Monday, November 30, 2015

Eye-talian

Tis the season..

Middle-aged Boy

I might take more selfies than I ever took good hard looks in the mirror.  I never really counted.  I do both now and that is relatively new.  The result is the same, though.  I look and a middle-aged person looks back at me.  What else might I expect?

Perhaps a middle-aged boy and that isn't self-flagellation.  It is merely an observation of the parallels with my youth.  The lessons always have to come the hard way, and repeatedly for the message to stick.  No different than raising my sons, I have to be told the same thing over and over.  I will run headfirst into walls before I try to go over, under or around.

The further lesson might be that like dealing with a child, a greater amount of patience is required.  I might be more gentle with myself, despite that the 11th Hour is always upon me.  My alarm needs to be set earlier so that there is ample time to do things right.

And the other bit of my own advice I should heed is simple.

Ask for help.  This is bigger than you.

One last, bigger than the lot:

The only wrong action is no action at all.  It's like that some days.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bookends

Old friends
Old friends
Sat on their park bench
Like bookends
A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the round toes
On the high shoes
Of the old friends
Old friends
Winter companions
The old men
Lost in their overcoats
Waiting for the sunset
The sounds of the city
Sifting through trees
Settle like dust
On the shoulders
Of the old friends
Can you imagine us
Years from today
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange
To be seventy
Old friends
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fear...

And I wonder how long it has been since this pair has enjoyed the comfort of a real bed.

Old friends
Sat on the garbage
Like bookends...

Apologies to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.

I am not above the low road but this isn't a cheap shot.  These two (on the mattress) are usually out on the benches on Ocean Parkway.  Or lying on the cold cement floor of the train station.  Or dicks out pissing here or there in front of Sunday families, mortified parents and children in their Sunday clothes.  They're not very nice men but maybe they gave up on niceness at some point.  Maybe they never had a kind word or good deed in them to begin with?  Hard to say.  What's to be nice about anymore?  That's not my call. 

I do wonder what they talk about all day with nothing else to do but breathe and shit and piss or yell at the odd passer-by.

I fear sometimes that I am closer to them than I care to think so much about.  Perhaps I should add these bastards to my supplications to the Elephant-headed God.  Or whatever God I am praying my foxhole prayers to on whatever given day.

It's raining and the mattresses here are probably soaked through.  The dynamic duo here?  Maybe in the train station over by 18th Avenue which with the water that collects on the floor is only a step above a mattress on a sidewalk.  I am still inside for now with my belongings and my fears, but for the grace of forces I don't understand.  The forces may or may not have elephant heads or it might be just blind luck.

The jury is still out on that.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Sunset Park

This train goes to Sunset Park.  It looks like I'm headed in that direction too.  It could be strange to be in a new neighborhood after more than 23 years.  It could be long overdue also.  That remains to be seen. 

Patience for today.  Maybe tomorrow too.  Not sure where any of this is going yet. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Holiday Traffic


The admission comes with no small amount of guilt, and a large dose of the uneasies, that most of the traffic is in my head.  Holidays have always come upon me with a trailer-load of emotional baggage. Therapy in recent months has shown me why.  There are ghosts, most of which I might have denied still pay visits.

"How you doing, kid?"

"Go away!  You're not real!"

Are they real?  Perhaps every bit as real as they are allowed to be, and one may ask why they are allowed in to begin with, but the answer comes readily.  I never shut the door and hence the return and rattle about and poke at my ribs, and I do hate to be tickled.  They know that and that's why they are here.  So here and now on Thanksgiving morning the world has gone grayscale.

And thereupon living in a dearth of color, I call upon the Elephant-headed god or this or that god or your god or any god to guide me through the changes ahead and back into color.  Help me navigate the ghosts long enough that they may tire of taunting and prodding and leave and please certainly help me push the door shut behind them.  Help me enforce the eviction notice so I can move forward.

Foxhole prayers.

Foxhole prayers make me feel guilty.  When a man lacks faith in himself he will grasp at the straws of elusive faith.  Yet why not?  Is looking for that higher thing different than putting faith in anything else?  This powerlessness thing is tricky.  The acceptance piece is probably the key, but that is slippery too.  I need to find the boundaries of my powerlessness over things and people.  I need to learn how and when to shut and open doors.  Shut it too soon and it's all trapped back inside with you.  Or when do I open it and step out?  I can't continue to wait until circumstance dictates that I open the door and flee.

Choices.

No choices.

I am moving on.  There are too many entities of varying intent in here with me.  So within a few days, a new job.  Within two months or less a new home.  For today I have to sit tight and entertain these pests that are dancing around my bed as I write this.  The dog is sitting here next to me, head on her crossed paws and staring at me, brow furrowed.

