Thursday, December 31, 2015

Counting down to...

Not a single given.

Image via wastedrita

About a couple things maybe

And they are considerably big box regrets, but otherwise...


New Years Eve 2015

There was this... story?  Yes, a story, back from when I was a kid.  It said that down in the Mississippi Delta, around New Orleans... when there is a heavy, heavy rain, the coffins of the dead people too poor to be interred in one of those big stone boxes above ground, often rise up and burst through the mud, spilling their contents... The remains, having decompensated and decomposes a bit while it lay, awaiting the next big rain apparently, spills onto the ground.

Hello New Orleans.  We're back.

Hello 2015.

Hello MacGregor.

2015 has been a year of downpours.  This has been the year when my past lives, long buried in muddy plots below sea level, came back up to the surface and spilled some unpleasant truths back into my life.  You just can't keep a good nightmare down and this year it was more than our old pal Jesus getting resurrected at Easter.  And Independence Day.  Thanksgiving.  Christmas was a fucking fright. 

Hello sexual abuse.

Hello violence.

Hello depression.

Hello addiction.

Hello Divorce.

Hello PTSD.

So I can't sit here this year, as I've done in the past, and tap out an introspective or sentimental screed.  I am kind of pissed off and grieving and no-fucking-where near the acceptance stage yet.  That could take a bit.  I'm done fighting.  I'm done kicking my own ass.  But that doesn't mean there is no resentment.  That pot could simmer for a spell before it gets dumped at the curb.  Until then I am feeding on the leftovers. 

This is a day also when I'm not going to fake it until I make it and write a gratitude list.  There is plenty to be grateful for but it can sit there and gather some dust for a day.  I am going to Grinch this one. 

Fuck you.

(Writing that felt far better than it should.)

So yah.  Fuck you. 

Happy fucking New Year, kids.  I do wish everyone the best, or even just something that doesn't really suck, because I've had times where that would have been enough.

Stay safe.

Ugh

Not that I'm so big on resolutions, but...

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Leela James


I keep on scribblin' scribblin'

In the spare room I'm livin' in...



I keep on writin' writin'
But folks ain't bitin' bitin'

Yah, I get it.  

Surrender

I'm Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our Chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Ta Hool Hool Shute is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are - perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my Chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever. 
Chief Joseph - Thunder Traveling to the Loftier Mountain Heights - 1877


Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce upon surrendering... Upon realizing that a new world was coming, despite all his efforts to preserve his world as he knew it.  There were forces at play well beyond his ability to sustain the battle.  Giving in to these forces, as a tree limb bends under the weight of a heavy snow, was the only way.  

Some time ago, facing similarly overwhelming odds in my personal life, I relented to the weight.  I gave in to change.  No amount of will or ego was going to make the old road viable.  The measure of a man is often in his acceptance of limitations.

Again, in my life, I am at odds with my desire to preserve life on my own terms.  I am weary.  I have defeated myself in battle.  It can't continue.  From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.

A bit of melodrama?  Maybe.  Let's add to it with a bit of Robert Frost.

When was it ever to the heart of a man, to go with the flow of things, and bow and accept the end of a love or a season?

NY Eve Eve Climate


Leave it to the creeps on the MTA to have the air conditioners cranking ice on the B Train this morning, but if stupid shit didn't happen, it wouldn't be New York, would it?  C'est la vie.  

There really isn't much to say today.  Someone recently suggested writing more but that's easier said than done.  It's more of an itch with me than anything resembling a discipline.  If the itch isn't there, what's to scratch?  

Write daily anyway.

Something.

Anything.  

There used to be a personal blog space called 750 Words.  The idea was to sign on every morning and hammer out the first 750 words that come to your head.  It was a sort of FitBit for the brain.  You set daily, weekly and monthly goals and the software keeps track of everything for you.  
I signed on and never bothered to go beyond that.  To the best of my recollection there wasn't even a single entry.  It's not that there was no writing going on at all.  It was all in fits and starts and in other media though.  

And I copped a resentment about the daily reminders of how far away I was from the goal.  That is typical of me. 

I'm right on the brink of pulling the trigger on a very, very big decision.  The smirk in the photo above isn't representative of my demeanor.  This one is heartbreaking.  After painstaking consideration of my financial (and other) circumstances, I had to admit to myself last night that I no longer have the time or resources to give my dog, Jane, the proper love and care she needs and deserves.  It's hard enough to keep a roof over my own head, but now with nobody to watch her during the day, and not being able to keep up with her veterinary care, the right decision is painfully obvious.  She needs a real home.  

My eyes are filling while I type this.  People all told me what a wonderful thing I was doing when I adopted her in 2011, but there is a bigger story.  In the Spring of 2011 I was unemployed and swirling around the porcelain bowl of depression.  Caring for Jane, who was seriously ill at the time, gave me a focus outside my own circumstances and we healed together through the rest of the year and beyond.  I am the "rescue human."   

