In A Park On The Shores Of Lake Michigan

At 3 a.m. on a bench in a park on the shores of Lake Michigan,
I wrote a poem to my former love.
It poured out of me and had me crying for a few minutes upon completion.
The tears eventually dried up,
Acceptance of that lost love settled inside of me,
As the cold breeze of the lake hit me.

I laid out on a picnic table with my sleeping pad and sleeping bag,
Seeking to rest my exhausted heart and body.
As I was dozing off, a raindrop hit my forehead.
I awoke, looking up into the once star filled sky,
Now covered with the looming clouds of a storm.

Rain poured down from the heavens,
Drenching myself, my sleeping pad, my sleeping bag, and my motorcycle.
I packed up my things, rode my motorcycle across the street to a McDonalds,
Wet, shivering cold, and tired, I ate breakfast as I waited out the storm.
A couple of hours later,
The storm passed, the sun began to rise,
I rode back to that picnic table and slept.

I awoke to a majestic blue sky,
A gentle breeze, the chirping of birds,
The water from the storm dried up.
I knew I would be okay.

~Raul Felix

Read: The Witch In My Dream
Read: Shards Of Broken Glass Scattered On The Kitchen Floor
Read: She Dances Like A Flame

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My Personal Independence Day

The 4th of July holds a double meaning for me. The most obvious one is the independence of our great nation from those tea taxing Brits. In addition to that, the 4th of July of 2009 was the day I got my personal freedom back. It was my ETS(End Term of Service) day. Civilian types don’t quite understand the large feeling of burden that is lifted off of ones shoulders and soul when they are no longer an indentured servant to the big green machine that is the United States Army.

I had saved up a month of paid leave and was able to go on terminal leave on June 4th. I was still officially part of the Army when I left Fort Lewis, Washington and headed on my motorcycle trip around the United States. One month later, I was in the small town of Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

The day had been rather uneventful, and I was headed to Colorado Springs after spending a couple of nights in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The ride turned out to take longer than expected, so I decided to pick a nice enough looking small town to spend the night at and Pagosa Springs was it.

I walked around town and the locals were gathering for the Independence Day festivities. It was full, but not overwhelmingly so. I had some dinner, then headed to one of the bars, while there someone told me there would be a firework show in about an hour. I attempted to make friends with some people, but no one was interested in me or my story. I sat at the bar drinking a couple of beers alone while watching people dance until the firework show started.

I went outside and found a place to sit to watch the fireworks. I was surrounded by families drinking, eating, and laughing. I sipped on my beer in silence, not attempting to talk to anyone. The fireworks started. I began thinking about how this show was not just for America, but for me specifically. I’m done, its official, I’m out of the Army. The days where I could say being a soldier was my profession were behind me.

No one there knew who I was or what I had done for this country, but it didn’t matter, because I’m sure amongst them there were veterans who had done way more than I have. I thought of the hundreds of missions I went on as a Stryker driver through the streets of Baghdad and Mosul. I started thinking of the soldiers I knew: the ones who didn’t make it back, the ones who mentored me, the ones who smoked my balls off, the ones who were my friends, even the ones I hated. How we each did our part.

The families were in glee of the fireworks. I missed my friends and family from California. I thought about my mom. How she cried her eyes out and gave me an uncountable amount of kisses the day I left for basic training. How she constantly worried about me during my entire time in the Army and was prouder of me than words could describe. I thought about the rest of my family and friends. How each one showed me support in the best way they could. I thought about the drunken bull shit my best friends had to put up from me when I was home on leave. A smile came across my face because there was a lot of it and it was piled high.

There were couples holding each other. I thought about the various women I had been with that I had met during my time in. Yet one woman consumed my thoughts, my only ex-girlfriend. I thought about how we met, how she became the first woman I ever truly loved, and how we had a roller-coaster of a relationship amplified by my alcoholism and her drug use. One which had its bitter fall out when it ended while on one of my deployments to Iraq. I didn’t feel hatred at that moment, but rather loneliness, for it would have been wonderful to embrace her at that very moment as the night sky filled with brightness.