"What next," she asks?

"I'm not sure yet, love.  I don't know.  Do you pray?  You might want to."

I am told that dogs don't see color but I am pretty sure that isn't true.  Who knows though?  Do they have grayscale days?  Is it like that for them all the time?

More questions.  My own questions, or lack of answers, may be more frustrating than the ghosts.  Maybe not. The jury is out.

It may or may not be a blessing that the bastards have returned to continue the renovations upstairs, reminding me why it is time to leave.  Long past time.  There are a half dozen squat, brown men up there hammering, sawing, and listening to Christmas music.  They started at about 8 am.  It is Thanksgiving morning, and the great irony is that I am hardly observing.  Why should it matter what day it is?

The bigger question though is why am I still here beneath the drills and saws listening to some long-dead prick singing, "it's the most wonderful time of the year."?  That will be answered in time.  For now it is time to move quickly and try to ride the momentum towards a meaningful change.  That is all just words today though.  

Just words.

Last night, the third person in my life told me that I have all kinds of solutions for the abstract world but few for the concrete.  Maybe it's time to listen.  It wasn't posed as anything more than an observation, if indeed it felt like criticism.  That is in my head though.  It's hard to think above the sound of circular saws and the other chatter.

This has degenerated into extra chatter and static.  Next action should be to write a gratitude list..  An inventory is in order too.

Action.

Selah.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Afrogallonism

Malcolm Middleton



I guess it all comes down to which one you up and listen too, right?  We all have one of each.  Sometimes it seems like a Greek Chorus from one side or the other.  Often from both sides.  Often enough, anyway.

And so we beat on, boats against the current...

F. Scott, you have always been there for me.

Jay Farrar - Vitamins


You're really not mad at anyone,
You're just mad at the world.
Break it apart n take it down
You're just mad at the world.
You're just mad at the world.

The rules haven't changed.
It's just the same old garbage war,
You're sitting in...

The Drinkers (After Daumier)


Wobbly lines, almost fluid, as if from the perspective of another man standing at the table with a glass.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Nick Zinner 1001 Images


Vice: Nick Zinner's 1001 Images from Naked Faces on Vimeo.
Photography seems almost a miracle, really. I think of the countless images lost in time, before the technology came about. Zillions of moments that ceased to exist as soon as they happened, whether or not someone was there to witness them, because memory itself is so ephemeral. Even then the person there to see it may not even think to notice. It may not even occur to them. A photographer becomes almost a magician, raising a split second from the dead. Then he can spin this zombie reflection to perform it's own story. He can play with the context of a simple snapshot and weave historical yarns or even lies. Fables or newsworthy events, the point is that he or she is almost God-like, resurrecting otherwise lost bits of lives. It all comes back to the world through the lens. In that respect it may just be the most important invention in human history. It brings us as close as we will ever get to immortality. Not to overplay the importance of one shooter here, because he is one of many, but he created this thing - this body of work, or historical document. Everything only happens once, no matter how redundant our days may seem.

Of course everyone now has a camera and there are more images than ever.  More moments are captured and I don't know that it devalues the idea.  Quite the opposite the proliferation seems to have fulfilled a universal longing.  Ray Davies wrote, "People take pictures of each other, just to prove that they really exist." Indeed even the selfie seems to shout, "I AM HERE!"  It is beyond vanity. It may actually be necessity.

MDID


Why should I walk on water.
When I can stand
With both feet on the ground?

It took me years to get that line.  If you continually strive for some unattainable perfection, you will certainly only ever have failure on your c.v.

Commute... The Sentence

New Journey


The elephant headed yogi

Ekadantaya vidmahe vakratundaya dhimahi 

tanno dantih prachodayat 

I meditate on the single tusked lord with the bent trunk 
May He grant knowledge and inspire me


Anyone who visits India will very soon discover that one of the most popular of all the multitude of Indian deities is Ganesh – a guy with a big pot belly and the head of an elephant.  Ganesh is venerated in particular as the remover of obstacles and the lord of new beginnings, and in those capacities will routinely be seen in doorways and entrances as well as invoked at times of personal change, such as beginning a new business or embarking on a journey.


Not exactly Ganesh but no less symbolic in my own journey, I am trying to move beyond magical thinking where my every movement becomes metaphorical.  If the magical thinking is unavoidable, perhaps a shift of paradigms will steer things towards the positive.  When bicycling around the park runs into a nagging notion of moving endlessly in circles, it is time for action.  There is no wrong action.  There is only movement.  I know this but need to believe it.