Now a few years down the road and her needs have lessened somewhat but even routine vet care is more than I can manage at the moment.  Evan won't be home to care for her all day.  She deserves so much more.  Smile or not, and it is a wistful smile, my heart is heavy. 

And for the moment, I don't even want to write more.  I just want to sit and be and breathe.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Consolations



ANGER is the deepest form of compassion, for another, for the world, for the self, for a life, for the body, for a family and for all our ideals, all vulnerable and all, possibly about to be hurt. Stripped of physical imprisonment and violent reaction, anger is the purest form of care, the internal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for. What we usually call anger is only what is left of its essence when we are overwhelmed by its accompanying vulnerability, when it reaches the lost surface of our mind or our body’s incapacity to hold it, or when it touches the limits of our understanding. What we name as anger is actually only the incoherent physical incapacity to sustain this deep form of care in our outer daily life; the unwillingness to be large enough and generous enough to hold what we love helplessly in our bodies or our mind with the clarity and breadth of our whole being.
David Whyte

A bit of nostalgia..


My heart does twists whenever I see an old boombox.  Memories of beatboxers and breakdancers and mix tapes... It was the last big cultural explosion out of ye auld NYC.  New York Fucking City.  Punk was dead.  Hardcore had gone all bridge and tunnel.  Hip Hop was the last revolution to come up out of the asphalt like hot tar on a hot July day.  Things were never the same.  

Reader Correspondence

Anonymous: to many selfies!!!!!!!

Glossophagia:  as soon as I find a cuter motherfucker or a bigger mope than me I will stop.

Caption Contest?


The hills are alive, mit der sounds of muzics!

You clever bastard

The Sky is Crying - Climate

Look at the tears roll down the street...

I am growing weary of talking about the weather. 

Ian Rankin once said that if you are going to write a book about, or set in, Scotland, you have to include the weather, as almost another character.  He said it always factors in somewhere in the story.  It's never a minor player.  The same could be said for New York City.  Our relationship to the weather here becomes part and parcel to not only our day to day travels, but part of out identity.  It is a part of every conversation.  It is too this or too that and we're so astounded on the handful of days that are pleasant that we are compelled to remark on that.  It is the cornerstone of all our interactions.  It is never, ever just there.

It is probably already obvious that I am no exception.  I am up and out at 4:30 a.m. most days and the first 15 minutes are spent letting my thermometer and barometer adjust.  My mood sets accordingly.  Maybe it's a shame to let forces beyond my control hold so much sway over my condition, but that is my condition.  That's how I roll.  Ain't that what the kids say? 

My condition... I was feted last night, along with a fellow traveler, for having accumulated a few 24s.  It felt good to be among friends, and many of the people there are truly friends, really unlike any I've ever had.  It's hard to make and keep friends and keep secrets at the same time.  The latter can often preclude the former.   Anyway, it did feel good mostly.  There was still a part of me though that wasn't really present.  A part of me was off in a psychic room somewhere caressing and nurturing the hurt bits.  Pain and presence aren't exactly besties either.  So I was in a room with friends, with one foot over the threshold of a private room where my stuff lives.

My stuff...

Sometimes it pulses with such a blinding light that I am certain it emanates from my eyes and nostrils.  I hesitate to open my mouth for fear a monstrous death laser will beam forth and incinerate anything in front of me.  I close my eyes and stay silent and it moans inside me with a 60hZ ground hum.  One day the rumble will shake the pins from the door hinges and all my stuff will be released and run roughshod about the city.  My brain says Godzilla, but the reality is probably closer to the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, giant and ludicrous.

Who ya gonna call?

I am weary of my stuff.

Weary of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

Weary of my fear.

Weary of my broken heart.

Weary of my grinding insecurities.

I am weary of my own personal weather.

And the real weather?

Done, but not "over it."  I am still under it.  Of course it beats the alternative and it didn't always feel that way. 

I want to stay in bed and sleep in. 

If I could just get a few more hours of sleep.  If I could just have this or that.

Blah blah.

Selah

WWLD

What would Lemmy do?

Three little words on a mobile phone...


I love that Malcolm Middleton will just go there, to that love song place that most songwriters will dress up in metaphor and flowery artifice.  He just goes in.  There is an emotional honesty in there that is both enviable and painful.  You just know it hurts.  It's cringe-fully obvious where he has traveled.  You can tell from the mud on his shoes.   Write it as it comes.

