

Very. much. alive.     
This isn't a song  - and everyone else knows it..   everyone else feels it too.   
Entranced, eyes glowing too..  half-desperate / half-euphoric.. 
at the edge of our chair,
 listening and yet also longing and quietly shivering with joy.  
Its like making cornbread out of intimacy.   And eating it.    
Its like sculpting a statue out of breathing. 
We had it backwards..  the music is conjuring us
not the other way around.
Everyone leans forward...  hearing themselves in the mess and the perfection,
and the room fills with the conversation of instruments,
describing with detail the greatness of each of us..
and we rock ourselves gently, because of the sensation
of being spoken to with
ferocious kindness. 


To sabotage the soul is to say:
this is what IT IS, 
and never agreeing to more than our name,
to say that we are [only] the makers of things.. 
instead of also being made by them.
I sit, and feel this somewhere inside of me that you cannot see with your eyes. 
I feel tonight that I do not know myself truly,
that I am larger and more elegant that I have imagined. 






Andrew Tipton







Friday, March 20, 2015

The Dragonflies Of My Chest


 
It is you
who placed the dragonflies in my chest
yesterday. 
Still.
Undiminished, AND the wet, delirious, expanding blueness of the center of the ocean,
to me.  

I see you clearly across my mother’s quilt, 
woven,   together
a metaphor for our limbs – since we met,
the white sand clinging to your bare breasts,
where her lips nurse,  
as I have,
and still, I have no words collected, or understanding of how to convey them
if I did. 

And the Aries of me HOWLS!    Below the surface. 
 Claws at the photographs of memories
that
are still young and fresh to the mind’s touch,
Could you pry open with your motherly fingers,  my chest,
past the rib bones, and the muscle,
and grasp ME between your hands
the flesh and the shaft
of my essence:
discovering..
half of me, yet, hidden and dark,
half of me skipping like stones on a lake
at just the sight of you.

swaying in the depths
of my hammock,
I consider the aftertaste of anger, and the sadness that
remains a scar on my shoulder, 

Who am I to throw punches at the ghosts and wilderness of our past?
Who am I to say [ YES, NO, PERHAPS ] to the stories of god’s hidden dreamer?

And in the flesh,
I mock you!    The constellations of your thoughts, the recklessness of your freckles,  the obscenity of your tussled hair,  
NOT because I agree with you…  
but, because I find those parts of you marvelous and breathtaking. 
As I always have. 
Never question your beauty! 
 WOMAN.    
Never speak poorly of your much-ness.
You shimmer. 
Sparkle.    Like the dream where I am the rascal
and you are the    
Mermaid,
from the ocean,
Where I found you. 
Chasing whales. 

And
As the night folds in around us,
through the gray of a San Francisco fog,   
SEE you finally,
as we used to be.
Gingersnaps between lips.
Shaking hips.
Dino disco.

And
 the Uncanny Adventures of Free Giraffes.
reclaiming your cursive,
 redeeming
her
simple, elegant, earthly ferociousness.  
Rowdy, fearless, eager.
YOU CAN”T FUCK THIS UP.

Not on the pages,

Not anywhere.

I see you.  






Andrew Tipton

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Ones Who Chase Goodness

There are few men that I know, whose existence is prioritized with ferociously, chasing down goodness.   Fewer still, who live a state of vivid, constant appreciation for their existence, as well as a constant affection towards their families, their surroundings, and everyone in between.     My uncle Robert was one of these men.   

Robert saw the world through determined, relentless eyes.  His vision was simple...  completely straightforward and unwavering..   to make life better.    Spiritually, physically, visually, mechanically - the lines all merged and crossed.   He lived in state of thoughtfulness for his environment..   a mentality that we should improve the lives and spaces around us.    