Just move.

Change will come.

Change will come.

Change will come.

Just keep moving.


Keeping track...

Because it might be interesting to look back a year from now and compare.  Really?  Yah, I will go for that for now.

It feels like the carpet was pulled out from under me and that my whole life went pear-shaped all at once.  It is one thing to know in my head that much of it is of my own doing, but the feelings are another story altogether. 

What are the feelings?  I am:

Angry.  Furious really but there is no place to put that right now so it melts to profound sadness.

Lonely.  There, I said it.

Tired.  Sleep is still fraught with visitors.  Ghosts.  Devils.  There are the usual suspects and then a few celebrity cameos.  None of them mean well.  They don't bring gifts.  They bring bludgeons and sharp stick. They sneak up from behind and make horrible noises.  Sleep is scarce.

Not a good time.

So we shall see what a year brings.

hAlt

I don't quite remember what I was thinking last night when I wrote a note to myself that read, "tapping into anger for positive motivation."  It is clear that the intent was to hammer out something to do with mining what would generally be considered an emotional liability in a time of need.  Exactly what that might entail, however, became obscured on the overnight.

This morning I am merely angry, and suffering from an emotional hangover, of sorts, all headachy, queasy and green.  Yesterday, simply put, sucked.  It was the sort of day you don't want to repeat too often.  A Camus or worse yet Sartre kind of living hell.  I had arrived at the court early, hopeful it would end soon, and fearful of the outcome.  Powerlessness has never sat well with me and I felt very small and very vulnerable.  I watched the slackfaced judge shuffle lazily through case folders one after another.  I've never seen anyone look more bored with his job.  When he spoke it looked like his face might slide right off his skull and drip onto the lectern.

Martinez vs JCM Realty

Lockwood vs. 767 Monroe Holding

Kazinski vs. Blackstone

Shut off that phone please.

My guts started to sour early in the day.  I don't, as I said, do well with powerlessness.  Fear isn't my friend.  I clenched through the morning, further fearful that my name would be called while I was otherwise occupied on the commode.  It burned and lifted in waves and turned over in audible groans. The woman sharing the bench openly glared at me in disgust.  When the court was adjourned for lunch I went looking for the men's room but all the toilets were filled to the brim.  The last occupant of one must have been standing on the seat.  Same for two floors below.

I was fermenting.

Toxic.

The mood went south with the physical condition.  By the time I was called to the judge's clerk I was well beyond my use-by date and unfit for human consumption.  My bullshit meter had redlined and something strange happened.  A state of giving no fucks descended and I figured why not go for broke?

I found my balls.

This translated to me countering the petition with the most obnoxious demand I could conjure.  It wasn't so much strategy, not at first, as raising the ante and watching tempers curl out like sunspots.  Why the fuck not?  It was something I might have done in a bar to provoke either fight or flight.  More than once it had gotten me beat the fuck up (which for some twisted reason I always found preferable to waiting and wondering if I was about to get beat up, if that makes any sense at all.) every so often though it would put my opponent off-balance and the result would lean towards my favor.

That is what happened yesterday.  Shit is still a mess but I bought time.  I am only short of money and time so I can scratch one off the list.  Okay, then...

But still no toilet and feeling worse than ever, and now all this rage that I've worked so hard to distance myself from.  It scares me.  I don't really know what to do with it.  I pushed onto the train at Jay Street to head off to therapy, and maybe evacuate at least the emotional waste.  By the time I got off the train at Union Square, things down low were on terror alert.  Something wicked this way comes and all that.  I pushed like a mental patient up the escalator to the third floor bathroom at Barnes & Noble praying it would be in usable condition.  When you do outside sales in New York you make it a point to learn all these "safe havens" so to speak.  B&N can be hit or miss.

This time it was good.  I cut a line and locked myself into the handi-capped stall, depositing my coat and bag onto the oh-so-convenient baby-changing station before settling down to... Well... You know.  Tragedy narrowly averted.

But things still weren't okay.  I discovered, to my horror, having unleashed all the terror I had fermented all day, that the toilet wasn't going to flush.  I was filled suddenly, through every corner I had only just cleared, with a sense of childlike humiliation.  There were people waiting just beyond the steel door.  I could see their shuffling feet.  One of them, I am fairly certain, had a child to be changed.  And so there, headed into an adrenaline crash, another old feeling emerged.  It must have been hiding behind the broad shoulders of the twins, Anger and Rage.

Welcome fucking home.