There's a box full of showergels
I've left around the world
In the toilets and bathrooms I've been
Chips of my youth fallen off along the way
It's been a long time falling down

Fuck it I love you, there you go
Three little words on a mobile phone
When are you coming home?
When are you coming home?
Don't wanna be alone

Been careless with my friends
Even harder on myself
There's a few stars in the sky I've killed
Pieces of my heart broken off along the way
It's been a long time falling down

Fuck it I love you, there you go
Three little words on a mobile phone
When are you coming home?
When are you coming home?
Don't wanna be alone

I'm pretending I'm pretending
That everything's ok
So many masks I'm wearing on my own face
I can feel my toes burning from my deeds along the way
Before you get up you've got to go down

Fuck it I love you, there you go
Three little words on a mobile phone
When are you coming home?
When are you coming home?
Don't wanna be alone

Getting trounced being beaten at every turn
I record my mistakes but I never learn
When are you coming home?
When are you coming home?
Don't wanna be alone

Monday, December 28, 2015

Crystal Meth Under Her Choir Robe -- John Repp

No surprise. Bills to pay, pain to obliterate,
a favor to a friend desperate
for more time before facing facts,
or a reason less beholden to One-day-at-a-time
or I-don’t-know-why or There-is-no-why-
I-just-like-getting-high or Then-Jesus-spoke-to-me
blather. Nothing’s enough, not even the moments
when her voice — any voice, my voice —
vanishes into the Voice the hymn
wrenches from the throats of the spiritual
paupers up there swaying in black satin.
The God of the Garden is the God
of Chemistry, too, a single sniff
in a lifetime proof enough — nothing
can slough errands or heartbreak
so fast into the metaphysical ditch
where all of it belongs. Weren’t we made
for better than the Fall, if Fall this is?
We all see what the Flood keeps doing.
A little while dry, please, a little while
with no chattering chimp between
the ears & the Wizard once more in Oz.
This is my mind, not hers. She’s a story
I heard. I’m a story I can’t stop hearing.
A plastic tarp in a monsoon may be
her future. A plush ride home to havoc.
A vision that delivers her from want,
deserving or not.

Erosion

“i am
afraid
that if
i open
myself
i will not stop
pouring. (why do i fear becoming
a river. what mountain
gave me such shame.)”
—Jamie Oliveira ‪

I would do anything for love

The Climate - Depressing but still enjoyable..


Words from a loved one about my missives here...

So lest I be misconstrued, here is a photo of me smiling.

Really!

The sun peaked out for about 20 minutes today, and what better place to catch every second of it than Central Park?

This venue was never intended to be a bestiary of the mythical creatures that haunt the expanse behind my eyes.  It must seem so, especially recently, as I struggle to identify and name them.  It must be stressed, however, that it only tells part of the story.  It does take reminders sometimes that my life is fairly perfectly balanced with glad tidings, to pick a phrase that suits the season, and gnawing rodents that threaten to undermine my foundation.  I have not always been so fortunate but it would be grossly dishonest to characterize my life as unlucky.  

I am just getting through some things.

Not going through.

Getting through.

With a lot of love and support.

I am going to continue with this digital exorcism if only to mark progress.  It aids my travels, and having received e-mails from a few people currently in programs and long-term TCs, maybe it is helping them along too.  That is a gift to me.  We can all cross this bridge if we stick together.

Perspective


Maybe over-simplified but I get it.  I'm only really hung up on #2.  Everything means something, however great or small the meaning.  Our tendency is still to make up a story, based on what we think it means, or what we want it to mean.

Overall, though...

Find the Panda

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Climate

Another gray, gray day.  Fifty shades of gray and that really does pertain to the weather.  Mostly.  There has been only one sunny day, to the best of my recollection, in several weeks.  That does wear on the spirit and casts a pall over any possibility of emotional restoration.  Not to say that is impossible but it is doubtful that anyone is untouched despite holiday celebrations.

I am still caught in a moment, standing in the middle of my living room in the midst of the wreckage of unmanageable possessions.  I am tempted but still too much in shock to post photos.  Much of it went to the curb already anyway, where the lion's share was collected within hours by other people caught up in the fever of accumulation.  Christmas Day and families who only just unwrapped new stuff, were out scavenging for more on their way home from sortees with new bicycles and scooters and hover boards and stuff.

Possessed by possessions.  More than I could handle.  More than I could use or even keep properly clean.  So much I have been overwhelmed and hiding from it.  Hiding from my possessions and other unmanageable things.  What did I ever think it would all do for me while I was dragging it back to... I was about to write "my home" but it has only been home to my belongings. 

I am still too much in shock to feel any sense of being unburdened.  Maybe there is still too much.  The jury is out.  It all feels like wreckage. I have been avoiding the wreckage.

There is a chance moving forward to lighten the load both literally and metaphorically speaking.  Today though it feels like... the onset of a detox.  An adrenaline hangover.  A groping, wheedling, cajoling sadness. 

Or maybe it's the weather but not likely.  We start the recovery journey addressing one facet of the unmanageability but it really is the tip of the iceberg.  I got derailed somewhere.  I can almost trace it back to a specific point where I got tired of hearing that God has a plan and that there is a reason for anything and everything happening.  A couple deaths.  A few personal hurdles that I stumbled and faceplanted on.  And I withdrew and lost momentum. 

Not all revelations are a splendorous light coming from above.  Some roll in from behind and tear at the flesh on the backs of your legs.  They will catch you if you stop moving.  They will.

The only wrong action is inaction. 

Keep moving.

