When I sneeze
I think of my Father,
remembering the conversation we had
while standing in the kitchen
some years ago.
He had just had a sudden fit
resulting in a few consecutive sneezes
that triggered memories for me
about a period during the Summer of 2009
when I was using heavy amounts
of benzodiazepines and psilocybin
on a regular basis (as in, daily),
and I would frequently go into episodes
where I’d sneeze upwards of ten times.
I told Dad that the type of powerful synchronicity
which I was experiencing back during that stage
had, among many other beautiful revelations,
led me to believe that one day
I will die as I sneeze
in a type of ecstatic spiritual orgasm
that returns my consciousness back to Source.
A few days later, our kitchen conversation sparked me
to write the first scene in the book,
The Awakening of Numa, involving its main character
having a spiritual epiphany brought on by a sneeze
that illuminated dormant pathways in the pineal gland
and opened the psyche up to the crystalized geometrical
foundation upon which all physical reality is formed.
Now that my Dad has passed on
to the next incarnation of his soul’s journey,
I am able to connect with him
through a mindful meditation
each time I get a tickle in my nose
and Achoo my way a little closer to meeting him again in Heaven.
– A poem written on August 11, 2015 at Mountain Park. My Father and I spent hundreds of hours together there when I was a child. I go there often still and write these things. Once it was baseball I played. Now I do the work of The Word.
Revenge…is not important. Winning is. The here and now. This. What has come before cannot be changed. But a bright and shiny future that potentially lies ahead can be grasped and seized in a few short hours. Just what in the hell am I talking about? UGA vs ‘Bama, of course. It’s Saturday, baby, and, hot damn!, it’s time for a battle of titans upon the gridiron.
Three years ago Georgia had its heart ripped out as the game of the season ended with the clock expiring after a completed catch inside the 5-yard line on a drive that could have propelled them into the National Championship Game. Dreams of exorcising the demons that still haunt the program from that near miss can be fulfilled by taking care of business against an Alabama team that already has one early season loss and so will likely be geared up and ready to play their hearts out. I imagine it’s going to be a nasty, brutal contest that is determined by the big men in the trenches. The forecast is for rain, so it could also very well be sloppy in Athens when the game kicks off. Sweet Jesus, this one has the potential to be an instant classic. I just hope that this time things turn out a little sweeter in the end.
The following is an excerpt from my book “Raw Electric” which I was writing back in 2012 at the time of the last game between these two storied programs. This piece came out hot while the woe was still heavy on my heart…
It’s around 3:30 in the morning. Home after picking up the first round of papers from the warehouse in Decatur. One more roundtrip to make. Georgia lost to Alabama 32-28 last evening. Exhausted. Devastating. Gut punch. Georgia took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a TD pass from Aaron Murray to the tight end Lynch. Georgia’s defense had a goal line stand on the ensuing drive which culminated with Cummings intercepting a pass in the end zone. The offense quickly went three and out and gave the ball right back, whereupon Alabama tied up the game. Then Murray threw an interception late in the second quarter which Alabama returned into Georgia territory. From there, they used the final minute to get in position for a short field goal which took them into the half with a 10-7 lead. Georgia came out with a fire lit under their ass in the third quarter, receiving the opening kickoff and, behind the efforts of freshman running back Todd Gurley, driving all the way down the field to score a touchdown. 14-10 lead and then things got even better. Alabama drove down the field but stalled out, and Washington broke through the offensive line to block a field goal attempt which took a beautiful Sunday hop on a Saturday night right into the hands of Ogletree. He broke away from the pack and took it to the house. 21-10 now and we could start to smell a trip to the national championship. But not so fast. The defense which had just been on the field an excruciatingly long time before the big block had to go right back out there. And the bleeding began. Gashes. Slashes. Both Alabama running backs ended the night with over 150 yards rushing. And this drive is when they started their damage. Straight down the field taking out huge chunks. Touchdown before you could even blink. Momentum shifted back to them. They ram in a two-point conversion on a dive play up the gut and the score is 21-18. Georgia receives the kickoff, goes three and out again, has to punt back, and Alabama repeats their previous drive, slamming it down Georgia’s throat. Bang, bang, bang, touchdown. Alabama back up 25-21. Georgia is resilient though and answers back. Quickly. A long bomb to Tavarres King from Murray and then Gurley on a couple of powerful runs results in a touchdown to put Georgia back on top 28-25. Alabama has an answer of their own. Aided by a fifteen yard personal foul penalty on the ensuing kickoff, they begin their drive around their own 40 and quickly ram the ball into Georgia territory before hitting a bomb, beating Swann deep, and scoring to go back up 32-28. Seesawing back and forth. Georgia goes three and out again. The story of the game. The defense just got worn down and was never able to truly rest. But they have a gut check and stop Alabama, forcing a punt. Around three minutes left in the fourth quarter at this point. Georgia gets the ball at their own 20. Murray drops back and is sacked; the drive stalls out before it ever began. They punt again. 2 minutes and 17 seconds left in the game as Alabama has the ball and Georgia has two time outs remaining. One first down ends the game. But the Georgia defense, tired as beaten dogs, comes up stout once more and forces Alabama to punt again. Georgia fair catches at the 8-yard line with around one minute on the clock and no time outs. Down by 4 with a trip to the national championship hanging in the balance. A couple of first downs moves the ball to around the thirty. And then an interception. It’s all over. But wait! The play is reviewed. Did the ball touch the turf? After a long delay while watching the replay half a dozen times we learn that, yes, it did. Call overturned. Incomplete pass. A miracle! A reprieve! Around 40 seconds left in the game. Murray hits King down the middle to get it to around Alabama’s 40 yard line. Clock stops to move the chains. Spike the ball, I scream! Spike the fucking ball! But no, Murray allows ten seconds to click off before he yells hut. He scrambles up in the pocket and hits Lynch down the middle of the field. My God, he’s dragging a man on his back for ten extra yards before going down. He’s at the eight yard-line. Fifteen seconds remain. Clock stopped while the chains are moved yet again. Spike the ball, I beg, I plead, I cry, I scream. But no, the clock ticks down to 10 before it’s hiked. Murray takes a three step drop and tries to throw a fade route to Malcolm Mitchell in the back right corner of the end zone. But the ball is tipped at the line and somehow flops right down into the receiver Conley’s arms. Don’t catch it, I implore! But he does as he falls down at the five yard line. Five seconds on the clock. No timeouts. Four. Three. Two. One. The buzzer. It’s over. Just like that. Kill the lights. No one’s coming home tonight. Ugh. Why didn’t Murray spike the ball on first down at the eight and huddle up to potentially get three shots at the end zone? We will never know. We will ask this question forevermore. Yet it is what it is. And it is over. Now I will head back into the warehouse for a second time and pick up the rest of the papers. Then I’ll return back here and, if the sun is close to rising, I will go deliver them. If not, I might pass out and sleep awhile. So it goes.
Okay…flashback over…cold sweats purged…now it’s time to witness a new chapter being added to the story…with a win, one hopes, for the good guys…
Scott Thomas Outlar
2 thoughts on “Sneezing a Path Back to Source”
Scott, I appreciate you. I appreciate your poetry, I appreciate your candid journal entries that you share here, and I appreciate you — as a human being, as a human becoming. Didn’t want to miss the chance to say that today. Salaam.
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That means a lot to me, Laura, especially coming from you. I think that you are an exemplar of how poets and artists should support and encourage each other’s work. Your efforts are greatly appreciated in the community. Selah
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