The nastiness floating behind me as I made me quick exit, by the time I reached street level, had become a metaphor, magically thinking, for how I am known in this world.  For everything vile in me that certainly is right there for everyone to see.  All very melodramatic yes, but that is where my head leads me.  One of the places.  Less than two hours earlier I was the biggest, baddest motherfucker in Brooklyn,

And this is why I am in therapy.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Wasted days and wasted nigh high hights

Damn you, Autocorrect!

So I was texting a friend and typing that I was feeling foul and angry, and that I felt like going out and shagging a hussy. 

The phone corrected it to 'sagging.'

FML

Looks like rain...

Rare that it comes down like this...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Little Lost Boy

I can't say why this strikes me as the saddest thing in the world right now.  Little kid rain boots, new from the store and the rubbery smell signals outdoor adventure.  Maybe an afternoon splashing through puddles or sledding in the park.  I would like to think that everything doesn't end up at the curb awaiting one final journey to a rotten end of a rotten line.  Part of a trash heap. 

But then again, this is the shoe, not the child.  Not the child.  Why do I need to be reminded?  Why does my brain always turn southward?

Just talking to myself really. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

I would settle for this...

Lines







Ain't this what dreams are made of...



It is/was complicated.  He was a bully, a pervert... and the pervert label is complicated too.  Maybe deviant is more fitting?  Dangerous deviant?  All this and more I suppose. 
He was also my only real friend, or something approximating a friend.  He was the only older male who was around enough to be considered a role model, and that is just frightening.  He moved about the world with what appeared to my juvenile brain as a swaggering confidence.  He was cool.  It was probably not so much about cool as it was that he had this sociopathic ease that made anything seem possible.  You couldn't tell him that he couldn't do whatever he wanted.
He paid attention to me.  That was the key really.  I was desperate for the attention and for his validation and approval and that would come and go.  It came like a reward after periods of deprivation so the hunger for it was greater.  I would let him do what he wanted to do because I needed the rest.  He gave me what nobody else did.
I was ten.  Maybe nine when it began?  I think ten.
Then 11, 12 and 13 when after it had turned violent and even brutal really, I put a stop to it.  That is for another entry at another time.
There was a time not so long ago when I might have said it was all behind me.  That I was done with it.  The horror of the dreams lately tell me otherwise.  It's all just been pushed down.
Subterranean.
Subcutaneous.
Now it rises to the surface lie an abscess, or many of them.  Are they dreams really or ultravivid  memories.  Given that it all actually happened, let's go with memories.  I drift off and there he is.  I am recalling mostly the more violent episodes from when, my guess would  be, that he was projecting his own homophobic guilt into rage.  It became his intent to punish his victim (me) for his urges.  And I am certain that there was no guilt at all about my age.  This was about me being male.  The choking and torture and pounding were retribution for his own lack of understanding of where and why his own urges were there in the first place.
Last night was mostly quiet.  By the time he visited and I jerked up abruptly, the alarm was about to ring.  I had slept for about four straight hours, maybe a record for November.  It wasn't one of the rape episodes.  It was the teasing and taunting and namecalling.  The emotional smackdown.  The deprivation of approval that made the later reward so intoxicating.  Again the dream/memory was very present.  It was as if... it were actually happening for the first time.  More than 40 years but right there and right now.
Still unpacking all this...
It is a new fork in the road.
Future entries may be more detailed so if you are watching at home, fair warning.

Wookie Bag

Thursday, November 19, 2015

And still the rain...