Just keep moving.

Terror Alert


Terror gone viral... Social media as a Petrie dish for fear.  When did we become a Doomsday culture?  Is it a sublimation of our own deepest personal insecurities? Speaking for myself, I have my own individual end of the world as we know it calendar that keeps me up at night.  It is difficult to imagine that there is a force all the way on the other side of the planet that will do me in before I do the job myself.  It doesn't mean that these other concerns aren't real, but they often seem like relatively vague threats in the face of tangible day-to-day concerns.  Facebook and Twitter feeds scroll by and my brain automatically disconnects.  It's too much.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Happy Belabored Christmas



I laid awake on Christmas Eve awaiting Jacob Marley, or some corresponding ghost from my sordid history but he never showed.  No disappointment there.  My bedroom has seen enough grim spectres of late so no complaints about a quiet, if sleepless night.

No stranger to insomnia, even at an early age, there were quite a few restless Christmas Eves.  There was anticipation for sure, but there was a bigger picture.  There has always been a bigger picture.  I was a squirrelly child for sure.  One memory stands out.  It has to be fairly early.  We still lived in the house on Main Street.  From my bedroom window I could see the road that looped above the railroad and around over the overpass.  The same cars made that loop around that turn, and back, all night.  I recognized some of the cars... Owned by young men, a sort of rowdy, restless bunch.  My friends and I didn't so much look up to them as we envied their... I guess it looked like freedom to us.  They had no curfew.  No rules that we recognized.  I think now that I thought of freedom as doing whatever the fuck you wanted to do.  I also know now that they were out there all night because they had nowhere else to go.  They "scooped the loop" like that every night.  That was pretty much the extent of their lives.  If you can call a rat running madly on a treadmill freedom, then I suppose these guys were free.

Back then though it seemed like the world and I wanted to be out there too.  I didn't want to be sent to bed at 9 and lay silently for the next 8 or 9 hours.  It was agonizing.

I think that freedom now means having a place to go, and being able to choose to go there or not.  It means being able to stop driving around in circles and looking at the same things over and over.

Moving

And so the purge is the first step. It is time to lighten the load.  Beyond time really but nothing to do about actions not previously taken, is there? 

Come to find there is an umbilical cord between man and possessions.  There are filial ties between identity and belongings.  This is not new information but there was revelation in the discovery that the possessions are the parent.  Not really possessions at all but the POSSESOR.  Who will I be with the ties cut and it's all out on the curb, already being gathered up by new... children?  My best guess is that I will be the same man that I was when it was watching quietly from the shelf, untouched for years, and moved from home to home where each time it sat.  That's not quite how it feels though.

It was like extracting wisdom teeth.

The larger picture is everything else that has gone untended for a very long time.  My home has been in such disorder.  Where have I been?  What have I been doing?  If a man's home is at least a reflection of who he is, since we have decided he is not his possessions, then I don't want to look in a mirror for a  long time.  The realization slapped me in the forehead, that I have been running from myself.  Still running... but where did I think I was going?  Where, indeed. 

There is more to this than I can address by tapping it into my mobile.  So more to come.

Your fine spiderweb...

So long...    

Friday, December 25, 2015

Hell of a ride!


Well, it wasn't really, but laughing is better than crying, right?  The biggest gift of all in life may just be the ability to laugh at shit that really isn't funny.  I do okay in that respect.  

Watchful Eyes

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Santa Claus is coming to town


Something happened on the way home from work today.  The weather relented, and the clouds parted - a welcome respite from the gloom.  Was it that I witnessed random acts of kindness?  Or that I was the recipient of not-so-random acts?  Whatever it takes for a moment of clarity.

I'll take it.

Yes I will. 

It's the end of the world as we know it...


The senile, old girl, Mother Earth, has rolled down over onto her side to heave out her last.

Christmas Eve Climate

Not exactly the Star of Bethlehem above me but then again, I'm neither the Baby Jesus nor a Wise Man. 

Still strange to wake up to 70 degrees in December but to the best of my recollection, there haven't been too many White Christmases in my lifetime.  Adults used to tell me, way back when, that when they were kids it was always snowy on Christmas morning.  Maybe it really was, or maybe they were lying, or maybe to the best of their hazy recollections it was.  Memory can be funny.  I'm one of those people, however, often cursed to remember things as they happened.  Doubt if you must but my rose-colored glasses must have been lost in the mail.

Not much has changed in that respect.  Believe me, I carry so much guilt for always having been a miserable cunt on Christmas.  Original sin maybe to coincidence with Hizzoner's birth? 

Whatever the reason, and I've never been very merry on the Yuletide, it is the way it has always been, and that hasn't changed.
Maybe it's that I've always wanted a storybook holiday, and maybe they don't happen for anyone, but that adds a lot of extra pressure that I really don't need.  Let it go, they may say, but it's easier said than done. 