The fireworks ended. People clapped and cheered. I sat there in silence. Everyone was celebrating our freedom; I was celebrating regaining mine. It was over. It was a wild four and a half years. Years that will never escape me. I sat there as an invisible visitor, in a town whose very existence I learned of only a few hours earlier. Just like the Army, once I would leave, it wouldn’t feel the difference. I wondered if I truly was ready to take on the real world. I left the Army, the same way I joined it, alone.

~Raul Felix

“What else can you tell us about the military?” That there are a bunch of whores of housewives in it: The Military’s Parasite Problem

The Gay Meth Story

“Okay guys, I’m in a very shady situation right now and I’m going to ride it out and see where it goes. If you guys don’t hear from me in a couple of days, I’m in Cortez, CO with some dude named Carl.” I typed into a mass text I sent out to a few of my friends and cousins. I was laying on a couch in the living room of a ranch in the backwoods of Colorado attempting to sleep fully dressed and wearing my steel toe boots and my hard knuckle riding gloves while grasping a 12 inch long wrench, ready to strike in case I was attacked in the middle of the night. “How the fuck do I get myself into these situations?” I think to myself.

In order to celebrate my new found freedom and release from the clutches of Uncle Sam, in the summer of 2009, I decided to take a 2 1/2 month motorcycle trip around the United States.

Three weeks into the journey, I was riding through the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona after having seen the Grand Canyon earlier that day. The scorching Arizona heat made it feel like I was riding through a giant hair dryer while sitting inside a hot oven. As I began to lose myself in my thoughts, thinking about life and how awesome I am, off in the horizon I saw two huge, distinctly shaped rocks. As I rode up closer to them I knew I had to picture whore it and capture my ugly mug with them. Luckily, a man was hanging out there.

As I pulled up, his dog took an interest in me and came up to me. I started petting him, then the man came up in a friendly matter. I introduced myself and he introduced himself as “Carl” I then asked him to take a picture of me. Afterwards, he eyed the license plate on my motorcycle.

Carl: “Washington? What are you doing all the way done here?”

Raul: “I just got out of the Army and I was stationed in Fort Lewis. I’m taking a motorcycle trip around the US to celebrate.”

Carl: “That sounds pretty neat. Where are you headed tonight?”

Raul: “I’m not sure, I’m trying to make it to Four Corners tomorrow, so I’m going to ride as far as I can and probably camp out somewhere.”

Carl: “I wouldn’t suggest camping out here, there are a lot of snakes and other nasty stuff. You should get a motel.”

A more innocent time.

A more innocent time.

We talked for a couple of minutes, during that time he informed me that the name of the rock formation I was looking at was known as the Elephant Feet. The time to leave came, so I shook his hand, thanked him, and rode off not thinking much else of the event. I rode for an hour as the sun started to set. By that time I was starving and had seen on my map there was a small town called Kayenta on the way. A whole day of riding the heat had caused my jeans to drenched in my ball sweat and I’m sure I smelled like it too. I had camped out the previous night after getting drunk off of my ass and had only taken a baby wipe bath. The idea of camping out for another night in the unforgiving Arizona heat without a shower seemed rather unappealing. The snakes thing didn’t really bug me, but nonetheless, I decided I would try to find a motel after getting some chow.

I got to the lifeless town of Kayenta right as the sun sets. I drive through a strip mall, hoping to find a restaurant that is open. Just as I decide on one, a car pulls up next to me; it was Carl.

Carl: “Hey! Did you find a place to stay yet?”

Raul: ”No, I was going to get to some fucking food first.”

Carl: “Well, I just thought about it… if you would like you can sleep on my sofa. I live about an hour up the road.”

Raul: “Sure, thanks, but let me get some food first.”

My personal philosophy for travel was and is still is to accept a free place to stay whenever I can as a way to save money and also meet people. This wouldn’t be the first time a random person offered me a place to stay, so I did so without giving it much thought. An hour may seem like a pretty far ride, but when you’re surrounded by the nothings of the hot, unforgiving desert, it’s not too much of a compromise.

We got to a small town on the south west corner of Colorado called Cortez. Carl explained to me that he had to go visit his friend first and pick her up. So I followed him to her trailer home and what came out was an old, witch looking woman whose face looked like its seen many wife beatings and possibly works as a bargain priced prostitute.