Here Comes The Rain

It's hard to say if the rain truly makes New York City a lonelier place than it is or seems on any other damn day.  Maybe it's just in my head whether it's rainy, sunny, or somewhere in between.  It doesn't help if you're on the way to the analyst to spill your shit out and have it collated.  It doesn't help when you feel like a monster, walking stiff - legged and sleepless and angry.
Hungry
Angry (very)
Lonely (mostly)
Tired (always)
Or you just take all of the above.
It has been raining hard both literally and figuratively, the latter for some time now.  The last week the sea started pouring in over the transom and my ship is going the fuck down with all hands on deck and the whole crew.  Two hands and a crew of one.  Sinking fast.  Shit happens on a good day and now the perfect storm. 
Or not.  Feelings aren't facts.  It feels like the ship is going down and there are no lifeboats.
And a sidebar:  I started to type "therapist" and motherfucking  spellchecker coughed up "the rapist" as a suggestion.  The irony is staggering.
So I drifting dangerously close last night to a full-on panic attack.  All the symptoms are there:  shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, tightness in my torso, breathing passages collapsing and icy feet.  The works.  This is as bad as it's been since Fourth of July weekend in 2004 when I passed out and faceplanted on the bathroom floor on 18th Street.  Damn close.  I did bump my head and twist my knee last night.  There were brief moments of sleep last night but each one was visited by ghosts. 
Memories.
Very bad memories.  Not dreams per se.   This stuff happened.  The details don't matter so much this time but that the floodgates opened with stress triggers is important.
Let me preface by saying that I never publicly identified as a sex abuse victim until the last few years.  I have since told several people (and now the world) but that is really recent.  There was a point in recent times history where it seemed everyone was dragging their skeletons out of the closet.  I didn't and here's why.
As soon as you identify as a victim of rape, sexual abuse or incest, you are thereafter identified as 'that' person.  All your words and actions are measured by what most people believe must certainly be the most horrid thing that could ever happen to a person. 
It's not.
Don't get me wrong!  It plainly sucks.
Yet you are now that person.
I am now that person.
Between the ages of about ten to thirteen I was bullied, molested, mauled and raped by a cousin twelve years my senior.  More details at a later date now the cat is out of the bag.  The reason I bring it up here though is that these stress triggers in my life have exhumed every ghastly incident and all their inherent emotions.  I am a fucking wreck.  Every time I drifted off last night he was right there.  Several times I bolted upright in a panic.  Not a fun night.  Best to stay awake I guess.
Except I botched a job interview today.  It was impossible to remain present.  Oh well. 
Also impossible to stay present here tapping into my mobile.
So the truth is out now.  More later.

Beards

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

And Death comes like a mother...


To lay me down... 

Lest there be any fears of suicidal ideation, everything is just fine here, despite many things not being at all right.  Every so often though maybe there should be a gentle reminder of what is awaiting us on the other end of this.  Also, thanks to Mister Hughes, we know now also that there is a side door.

This, of course, must hint at a bent for the morose.  I don't feel morose.  I just happened to be reading and came across this passage.  The juxtaposition of self-violence and nurturing love and warmth slapped at me.  

At the end of all of this, you will be lifted up from your suffering, like an infant from a soiled bedsheet, and it will be over.  I don't recommend the side door.  My experience tells me that anything you suffer today will be ending at some point and you will either move on to some new botheration or bliss.  It's hard to say what new adventure awaits but it will be over.  Then at some point, the mother of us all is coming anyway.  There are ways though, to get there faster.

I would prefer to take my chances.

Foolish me.

Today I am grateful for Langston Hughes, and words and language in general, and the opportunity to grow and maybe one day actually learn to use the words.

I am grateful that for the first time in my life that I have the ability to speak honest words.

I am grateful that I have people who listen to my words.

I am grateful that I don't have to look for ways.

And quite a few other things.

Use your words and make your own list.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Dearth of Cool


ODAAT

Full Definition

1 a :  the act of reprieving (see 1reprieve): the state of being reprieved

1 b :  a formal temporary suspension of the execution of a sentence especially of death

2 :  an order or warrant for a temporary suspension of the execution of a sentence

All of the above work for me.  That is, they all apply.  There was a footnote that added, "a period of relief from pain or trouble," and that is okay but may not accurately describe the depth and finality of the circumstances.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Voices


I keep NPR on day and night to shut out the voices in my head and it worked for a while, but now they're back louder, and they all sound like Ira Glass

The Ghost of Christmas Present

What more is there to say but having a really bad hair day and kind of a hot mess?  The present is very fluid so the image reflects that.  Nothing has gelled yet except the hair and again, that"s not looking so good. 

Things are in motion and there is a lot of fear and uncertainty.  Once again I find myself, partly through the age-old pattern of trying to assert my will against powers greater than myself, on unsteady ground.  Once more I learn the hard way that you get life on life's terms and never in your own timeframe.

Uncertainty = fear.

This is all, of course, as vague as the details in the photo.  It boils down to being under-employed and in need of a place to live, and in a very short period of time.  I will move as quickly as I can and things will shake out how they will.

I will accept the outcome and move from there. 

You get what you get and the result is not always corresponding to the effort you put in, but you do the work anyway, simply because it is right.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Busted


This, I believe.

Whores

“We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world—a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us. . . . No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we’ll kill you.
Well, shit on that dumbness. George W. Bush does not speak for me or my son or my mother or my friends or the people I respect in this world. We didn’t vote for these cheap, greedy little killers who speak for America today—and we will not vote for them again in 2002. Or 2004. Or ever.
Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush?
They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us—they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis.
And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them.” 
― Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century

And this pretty much sums up my feelings.  Of course we are at war.  Naturally people savage us in return.  We bear the guilt.  We carry the original sin that stamps our passports.  Nobody hates our freedom.  They hate our freedom to rape and rob them at will and the inherent might makes right attitude.