I remember driving with uncle Bob as a kid, weaving through the mountains of Arkansas.  Sitting in the back seat of his car staring out at lakes and rivers.   I listened for hours as he talked..    his conversation always circling around what would be "done".   There was an urgency to his thoughts and his words..  like he knew time was of the utmost importance - that it was a gift.   When he spoke, I never doubted him.  He talked about life with sincerity.  
 He acted upon life with sincerity.  
 No matter what it was:  beginning a rural community ministry, building a house, cooking gravy and biscuits in the mornings, volunteering in hospitals..     he treated life as his personal chance to MAKE GOOD,  to facilitate greatness in the lives of other humans.  
And he did it in a way that was fearless.. leaving no room for excuses or compromised expectation.

When he hugged you..   he hugged you.     Full-on, brutally, honest, welcoming, passionate, warm. 
He didn't hold back, and I admire that deeply.  





Andrew Tipton

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Notes to The Self

Speak with Sincerity.   






Andrew Tipton

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fight for The Inner Spark / Part II

As a kid,  I remember putting up a fight nearly every day for awesomeness.  

If there was any way to squeeze a little more goodness-juice out of an afternoon..  by god,  I was going to try!    The struggle never ceased..  
fighting to stay up all night long playing games,
 fighting to campout with friends on weeknights,
to devour pizza every meal of the week,
to swim in the ocean after the sun set,
to not wear clothes,
 fighting to feed and milk the cows on my own,
to watch gory movies,
 to drive my grandpa's jeep by myself,
to build massive ramps for our red Western Flyer wagon..  
It was the constant pursuit of the things that made life worth living... for a kid.  
Pushing the boundaries of what was permissible..    persisting on living life on the verge of exhaustion and demise..  and utterly, absurdly, irrationally - loving it.       

   There was this rush, adrenaline, and intensity...  looking out from six year-old eyes, and feeling that the world was infinitely expanding in all directions, that adults lived as demi-gods ..   and this secret revelation, that the rules governing childhood (and everything else) could be challenged!   
And so at every opportunity I fought to 'live'..  in the most convivial way I could imagine.  



 I often wonder if my "six-year old self" would approve of the life I live as an adult? 
Now that I am officially the supreme being that I always imagined becoming as a kid..    what am I doing with my super powers?
     Does life still impress me?
  Am I still fighting for awesomeness? 
 

As adults,  we seem to be headed in the opposite direction of our younger selves..
no longer struggling to push the boundaries of our day,  but rather, often making excuses not too.  
 Its a fascinating thing for me to watch a grown human make an excuse for "why they cannot" do something!    Here, in the perfection of our human self.. with the ability to choose nearly anything..    we often choose nothing! Its ironic that as kids, when we were our most unprepared and unequipped,  we fought our hardest for the world.
I imagine our kid-selves, looking on with disbelief and sheer horror,  watching the adult notions of practicality and rationality dismantle the "ferociousness" that they knew so well.    


I admire our younger selves!!   I admire my six-year old self..  
I admire our inner spark and our great daring!




Andrew Tipton






Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Ferocious Eyes of Children

“But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

Aldous Huxley

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fight For The Inner Spark / Part I

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


M. Oliver

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Watching January



 



Its the heart of January.
 Bleak skies, rainy nights, and the desperate, glassy-eyed, sun-deprived stares on people's faces.    The leaves on the trees have fallen, their bare branches revealing the dirty, scarred, brokenness of the winter landscape.  Patches of garbage strewn along highway medians, muddy dirt roads, streaks of dulled, chipped paint on the sides of dilapidated trailers.
  Its a reminder of the imperfections of this space..  there is an absence of glamor and inspiration.

I'm driving county roads this morning..  watching all of this scroll by..   the bleakness and the gray; the dead grass in the fields... the weather-worn roofs of old barns.  
    I slow down for a random, mud-covered horse, standing on the side of the road..
she just stares ahead blankly as I cruise by. 

 Normally, my first response is... escape. 
I think for a moment that I rather be somewhere else... somewhere warm,  somewhere with sunshine, somewhere.. where its easy to sink into a state of habitual happiness.

But as I keep driving..  I begin to see things differently.