It's not like I spent my childhood in an orphanage eating gruel.  There were always heaps of gifts and food in abundance.  The only things lacking were real gratitude and happiness.  Then as an adult, with my own family and what was ostensibly my own life on my terms, still the melancholy. 

Hmmmm...

There is something else missing and I'm not going to venture a guess at the moment.  There are suspicions I'm not ready to share yet.  And I share a lot lately but I'm still working this one out.
I'm not resentful of those who have fulfilled whatever I am looking for and found happiness.  I am truly happy for them... now I am anyway.  Still trying to figure out, I suppose, what I'm doing wrong. 
I do truly wish everyone a happy holiday season.  Maybe I am just not ready for the same good wishes.

Ingrate that I am, I thought I was working all weekend and it would have been a welcome distraction.  Plans changed though.

Dunno.  There's a deeper story in here, with details maybe of "the best Christmas ever."  That's for later also.

Safe and healthy and happy to all of you.  I'm going to go make a gratitude list.  It's like doing pushups.  A discipline.

Best to you. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It's an Oprah Christmas

Who knew?

Just never show the fear that's in your eyes


I miss Rick Danko so damn much.  

And in my mind, I still need a place to go...


This sound, or this particular recording, has been twisting up my heart for forty years.  When I had no vocabulary for longing, the high lonesome harmonies gave me wings.

Happy Birthday Jesus?

Frederick Exley

“That my lunacy had been recognized was chastening enough, but the judge's gratuitous "fatuous" carried with it intimations that I was in a blubbering, nose-picking state; an I had visions of arriving at my mother's door, garbed not in the "attractive," melancholic dementia of the poet but in the drooling, masturbatory, moony-eyed condition of the Mongoloid.” 

"I fought because I understood, and could not bear to understand, that is was my destiny—unlike that of my father, whose fate it was to hear the roar of the crowd—to sit in the stands with most men and acclaim others. It was my fate, my destiny, my end, to be a fan."

A Fan's Notes

Choose Life


The Climate


Red light, green light, 1, 2, 3...

It's officially six years today and the fog in my head is a fair approximation of the fog hanging low over the street.  What else needs to be said though?  I'm thankful.

On the other hand, six years on finds me again on the verge of a lot of uncertainty.  Surely now though it has become apparent that the unknown isn't necessarily bad.  

And that's about as much philosophical bullshit as I'm going to engage in today.  Everything left is action steps and talking just muddles everything.  

I'm grateful.

I'm tired.

The horse knows the way and miles to go before I sleep and all that... 

What is this 70 degrees in December shit?  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Six, The Easier, Softer Way


Let us love you until you learn to love yourself, is what they told me.  Hard to accept when all you really know is when a man walks up to you grinning, he is either trying to sell something, or take something.  He wants what's in your pocket, or in your pants, right?  It reminded me of the creeps and shitheels that used to hang out near the toilets at Grand Central, or they'd walk up to you in the park and ask if you were hungry.  A boy had to learn quickly who the dealers were, and who the letches were, or he would be in for a surprise.  You could score, or you could be rolled, or you could be raped.

God knows why that is what got kicked and stirred up from my brain when I first came around after that last run.  It was alien terrain though, all new, and I was looking around and trying to figure out how the fuck it had come to that.  

Vulnerability.  I was feeling pretty small.  Trust was in short supply.  I wanted to go in, get some quick answers, and head for the hills.  That was six years ago, or it will be tomorrow.

Now, six years later, here I am on the edge of a deeper level of surrender.  The main difference is trust.  And gratitude.  I have come to trust the people who have kept me propped up and guided me along.  Some days I even trust myself.  I am grateful for the anonymous men and women who have helped me wake the hell up.  

My teachers.

My family.

I can never repay them directly, but I guess the idea is that I pass on what I have learned to others.  I must give freely as it was given to me, as I continue my trek.  This life, now that others have invested so much in it, is no longer mine to throw away.

And I don't want to.  I want to apply what I have learned to surmounting other obstacles.  I want to grow.  And I want to thank all of you.  You know who you are.

Selah 


Climate

Imagine... it would stop raining.
Funny I remembered this circle last week as red granite.  Memory is a strange, elastic, elusive critter.  But so am I.
So am I.
So where am I? 
I am not exactly unhappy but my mood might match the weather.  It's not quite foul, so let's describe it as uncertain. 
Limbo, like those Fogworld dreams I used to have.  Waiting is purgatory for the terminally impatient, but I am determined to exhale.  Wet socks and all, I will keep on pushing.
Hallelujah
Not Leonard Cohen today.
Curtis Mayfield.
Hallelujah

RIP Joe Strummer

The closest I ever got to the John Lennon phenomenon... when Joe died I called in sick from work to just sit in bed.


Maybe then...


and only then...

Is there something wrong with me that the Star Wars buzz doesn't register?  

Inching towards another landmark...

Or just one more day...