Of course blood was shed.

So... Wut hat happint wuz...

The idea was to sit down and write it out.  Memory had rung in from the ether clear and true. The signal is rarely so crisp.  When you get it like that there is a brief window to capture the message.  You sit down like an old-time telegraph operator and tap it out before it fades back to silent  then you sit there for an indeterminate length of time in radio silence.  You try to tune it back in.

This is Major Thom to Ground Control.  I'm feeling very....

And as memory goes I've lost the words there too.  That's the way it goes.  Clarity is rice paper thin and fragile,  Memory is like the line of filament from the spider.  It doesn't take much at all, and the spider falls.  Today I am the spider.  There are tales to spin but not while I am scrambling down here on the floor running from the boot.

The plan was to talk about The Abortion.  Touchy subject for sure, even after thirty years and I hadn't quite figured out how I would explain the psychic damage it inflicted upon me without coming off as an anti-choice parable.  The real answer is that it didn't inflict damage, or any new damage so much as it plucked at the ends of nerves that were already bloody raw and close to snapping anyway.  I was already hanging by a thread in the first place.

The spider, you know?

I was ready to write though, but the window slammed shut.  Life intervened and priorities shifted and took a hard left turn.  Now I am back on the floor running to get out from under the boot.  The clarity is gone and what remains are the feelings the sudden signal evoked.  Stuffed down rather than managed years ago they have resurfaced as if brand new.  They aren't connected to anything tangible anymore so they adhere themselves to unrelated events and issues.  They are more than a nuisance.  They are psychic bedbugs.

And then there is Paris... Over 125 dead this morning after a series of terror attacks.  The violence is spreading.  It is nearing.  We are like farmers downwind watching a prairie fire.  Barring a miracle it is coming and it will probably take the crops, the livestock and the house.

So what do my memories matter?  A memoir in the face of the fire seems the ultimate act of vanity, even if the memories can be coaxed out of their burrows.

They are no longer cooperating anyway.

Maybe later.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's funny cuz it's true!


It would be even funnier if it didn't hit so close to home.  File this with The Ghost of Christmas Past or perhaps one of my tales of romantic dystopia.  There is another one of those on the back burner so this is a sort of bookmark too.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Venting


Don't dare breathe.  

Monday, November 09, 2015

Saturday, November 07, 2015

More on happiness...

Then again, this is not my intent, nor my goal.  There is a balance somewhere.  There must be.

Wake In Fright - Inebriated Reading List

L’assommoir (1877) – Emile Zola – via @AmateurReader

various books of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald (especially The Sun Also Rises and Tender is the Night) – via @olivia8k

‘A Drunk Man Looks at a Thistle’ (poem) (1926) – Hugh MacDiarmid – via @issekinicho

Appointment in Samarra (1934) – John O’Hara

The Thin Man (1934) – Dashiell Hammett – via @levistahl

The Lost Weekend (1944) – Charles Jackson – via @noctambulate

Under the Volcano (1947) – Malcom Lowry

The Drinker (1950) – Hans Fallada – via @jb_lett

Wake in Fright (1961) – Kenneth Cook

A Fan’s Notes (1968) – Frederick Exley – via @olivia8k

Post Office (1971) – Charles Bukowski – via @olivia8k

Moscow to the End of the Line (1973) – Venedikt Erofeev – via @theuntranslated

Disturbing the Peace (1975) – Richard Yates – via @jb_lett

Ironweed (1983) – William Kennedy – via @noctambulate

Jernigan (1991) – David Gates

List via www.bibliomanic.com

I have read all the Hemingway and Fitzgerald which are saturated with booze.  Same for Ironweed, and for A Fan's Notes, which my friend Andre describes as "a classic in the pantheon of white, middle-aged male burnout literature."  It is also my favorite book, which may or may not be telling.  I leave that to you, but I can say that it is the last book that made be sob and choke on tears.  The first, by the way, was Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, which put to words for me, for the first time, my own sense of just how fucked up and hopeless and tragic this world can be sometimes.

I was 12.  Things weren't going so well.  I discovered drinking shortly thereafter.  It took the edge off a bit, for a spell.

But more on that stuff later.  Regarding the list...

Hey skoal!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Scrooged

What was threatening to be an atomic migraine turned somewhat less radioactive on the overnight but early between the sheets turned into sittin up wide awake at 4 am.  It's a trade-off with payment due later this afternoon.  I sat for a while scouring employment ads and barely holding in the scream that's been camped out in my throat since...

Since when?