 I realized that.. today...  I didn't feel happy...  and not only that..   I didn't want to.....
 I didn't need to.     
And that absence of desiring to escape the moment...  felt genuinely, vulnerably, deeply good.
As I drove..  watching the bleakness of January..
 I kind of fell in love with it in a way..
It was like watching part myself drift by outside my truck window.
The deserted places, the rusty, dirty, imperfection..  the sadness..
It was unassuming... honest..  simply existing and enduring the coldness of winter.. 
just like me. 
And somewhere inside of me was glad for that reflection.   

 I never made an agreement with myself, or anyone, to be "happy constantly"..
 but sometimes I feel as though I did. 
  There is this cultural pressure to achieve happiness at all costs..  and I think it undermines my ability to simply embrace life at times.  

I am presently human..  and the truth of it is that I am gifted with the ability to FEEL many emotions..  to experience the pleasure and bliss of life... but just as much, the gray and the tragedy.   

I don't need to escape January. 
I don't need a "paradise" to take the place of an Alabama back road.  
 I don't have to manufacture or fashion happiness out of scraps of distraction.

I can watch it..  and accept it..   and in doing that, also accept myself


I think to truly move towards goodness, muchness, greatness..   we should make moments to become comfortable with the weakest, most unimpressive sides of ourselves.. 
so that we remember that all of this is ours. too. 





 
 
 
 
Andrew Tipton
 
 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Everything Is Yours

Sitting on the tailgate of the pickup truck,  I am munching down salsa-verde covered carnitas, grilled chicken, and large slices of mango..   my lips are burning and my eyes keep tearing up.   Its a delicious authentic Mexican lunch..   and despite the salsa melting my face, I am enjoying every savory bite.         
Somewhere between devouring homemade tacos, and squinting to keep the Saturday-afternoon sunshine out of my eyes..   I am having a conversation on "Why I'm not married.. and why no children?"  

I'm sitting next to several Mexican friends of mine..  and I'm trying in vain to describe my beliefs about relationships.   I can see from their confused eyes, that my words are not entirely making sense.   I blame half of the confusion on my imperfect Spanish..  and the other half on my beliefs themselves.   My view and pursuit of "women", is definitely far from conventional.    

"I don't understand", says one friend.    "Why can't you just settle down and have some kids?".   

 I laugh.. and look him in the eyes.. 
"Because that isn't the life I want right now".         
As I take another bite of a carnitas taco..   I grin with a mouthful.  

In the center of this conversation..   I recognize myself..   but from the other side.    I hear my own disbelief and my own impulse to "sway" nestled in the words of my friends. 
 From their perspective,  I must seem like a complete fool..    I mean,  who wouldn't want to settle down and have kids!!?     Isn't that the dream?   
To them... its seems like I am missing out on a very important part of family life..    but for me, its quite the opposite.  

And it hits me..     it is a dream..  but it isn't my dream.   

Ironically, 
I am usually the one attempting to sway people..    subversively, openly, quietly, ferociously..  its usually me.   I have my own belief about life; about truth, about the definition of virtue.. about who we should be becoming, and what we should pursing..   I have my answers for these things..   

Its a difficult decision to offer a person your approval...  to find meaning and dignity in their own design and perception of existence -  no matter how controversial you might find it.  
Often, I find myself wanting something from a person..   trying them to get to a place in the their mind,  where they see what I see.. or believe the same things about life that I do.    And if they don't..  my tendency is to devalue the meaning and beliefs that they have chosen for themselves.    

I realized that in my own mind...  sometimes, I am assuming people are "missing out"..       and sometimes, people assume that I am missing out.  
But the reality is,  no one is missing anything
 We are simply here.    Living by the terms that we have agreed to ourselves.   

To offer that recognition to another person is a great gift.
To become an advocate..  of living a life..    no matter how it seems.. 
 
I learned that today.    On the tailgate... eating tacos. 




Andrew Tipton



Thursday, January 8, 2015

Swimmer


The ocean needs swimming
like
the night needs rest,
rock, paper, goodness,
every time,  takes the win,
because
the only reason for any of this
must be somewhere inside you
where
you found out
you believe
it. 
even in January,




Andrew Tipton


Saturday, January 3, 2015