There is a strange sort of balance of ideals there.  Six years is a considerable amount of time and every year is a milestone.  It really is more than a cliche though that the journey is laid out one day at a time.  It was tempting to say "mapped out" but that isn't accurate.  You really don't know how things will shake out from one day to the next.  Be prepared for surprises, both good and bad.  There are a lot of things on either possibility that can take you out of your game if you're not living this business. 

Six years ago on this day I was waking up in a sweat and trying to figure out how in was going to make it through the day.  Everything hurt, and that means everything physical, emotional and spiritual.  It was just a matter of keeping my liver out of my throat and killing the headache and keeping up appearances for just one more day or so.  Christmas meant a few days off to regroup.  Things were starting to come apart at the seems and I figured all I needed was a patch.  It needed to hold only until I figured something out.

Something.

What?

Didn't know.

Something.

I knew at this point what the problem was, at least the most immediate.  There was no denying it anymore.  I was waking up every day and killing myself.  Death by passive aggressive suicide.  You cut off one little piece at a time until there's nothing left.  Where was I in the process?  With any luck I will never know but it was certainly closer than I knew at the time.  It could have tapped me on the shoulder at any moment.

I went out solo to lunch that day to try to kill the pain. It was supposed to be two drinks but it was probably half a dozen.  No food.  No food possible.  The cocktails weren't sitting well at all and at the end of this relatively light session I walked out onto 36th Street and painted the sidewalk.  The big technicolor yawn for all the lunch crowd in midtown. 

I thought for a moment about walking back in and having a few more, but no.  I was beat the fuck down and it was the end of the road. 

Defeated.

Nowhere to run.

Want another cliche?

I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I spent that night with T.  She may or may not have noticed a change but we have never discussed it.  We didn't sleep much that night.  She was headed off the next morning to Springfield to see her Dad for Christmas.  It was hard for me to sit still.  There were feelings.  I didn't want to miss her but wanted her gone already so I could sort things out.  I wanted to see if maybe drinking would help, even though I knew it wasn't working anymore.  I didn't want to see, hear or feel a thing.
So I waited it out until I put her on a bus in the morning.  I walked past the liquor store a few times and moved on.  I went by a few bodegas.  Then I went back to the Fortress of Solitude where I spent the next couple days in a sweaty, pissy heap on the kitchen floor.

And that was the first couple steps into this.

But that was then and this is now... Maybe I need to get my Christmas groove on and stop dwelling.  So here's one...


Monday, December 21, 2015

Old Bill Lee wrote my biography

Years before I was born.

“Did I ever tell you about the man
who taught his asshole to talk?

His whole abdomen would move up and down,
you dig, farting out the words.

It was unlike anything I ever heard.

Bubbly, thick, stagnant sound.

A sound you could smell.

This man worked for the carnival,you dig?

And to start with it was
like a novelty ventriloquist act.

After a while,
the ass started talking on its own.

He would go in
without anything prepared...

and his ass would ad-lib
and toss the gags back at him every time.

Then it developed sort of teethlike...

little raspy incurving hooks
and started eating.

He thought this was cute at first
and built an act around it...

but the asshole would eat its way through
his pants and start talking on the street...

shouting out it wanted equal rights.

It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags.
Nobody loved it.

And it wanted to be kissed,
same as any other mouth.

Finally, it talked all the time,
day and night.

You could hear him for blocks,
screaming at it to shut up...

beating at it with his fists...

and sticking candles up it, but...

nothing did any good,
and the asshole said to him...

"It is you who will shut up
in the end, not me...

"because we don't need you
around here anymore.

I can talk and eat and shit."

After that, he began waking up
in the morning with transparentjelly...

like a tadpole's tail
all over his mouth.

He would tear it off his mouth
and the pieces would stick to his hands...

like burning gasoline jelly
and grow there.

So, finally, his mouth sealed over...

and the whole head...

would have amputated spontaneously
except for the eyes, you dig?

That's the one thing
that the asshole couldn't do was see.

It needed the eyes.

Nerve connections were blocked...

and infiltrated and atrophied.

So, the brain couldn't
give orders anymore.

It was trapped inside the skull...

sealed off.

For a while, you could see...

the silent, helpless suffering
of the brain behind the eyes.

And then finally
the brain must have died...

because the eyes went out...

and there was no more feeling in them
than a crab's eye at the end of a stalk.”
― William S. BurroughsNaked Lunch

Born back ceaselessly...


I might have known, having read this book so many years ago, that reinvention was a losing proposition.  You can run, but you can't hide, and that is the plain truth.  The truth catches up and your past, having been abandoned to its home of abuse and neglect, will be ruthless by the time it finds you.

And herein lies the rub...


To remember that the feelings are only the shadows of clouds.

And there are feelings.  I am still reflecting on the pitfalls and progress since that last run six years ago.  It is easy enough to lament the progress that hasn't happened and to play the compare and despair game.  There is still hardship. There is still fear that freezes me in my tracks and leads me to questioning the struggle.  The fear can obscure the successes the way a cloud blocks out the sun. I will sit down sometimes in the heap of responsibility and become overwhelmed.  