Walking the dog by 5:30 and the dark is oddly comforting.  I am not afraid of the dark.  I am terrified of a list of things but the dark isn't one of them.  I used to be but it has been supplanted by real world concerns.  The dark... the night time... it is a friend now mostly.  I like the pre-dawn time.  I like the quiet and the near-emptiness.  Only one other lost soul out and about this morning.

It is a little early in the season but there he was.  Not preceded by Jacob Marley but that would be almost redundant at this end of my life.  I have a legion of Jacob Marleys in my life, all the guys who flamed out and skittered off this mortal coil in dire pain and misery.  So why not The Ghost of Christmas Past with no warm-up act?

He was reeling wasted from stoop to curb up the opposite side of the street.  Slack jawed and rubber legged waking himself up every so often.  Spooked by a signpost jumping out at him and playfully bumping his shoulder.  A skirmish with a potted plant.  Stub the toe.  Stumble. Weave on determined now that having won the battle with the tree he can face anything else that jumps out of the darkness now.  But still visibly afraid that something worse may jump out before the sidewalk rises up to meet his chin.  Get home soon.  Make it home.  Just make it home.  Alone doesn't feel so alone there.  Not quite.

And that was me. 

That was then this is now.

I am okay for now.

Let's see what the next ghost has for me. Not so sure I want to look so closely at The Present.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Redux...


Found this a few months ago so this is what you might call a rerun were you in television broadcasting.

Feelings are not facts

Oops

This is cute enough and sure clever enough but it got me to thinking.  Humans are simple beasts, not all that more complicated than the family dog.  We spend an inordinate amount of time sweating the answers to questions that were just rhetorical to begin with.

Nothing in particular

I can't claim to having anything in particular to say.  Consider it like when you see your kid sitting in his room amongst his toys having a conversation with himself.  It's not about anything at all.  It's as if he needs a reminder of his existence.  It's a shout-out to himself.

I'm alive.

I'm still here.

Maybe more days than I care to admit are like that.  Talking to myself just for the sake of it.  My mother used to say that I just like to hear the sound of my own voice, but that was an accusation.  I often felt like she didn't want to hear me.  That it was a reminder of my existence.  That she could be off doing something else if not for me.  At least thinking her own grand thoughts about saving the world or some shit like that. 

Whatever. This isn't about her.  Or maybe it is after all Mr. Freud.  Maybe the urge to write down my thoughts after all these years and tears is still an act of defiance.  Nobody can tell you to shut up because they can't hear themselves think.  Unless of course you publish and then feelings get hurt, honestly or dishonestly, and people are all over your shit to shut up.

I don't worry about that so much anymore. The stupid, blind loyalty to keeping the secrets is still there but not enough to shut me up.  This is my life and my story.  You were there so you know.  Deny what you will.  You are not my problem. 

So there is that much.  There is always something to say.  What I just wrote seems more of an affirmation or a promise to myself.  I will tell my story.

I will not shut up.

Not this time and never again.

It brings to mind The Nutty Professor.  She wrote what I thought was a brilliant memoir but it never published in its original form.  Damn shame too because it was powerful.  Her people were all dead though so there was nobody to protect.  I still got the impression she held back but it was out of love and respect.  Not fear of retribution. 

I don't know why I still fear retribution but I do.  What could happen that is worse than what already did?  How could anything feel worse?  Yet I have never been good with conflict and confrontation.  I tend to go for the throat.  I use unnecessary force.  It has never been my intention to stray into bullying and brutality but it happens.  It happens because I have repressed and denied the anger that feeds it that it all festered and distilled into high octane rage. 

I don't want rage.  I want the truth.  I want to drain out the boil and heal once and for all.  That is all I want.  No pound of flesh.  Just peace.

So this bit today is sort of a verbal selfie.  Part expression of the state of my condition and part mission statement.  Do I look determined?  Or do I look as frightened as these words seem to me as I read them back?

Whatever.  Two steady feet now.  A long day ahead.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Tao Moments

They still happen, despite all the other bullshit.  They are rare signs of growth.  They do happen though.

Happy-nuss

This will not be the first time you've seen me say that happiness is overrated and it probably won't be the last.  Maybe this isn't quite fair coming from the guy that only last night admitted to being unfamiliar with feeling happy.  Life isn't fair though.  Perhaps this requires explanation but maybe it is sufficient to say that life isn't fair and that the pursuit of making it fair is more important than the pursuit of personal happiness or satisfaction.  Even stopping far shy of depraved hedonism and greed there is a point where a person has to put aside happiness and take care of business.

That said, very little can be made of being continually unhappy.  I am not chasing happiness but rather trying to lighten my load and it's been hard to find a starting point. 

