Drew T. Noll © 2022, all rights reserved

Monday, November 7, 2022

Seed

There’s a knowing left under the world that reminds me of me. I think it sometimes, this knowing, but it leaves soon thereafter, spitting nonsense into my memory of it being. The life it left always tilts my reservoir of love but never touches my lips up, never begs to begin. I sing, I dance, slamming it out unseen, but always tasting the wishing in which it began ~ image: Etrog in Space, 10-2016 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Snake

The alarm split my head open as it went off. My new phone wasn’t normalized yet, and school had just started for the year. It was loud and shocking, but my day needed to begin, nevertheless. Swimming through tasks uncompleted and filling all of my inboxes, I awoke and shuffled towards my morning routine—bathroom, dressing in the dark, tip-toeing downstairs to awaiting animals … feeding, coffee, and contemplation of things to come. Fat ran into the house when I opened the back door, our friendly neighborhood cat, instead of sauntering through my legs for food as I tripped in the dark out onto the back deck. It was strange. I saw Pizza hesitate on the deck-rail, his front paw fluttering as if testing the air for safety. But, with a clink and a spatter, the cat food landed into the metal bowls secured to the kitchen window-sill with wooden cut-out frames and Super-7.

I returned to the kitchen to begin to feed the dogs, Roxie and Dude, scooped Dude’s food kernels with a different plastic cup and then spun to fill his bowl on the deck. Fat jumped onto the window-sill and greedily ate at the same time, but Pizza was still paralyzed on the rail. Dude wolfed into his chow, as is normal, his senses old and reduced to only taste and smell. And, Roxie was already gone, having run around the corner after more neighborhood cats that often come to call—usually, hence, returning to guard her food-bowl and, of course, to growl.

I measured her kernels into the bottom of the cup, swirled it for effect, and returned to the deck. She was still nowhere in sight, which is often the case as she gets wind of usurper cats waiting beyond the fence.  I bent, and watched the kernels fall from my hand, swirling out of the plastic cup and into the bowl, metal clinking to a stop—Roxie’s last meal. She saved me from imminent death, Roxie did, as I came to suspect. I bent, the spill of kernels spaced out in time, falling to the swirl of the bowl, the bottom of gravity cascading down, and around…

Hisssssss… jumped at me. Behind the dog's water bowl, full from the day before, laid a snake with poison fangs. The last kernel fell into the metal bowl and twirled on its end, as I watched fangs leap out across the meter between… I reeled in my mind, a swear word careened from my mouth, loud, muffled, and I stumbled back over my own roots. 

It glistened in the morning air, a viper digesting a recent kill. Quickly, Fat left. Then I grabbed Pizza off the rail. I threw him into the house, and then scooped my big dog Dude from around his belly, trying not to hurt his tumors as I lifted him and flew him in, too. I shut the door and raced across the house to open the screen at the front—then thought I saw the blur of Roxie coming in, followed by Luna the black cat, which disappeared upstairs with a bleating meow.

The snake catchers arrived from Atlit, after a brief call. All business … they captured the endangered animal, with a trash-claw and a bucket. We all joked about how it would be released back into the wild, next to our home, then come calling again… ha ha ha ha… Then I walked to work through the nature reserve next to our house.

On a break between classes, my phone began to scream. It was subtle, but insistent, ending in Roxie’s head being swollen and obscene. She had been bitten by the snake, my wife said in the text. I was in shock. I ran into my next class and began to teach vocabulary and connectors, but I actually can’t remember…

Hours became days, and then the day stopped. Roxie swelled up and her brain stopped too. Her blood pooled and then she stopped living; and then she decided to go. We all kept her alive with our love, for a day or two, as she perked up every time family would call, wanting to grow back to normal, chasing cats and growling next to her bowl, loving, just … so deeply, the life she had found…

In memory, and in blessing to all for a meaningful new year, full of promise and accomplishment, may you be written into the book of health and astounding life…

Shabbat shalom

(to read about Roxie's young life and start, please read here: https://israel-travel-secrets.com/beach-blanket-puppy/)

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Into the Woods

Separated by the Rocky Mountain range of craggy peaks, I was forced to reinvent myself by the sheer fact that I was physically cut-off from my past; I had to rely upon the foundation that had been set down by ancestors who once had moved west. I moved east and landed in Colorado, then perched onto the foundation of a suburban home built the year I was born. There, I began to search for work … and three years in I began again to paint. After stints splinted with real estate, museum work, and cabinet making, I carved into my suburban home a woodworking studio for days and a painting studio by night. Hence, after tucking my freshly bathed jammy-clad boys into bed with a story read between lines, pages skipped in anticipation, and then with a parting kiss to the lips of my love, I disappeared down below the earth into a basement brightened with paint to light up dreams of doorways invented to ascend.

I built there a tiny staircase with a curving rail up through a hole in the wall leading into an unseen garage, my woodworking studio by day and a place to dwell above ground by night. My suburban bi-level began to transform and to morph into its own, during daylight building cabinets, but at night spray-painting dreams to create jet-ways into the unknown. From table-saw to router, with some hand-tools in between, my mind would leap from paint in the basement to ornamentation above. Built, mortised, and finished upon the ground, with gold-leaf spread around and between, I spent my nights traveling between worlds, one above ground and the other seeking the light from far down below, but mostly unseen.

My boys grew while my worldview shrunk. But, I found that I was able to survive and almost thrive, and regardless of numbers and inherent fears, a business was formed—built in summer with winters too cold. So, built more I did, cloistering up, into the sky with a loft in my woodshop to look out from with a ladder leading below—I left a dimension and time, leaving behind the clutches of foundations built. I had parted from my past-life in California and built my dreams on my own. In suburban Colorado I built it alone, with no way to be heard, internet only a dream, I built from anew a worldview unshared and painstakingly unsung.