Carl then informed me that he had to go to another friends house to pick something up. We entered into this house where there were three shady looking rednecks. Carl made small talk and then exchanged money with them and took something. That’s when I became a little paranoid.

Raul: “What are you buying?”

Carl: “Coke, you want some?”

Raul: “No, I’m good.” Thoughts of bailing out of this situation immediately occurred to me. I may be an overindulgent social drinker, but I don’t fuck with that shit.

They complete their black market transaction and then we’re off to Carl’s house. Carl’s house was a surprisingly nice ranch home surrounded by about two or three acres of land. Then we get to the foot steps of the door, which is covered with license plates from various different states. It was quite cool, actually. I then walk into his house and am shocked to see to the most random collection of junk that I have ever witnessed in my life. The wall is plastered with random paintings, trophy bucks, hub caps, pictures, animal bones, chains, tools, and those weird radios from the 80’s that had little black and white TVs on them. Just an overall array of weird shit. It was kind of cool.

Villa de Carl.

Villa de Carl.

I sit down and start making small talk with Carl and his Rita Repulsa like friend. Then he pulls out a strange looking glass pipe which Rita Repulsa and him start smoking out of. Even someone as ignorant about drugs as me could take an educated guess and deduct it was a Meth pipe. Having to always be sure, I asked.

Raul: “What is that?”

Carl: “Meth…” as he pulls it into his lungs and exhales, “Want some?”

Raul: “Uh… no, that’s not my thing.”

Again panic sets in internally. I contemplate an escape route and how to leave this situation. Yet, I justify to myself, that he hasn’t done anything wrong to me directly. He’s been a pretty nice guy and over all not bad, hell, he was nice enough to offer me expensive coke and meth. I bet that’s what Ted Bundy’s victims thought also.

I’m still covered in my own ball sweat from the last couple of days of travel and I ask to use the shower. I also need to take a shit, so being the smart and hygienic guy I am, I shit before I shower. As I drop my little brown kids off at the pool, I notice there is a basket full of magazines and I start thumbing through them. Something peculiar caught my eye, there were randomly cut outs in the pages wherever the current generic, hot, young stud actor would have been. I put it back and finish up. I walk into the shower, turn around and look into the mirror in front of it. Then I see it. Pictures. Pictures of naked men cut out from Homo-Hustler and of male celebrities taped on the mirror. I pause there in disgust.

“God fucking damn it,” I sigh out lightly. I have nothing against gay people, but it happens a lot to me for some incomprehensible reason that I get hit on by them a lot. “Okay, okay… he hasn’t fucking done anything wrong,” I think to myself in a failing attempt to comfort myself as I take my shower.

Something I'm sure you Navy Seamen are used to.

Something I’m sure you Navy Seamen are used to.

As I come out of the shower the movie The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is playing; yep, he’s totally fucking gay. I’m tired as fuck and want to go to sleep, but withstand it and watch the movie. After the movie, Rita Repulsa and him go upstairs to his bedroom and I lay to sleep on the couch of his living room. Just as I am about to doze to sleep, I get a text message from him.

“Do you want some… attention?” It says.

OH FUCK NO! I think to myself in my panic. “Carl! Carl! I’m good man!” I yell out to him up the stairs.

“Alright,” he responds with a disappointed tone in his voice.

I’m sure this backwoods homo isn’t going to try anything, but in case he does, I begin to prepare. I change back from my shorts into my jeans and repack all my stuff into my saddlebags. I put on my steel toe motorcycle boots, hard knuckle riding gloves, and dig through his random assortment of shit and grab a 12 inch long wrench. Right before I lay back down to sleep, I send out a mass text to my friends letting them know generally where I am in case I go missing. Some immediately respond and I calm their nerves down. While others don’t because they assumed I was probably drunk.

It was a harrowing, restless night with every insignificant noise waking me up into kill homo-rapist with a wrench mode. Luckily and anti-climatically, the great battle to the death for my assholes virginity never occurred and Carl didn’t attempt anything.

The next morning he was working on a construction project on his home by the time I woke up. I thanked him for hospitality, got on my bike, and rode on to my next victory over life and death.

~Raul Felix

Please Sir, may I have another? YES! Read: The Pick-Up Follies: The Gimp