The first part is overcoming the guilt of being unhappy and admitting to it.  It seems to me that I... we... are expected to float about in a state of perpetual and blissful gratitude that things are not worse.  We are supposed to thank the stars and any number of gods and prophets that we are not 'that guy.'  I'm going to call bullshit on that.  I just might be that guy because that is certainly how I feel, and the guilt if feeling that way isn't making it any better.  There are things I am grateful for but they do not outweigh that for which I am not.

Secondly, there is this societal bug that says we are supposed to man up and get over ourselves and our past and so on.  I am going to cry foul on that too.  Get over my foot straight up your ass.  How about that?

Still, these things have been drilled into me for so long that my sense of manhood and adulthood is warped from the shame of still crying about long ago events.  It is so twisted that I've more than a suspicion that it is the source of what is ailing me now.  There are inextricable links to anxiety, depression, and a continued process of self-defeating behavior and self- sabotage.  I want to be done with all if it and put it behind me.  I want to be free of the big fear.

I want to be clean.

If happy comes with that, even better.  Right now it feels that I have been subconsciously rejecting happiness through behaviors or lack of actions that would be in my best interest.  Nobody has a bad luck streak that lasts this long so it must be time to change my relationship with my mirror and actually look deeper than the surface.  This is bigger than my choice of hair product. 

I want to be free.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

All Things Must Pass



What she said actually, if memory serves, was, MacGregor this will pass.  It will pass.  It will.  That slowed me down some.  There was more than advice.  There was compassion.  I am a sucker for compassion.

Especially when it's for me.

And it will pass.  Everything does, for better or for worse.  I know it will also.  It is not knowing the outcome that hurts.  But everything does pass.  Will it get better?  Not always.  I am slowly learning though that you have to know how to get better or to make it better.  I must have been out sick and missed that lesson.

And maybe that is why I am in therapy in the first place.  I have been trying to figure out exactly why I am going.  What are the goals?  What am I there to address?  There doesn't seem to be anything specific, unless you take into consideration that being perpetually unhappy for no particular reason is reason enough.  I never learned how to be happy though.  Removing pain and discomfort, yes.

But that isn't the same as happy.

Am I even capable?  Let me know what it feels like and I will tell you if I feel it.

Yup

So yah, this is life.  You're going to take some punches, and they're coming in hard and heavy these days, and in combos.  Apologies for the continued, gratuitous boxing metaphors.  They seem hackneyed and tired, but what else is there?  Where do you go with this? 

The therapist stopped me last night in mid-rant and reminded me that this is all temporary.  I thought for a minute she was quoting George Harrison.

All things must pass.
All things must pass away...

I was feeling more beware of darkness but it was charming somehow nonetheless.  Every so often I forget she is my analyst and she is just a beautiful woman sitting there talking.  Like a date.  Just for a couple seconds here and there.  It's funny.  It's not like a date though because twice a week I am with her and talking about all the shit I would generally hide from a date.  Not generally. Always.  This is not date stuff.  This is normal bitches run away stuff. 

I pay this one to listen.  How many people would volunteer for shit about rage, paranoia, grief, fear and sexual abuse?  Maybe an off few but not too many.  Not that I haven't heard some wild shit from relative strangers but I rarely exhume my own bodies.  They may float up to the surface when I am not mindful but I don't usually let them up.  Sadly that is why most people in my life, at the end of very long relationships, remain relative strangers.  That stuff isn't really sustainable so eventually there is continental drift.

And so I ramble.  The train is pulling out of Union Square.  I will be at work soon.  Out in the ring taking punches and slinging back shitty metaphors.  It's what I have at the moment.  Like a Palestinian kid throwing a stone at a tank... there you go.  No more boxing.

Taking punches


It's not a feeling you'll soon forget.  It's not just the impact either.  It is the moments immediately following that impact, and you'll often see it slowed down in movies.  Slow motion is the only way you can capture everything that goes on in your head after the punch lands.  Lands, by the way, is almost oxymoronic too.  Birds land, softly and gracefully.  Birds 'alight.' Punches drop like cartoon pianos.  

But those moments right after the sledgehammer drops.  There is the initial shock, and the the snap of the neck. Then there is a second before the pain fully registers, and the if you are really lucky the terrible realization that you have to collect yourself before the next one.  Worse is when you fully understand that you are no longer fully there and that the next one is coming and you are pretty much helpless and done.  

Some days are like that.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Prospect Park 11-1-15

Sometimes I take this park for granted as it can fill up with insufferable ninnies, but it is a treasure despite them.