I coached soccer for my first-born, attending teacher-meetings for my second; I evolved and developed into a parent each day, LEGOs on the carpet, museums for learning, and teaching about bikes; playing Airsoft in the day, but by night descending—seeking, expecting to rise up again nightly via a staircase through the wall, I painted in oil-cosmic, and the nights slipped together into still. By catching a ride in the dark on the waves passing by, I remained to myself tangible, quite possibly alive, and my mind was able to soar. At least that is what I told myself. Really, I was completely lost in a foreign land with a foreign alibi. Who was I fooling, anyway? I left California because I was tired of holding on to something that had died many years before. I needed something new, something strange, something obtuse and prickling in order to live. The world I had known wasn’t ever real, wasn’t ever anything that could manifest a footing. It was a world overrun, that I lived in, with too many other things, hollow things, devolving. The cultural condition in California had mutated, for me, into something grand and bulbous, a sore toe tripping forward, so with almost no choice left, I left it.

My father grew up there, in the sunny state of California, his father too, all watching the place breed and spout, spreading a sort of cancer with a vintage tin watering can haphazardly onto dreams dreamt, and then packed away out of sight—into crates perfectly fitting produce produced in the dark. I left California with a brother from Laguna on one side and from Israel a brother-in-law on the other. We slept one more time 15 stories above ground in a rent-controlled apartment on the L.A. shore, above the ignoble chaos my mind depicted way down below. My head was made up and I had to leave, the place I loved from generations before had spit my soul out in order that my body should follow. And we went east… 

Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Scream

I want to scream every time I think about relieving myself. What is this damn machine I’ve been stuck between?! My cells are conspiring, my path is obscured, and my teeth need to be cleaned?! It’s just not fair that I signed on for a life-changing path, a cairn or cornerstone to admire in pathetic undertones of the unknown. There is a plan, I feel in the soul of what I brought with me, but the feet of this thing I ride in have another design entirely. There are vibrations propelling me into this strange and viscous place, time dilating then expanding and becoming null and void because of its birth, because of mine being me…

I spew forth matter that has no relevance, not matter at all. What matters is the meaning behind the expulsion of fluids, the excrement left behind in this world of ‘no matter.’ Whatever… I chose it, supposedly, when I was under the duress of wonder, wandering in a place I can no longer remember. So, the corner of chaos that I once knew no longer exists, and just rots in my memory floating about and stinking to high heaven. It’s not about that, I know… but, holy hell—it sticks to this skin as I expulse the refuse clinging to its core, forevermore... At least that’s what I think when I think of it, the being that began before—there is really nothing more.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Post Conceptualism

We have built our mind’s eye to the point of blindness. There are a few coughs and spasms, still, but in essence we have moved onto a realm where each individual is aware, and pissed off at the world’s refractory-insanity. We believe in mankind and at the same time we spit in its general direction, all the while stuck between what we think and what we believe. We laugh at ourselves, but not really, begging a question between what was funny and what we now see. The corporate shadow engulfs us all, money begging our attention, yet we know deep inside that once upon a time a soul moved the entire scene. We are all blinded by our own enterprise, blinded into knowing, and totally unable to see. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Conversion Court

My background is a secular one, but as a child having been surrounded by quite a few churches strewn about. When I was very little, however, there was a time when we were forced to go to Sunday school; we were disturbed by every moment of it. It was a different era, you see, where children were seen but not heard. So, I guess you can only imagine it if you didn’t share this same experience in some form or another. After coming of age and attending art school, however, my mind told me to push all the limits. Nothing was ‘off the table.’ At least until the year I was propositioned by, both … my favorite female and male teachers, to take our relationship to the next level; not in an obtuse way, mind you, but very respectfully and considerate of my feelings and blossoming desires at the time. Thankfully, I had already met my soul-mate and learned enough under-grad-world-religion to know that I was actually a Jew born into the body of a Goy. I loved growing up as a non-Jew, but not as much as having ultimately found my people-dom.

It’s a complex thing, “people-dom.” I came from a ‘people,’ but I became aware of another, and possibly a more suitable people. I had already traversed Christian theologies, from Episcopalian as a child to Jehovah’s Witnesses as a young adult. I even explored the local Hare Krishna Temple to be sure of my path, but ultimately, after reading from cover-to-cover my father’s (exploration into other realms in collage) Khumash, I found something that resonated with my soul. The Five Books of Moses spawned everything in the western world, I told myself at the time. The underlying philosophy of Judaism didn’t attempt to deny or omit other faiths, I told myself at the time. And, at the time, I was ready to build the world into something that made sense to me, and (I told myself at the time) could maybe make sense to others.

I converted to Judaism in LA. My parents came to support me. I dunked under the water and came out anew as I connected to the Creator of the Universe using mere words to do so. Then, as I stumbled forward into the unknown, I spent the next 20 years trying to understand the people-dom I had joined. Finally (but not really), I let go of my ego-driven attempt to control my growth in the world … and I moved to the Holy Land only to be dunked again. Then the real metamorphosis began. But, I found myself becoming so far away from my childhood roots that I almost forgot. Yes, then the world submerged into corona-lock-down and I had space to remember. I visited my brother last week, whose children are steeped in Baptist theology, and I broke bread with my uncle Bob (yes, Bob’s my uncle), and I listened to the faith and love they espoused. I could finally listen and be comforted by their belief in their faith. I could finally understand that we are ‘ALL’ ONE; and, I finally understood, in that moment, something that I hadn't from the beginning. I finally knew that I was a Jew.

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