It is too easy to remember that for the first time in my life I am not alone.  It matters little that it was my own depression that isolated me in the first place.  There were always hands out to help.  Accepting love can be the hardest thing in the world. 

Clouds... just clouds.  

But there are moments of clarity.

And from clarity, maybe weightlessness?

Too true

Perhaps the hardest one of all to kick.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Don't worry nothing matters


Might as well...

You might as well tell your own story, because other people are going to tell it for you anyway.  Which version people believe though will be beyond your control.

Feeling "some kinda way."

The Book of Human Emotions

I am prone to using the expression, "feeling some kind of way." It usually corresponds to some nebulous sense of melancholy, often a stew of conflicting emotions; it can mean sadness, loss, frustration and anger.  It can be undefined and lacking in clarity and focus, or emotions I can't quite put a finger on.  My brain is clearly looking for a complete understanding, that to my mind is only missing a neatly packaged definition to be able to sit comfortably in it.

The article linked above poses the question, can we really feel it if we don't have the words to package it?  My feelings would suggest that it all exists despite my loss for that gift-wrapped box.  Yet I am also hesitant to have the feeling contained by words, and say, oh yes, that's exactly what it is.  It seems that could limit the scope of the emotion itself.  How will I ever know for sure and truly understand if there are affixed parameters?  Maybe I should ride it out, despite my loathing for the uncertainty of it?  Can I ever find a cure or solution in a fixed paradigm?

Or do I even need a solution?

I am feeling some kind of way, and it might just be related to all the uncertainty in my life at the moment, because everything is in motion.  Firstly, or maybe not firstly but it's how I started my day, I am unused to waking up on alone on a Sunday morning, in the absence of a person I love profoundly.  There is a feeling of loss and heartache, and the pain is considerable.  I have looked forward to these mornings, awakening with the presence of a person that "knows me," and all the inherent comforts of the loving smile and warmth.  You can't underestimate the power of waking up and exhaling to the comforts of being known and cared for, legs entertwined, and a soft caress and drifting back to sleep.

There is a new job, which represents to me perhaps more than it should.  It could be a long-awaited reboot, an escape from a stultifying corporate life that is all I have known in my adult life.  There has been no exhalation there yet, with all the doubt and uncertainty.  Is this the right decision?  Is it sustainable?  And having long-lamented being trapped in the grime and hustle of midtown Manhattan, I find myself in the alien world of the Upper West Side.  I have underestimated the depths of my insecurity, rife with class issues, and outside a comfort zone of a familiarity that was never really all that comfortable.  I am afraid and lonely.

There is an imminent move to a new home.  Even as it is long overdue I have so much doubt.  Firstly I will not be with my son, whom I have probably taken for granted as a source of stability and even identity.  He is my child.  We live together and that's how things should be.  I am his father.  It exhumes feelings all too similar to those back when I was first divorced and left him with his mother. It seemed unthinkable at the time.  I suppose it still does.  Who am I when I come home to a place without my child?  Can it still be called home?  And I may have to give up my dog for adoption too.  I can only think about how she saved me, when in the midst of turmoil, she provided me a refuge outside worrying about my own plight.  The thought of being without her seems devastating.  I can only find so much comfort in the idea that it might be best for both of us.

With the new home comes a new person in my life, a roommate that I don't know.  I do know that sharing space is a common economic reality for many adults, but it feels like a giant step backwards in my life.  Another "unthinkable" is becoming a reality.  Yet I know that had I accepted this reality earlier, my life could be different and better now.  It still doesn't feel quite like the opportunity I know it could be.

The reboot.

I took my undefined feelings out with the dog for a pre-dawn walk.

No resolution.

Still feeling some kinda way.

I took them out for an icy bike ride through the park as the sun was coming up.  My instinct was to turn down any path that wasn't leading back to my home for six years, The Coyote Den.  My name for my basement apartment has never corresponded to any sense of the comforts of home, despite my desires for it to be so.  So much has transpired here in six years.  I've felt so many feelings here, everything but attachment.  That sentence should offer more answers than it does.  I am still afraid of the very near future.

It was only the cold that led me back to the music of the humming steampipes.  There was no way to keep my shirt tucked in and the icy air gave me a burning ache right in my kidneys.  Time to go... Home, for a further lack of an appropriate definition.  I usually like the winter but I wasn't ready for it this year.  I wasn't ready for it to go dark so early.  I just wasn't prepared though it happens despite my readiness.  Same time every year.

It recalls Robert Frost, "to bow and accept the end of a love or a season."

And here I am, always with my bundle of undifferentiated, undefined emotions...

Feelin' some kinda way.

Selah

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The POW Camp for The War On Christmas


The idea is that this is supposed to be funny, but it really kind of makes me want to punch Conservatives.  I promise to laugh while I do it, but it does make me punchy, and maybe a bit stabby on the side.

Climate Change? Not yet.

