Savage Addiction

“Springfield Truck 10, respond to XXXX W. XXXXXX St. for a possible J4, with an unsecured domestic situation in progress” “Truck 10 copies, en route. Truck 10 will stage upon arrival, Dispatch, please notify when scene secured by PD” “Truck 10, update, there is no domestic, that was a child crying in the background, this will… Read more »

Under The Sea & Into The Soul

Today Facebook gently reminded me that precisely one year ago I walked into Hearts of Fire Tattoo shop to get some artwork committed to my body. It’s my take on a mermaid kissing an old-school deep sea diver, and while the artwork’s original, the design isn’t; when I first saw it, and saw it in… Read more »

Lift With Your Heart, Not Your Back

One year ago today I wrote this essay right here. It was about embracing your inner weirdo, forging forward through failure and a promise to be by your side as we stumbled through 2016. It was a story not of false hope but that through it all, we’d grow together. And the first chapters of… Read more »

For Every Man, A Sheila

“For last years words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice” TS Elliot   The way he looks at her when we’re talking ABOUT her. The way that he describes his often broken past, the triumphs and shortfalls, his kids, his desire to be in Mexico RIGHT NOW, his unabashed… Read more »

A Muse Me

“Spend your years/ Spend your time/ With all these tears/ Not all were mine”* N. Rateliff, “Thank you” Gratitude and ego. Forever there is a balance to strike, these two dogs growling and circling in our minds, and in equal measure I’ve written about both. And, like lunar cycles, we will all go through phases… Read more »

L’eggo My Ego

SO much good is afloat. So much for which to nod our heads humbly and be grateful. According to something written down somewhere gratitude is one of the highest forms of passion, for the person that lives from a grateful standpoint is one without limits and limiting factors. I think I read that on a… Read more »

Everywhere Signs

Like a scene from some Norman Rockwell painting of the Midwest, I was sitting on the porch stoop enjoying some watermelon while lightning bugs began their twilight mating rituals, tiny Vegas signs beckoning members of the opposite sex with bright lights and the promise of a good time. It should have been more pensive, but… Read more »

To Soar Again For The First Time

“Did she push you off the cliff after taking the picture?”       -“Something like that, but not” “You’re still alive, that’s what matters. Although, knowing you, you’d just figure out how to fly on the way down, anyways.” It was singularly the kindest thing I’d heard in a while from an outside source, but… Read more »

Fire In The Soul & A Heart On The Run

“So, a fireman walks into a tattoo joint called “Hearts of Fire”…..” And thus begins a joke that has never been told. Mostly because it’s not a joke, but partly because the journey, like so many before, is unpredictable at best. It began so long ago, and the path has been so twisted and arduous,… Read more »

Paper Tigers In The Golden Cage

And another Sunday is spent at the firehouse, and with it, the promise of less radio chatter, fewer demands, and more time for the mind to roam across our own plains. Even our usual clientele seems less inclined to dial 911 on this day; it’s as though they are intuitively gearing up for a week of rampant… Read more »

  • From The Foundation Up

    One thing about dangling over the precipice and staring down: you can achieve some real clarity in moments while your brain is scrambling to find a way to survive the fall. I don’t really have the inclination to hang off of a rock cliff to develop direction, so I tend to dangle off the edge… Read more »

  • Heads Up

    “STOP STARING AT THE FLOOR, ULI! HEADS UP!” This, shouted at the gym as I attempted some weird squat-thrust-back-jerk-heaving maneuver. After years of attendance here, you’d think I know better, but….you’d be, well, wrong. If you lift weights while looking at the mats, you betray form and risk injury. Pretty basic. You keep your head… Read more »

  • Language, Please

    “If Only I’d….” There’s an old British adage out there, apparently, that says something like “tomorrow will never be as good as yesterday was.” If that is NOT a British adage, then it should be. That way of looking at life has defined the Lamenter for time immortal, and costs the person dearly, because they… Read more »

  • And I Ain’t Got Wings…

    On one side of the kitchen table, a Lieutenant and the ladder truck driver play backgammon. Over in the recliners the Captain and two other firefighters are engrossed in a show with a marble-mouthed gold miner up in Alaska. There’s a firefighter holed up in the office likely watching shows about home renovation or obscure… Read more »

  • Go With The Grain

    “I just want to help” Every firefighter, every service member among us, has uttered those words at one time or another. So when she told me she was moving to a new house, my first reaction was to try and help, but we weren’t there anymore. Firemen are often said to be strong of back… Read more »

  • To Be Alive, Again

    “I feel like I just came alive.”  Those were the first words spoken as our young patient was brought back from dancing perilously close to death from an overdose. These were followed up, somewhat amusingly, by: “Am I in the Matrix?”, and the ensuing confused fury that can often result shortly after being revived in… Read more »

  • Hi There, Been Awhile

    This is the first essay I’ve written for Half Past Awesome in far too long. I walked away from the concept because I’d lost my own way and direction. Writing is a passion that allows me to convey the trainwreck of words in my brain slightly more lucidly, and having ignored it, the figurative locomotives… Read more »

  • May We All Get To Heaven Before The Devil Knows We’re Dead

    This story ends with children in a bar on a school night. It begins in a much more benign fashion, though. Also, bagpipes play a central role. Outside of a grizzly crime involving lottery scams, one armed pimps and an illegal chinchilla fighting ring, it really has it all. St. Patricks Day isn’t one of… Read more »

  • Vaarwel Mijn Geliefde Vader

    I should be happy that you’ve been released from the demons of this life that haunted you for so long. I should feel a burden lifted from my shoulders that your long and arduous journey is done. In my mind you left this world, my world, years ago, one of your medical conditions prompting a… Read more »

  • Farewell, Sir.

    When the phone call arrives from my mother on a weekday morning, the news is seldom good. “Uli, it’s Mom….” her voice trailing off, with a muted sob. “What is it Ma? What’s going on?”  “Well, the news is bad; Grandpa died this morning.”  At the firehouse, after all that has transpired this year, it… Read more »