These are not the Droids you're looking for.  -- Obi Wan MacGregor


Or just another grumpy, middle-aged man in a hoodie.  Nah, not quite that either.  Just thinking that this is all becoming very familiar, and I remember not like it the last time.  Gone are the days when discomfort was the comfort zone.  

There's an Asian girl with a pretty acoustic guitar, standing on the train platform at Times Square, playing Country Christmas carols.  She sounds a little like Patsy Cline and an awful lot like lonely.  It's a sweet and far-off sound and it's something like out of a movie but there are no big stars, just bit players like me.  Now she switches up to Leonard Cohen and thank God my train is pulling in because I'm starting to cry.

Hallelujah 

Hallelujah 

This song always breaks me into pieces.   It breaks my pieces into pieces.  Six years ago on this day I was at the end of my last run, sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I would spend the next few days trying to hold enough down to hold off the sickness, and then a few after that sick and sweaty on my kitchen floor on 18th Street.  All my things were packed into boxes getting ready for the next place.  Not that I would need any of it.  I couldn't even make it to the bathroom so having no pots to cook with made little difference.  

Five years ago this week I had all kinds of ideas about what my life would look like by now.  None of them were particularly accurate but the packing boxes in my home now bring back some memories.  Most of them not good ones.  Some of the feelings I've been unpacking lately seem awfully fucking familiar but it's true that feelings aren't facts.  I know that now.  I still don't want them.  I don't even fully trust the good feelings so the bad ones aren't welcome at all.  They come around anyway, yes they do.  Seems I left the door open, so what could I expect.  Anything could sashay in.

And they did.

Because fuck you...

And because some distraction and diversion or maybe even a little bit of humor is in order. 

Feelin' some kinda way...  not enough sleep.  Or not enough this or that. 

Nothing going down while the bile is rising. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Jumping Off Point

Click for re-runs

Just a placeholder... I need to tag more serial posts.

brb

Self-Forgetting


May I never be so lost that I don't recognize this for what it is; a blueprint for a proper way to live.  It embodies the man that I aspire to be, and my questionable faith aside, there is a plan that will inch me closer to this goal.  I am inching closer to six years on the right road.  It is a rocky road, for certain, and I am grateful for the fellow travelers that have picked me up and dusted me off every time I've stumbled.

Willing

Current Climate

Still here... Upper West Side and waiting for the sun or something.  Color me restless.  Everything in a weird flux and the only constant is that fucking toe, and pains like the toe with a tendency to revisit. 

What can I say?  Whole heapa tings a gwan! 

Finance, romance, prestige... those are the three trigger points The Crocodiles talk about.  All are shaky at the moment.  Then they will go on to talk about this thing called a Higher Power.  I'm not there yet.  It's beginning to look like I never will be.  

I have faith in good habits though, and I have faith in the higher power of those who possess the knowledge to change.  That's going to have to be enough for the moment.  

And apparently, from the looks of this latest selfie, taken to assure myself that I still exist, I have faith in hair product.

Pressure & Friction

There is a corn between my furthest right toes.  It's been there forever, it seems, and there seems to be no permanent solution.  Any number of remedies, shy of amputation have been applied.  It shrinks.  It grows.  At any size, the pain is excruciating.  Removing the toe altogether and letting the consequences shake out as they may doesn't really seem unreasonable.  Always after the quick gratification come what may.  Just make it fast.

The pain is always there, to some degree, even as sometimes it is just background noise.  People have commented on my limp.  They say I favor that foot.  That is entirely possible but I think it's been there so long that it has become easier to ignore.  Most of the time, until I am lying in bed late at night and it pulses with my heartbeat.  It stabs sharply up my leg sometimes and I sit up with a gasp.
So what causes the corn?  Why does it return, despite my best efforts?  Online sources say it comes from persistent pressure and friction.  Remove the pressure and friction and it goes away for good.  
Maybe new shoes...

And as it were, this may have crashed into the mundane.  OR, we run with a cheap metaphor, so let's just go there.  Why the hell not?  It would be dishonest to say it wasn't my intent from the beginning.
I am trying to alleviate persistent pressure and friction without an amputation... in my life that is.  I have shambled through my life in chronic pain, waiting I guess, to find the quick solution.  Now, even with nearly six years of unmedicated living, the pain has become unbearable.  The weight of my entire history is sitting heavily on all my most tender flesh.  It has become difficult to stand up and walk.  It has eroded my physical health, as well as emotional and spiritual.  I second guess starting all this in the first place and digging up the corpses. 

Not regret.

Yet.

Second guess.

Maybe regret will come later.  I hope not.

So what is this missive today?  A mini exorcism?  My own little pep rally? 

Maybe I just need to take my mind off my toes.

Analysis yesterday hurt.  It brought up more questions than it answered.  Why have I carried this shame and guilt?  What else have I buried?  Do I really want to know?  Most of the other concerned parties are already dead and I could be next and none of this work will matter.
But that's the logic that kept me using, like after so long, what's the point.  Then I didn't die.