Sunday, January 31, 2016

Self-Explanatory

Mending Wall ~ Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs.  The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side.  It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors?  Isn't it
Where there are cows?  But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.'  I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself.  I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, 'Good fences make good neighbors.

Monster

What will you do when they come for you?  Because they will come for you, the villagers with their torches and their terror.  

From a remarkable era in Hollywood where good and evil were removed from conversation.  The villains were fear, xenophobia, alienation etc.  

Alienation, yes.  That's why I put this up.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Feelings

The Rescue

She paced all night, or it seemed to be all night.  I could, in a state of half-sleep exhaustion funk, hear her walking back and forth.  Not an aimless, thoughtful stride, but with desperation, as if something was wrong.  No, not as if.  Something was wrong.  I thought about asking, but it would have made no difference.  It was nice to think, that in those quieter moments staring directly into each other's eyes, that we were truly communicating, but that was all conjecture.  We didn't speak the same language.  I'm pretty certain I'd no clue what language she did speak when sounds came out of her mouth. I'd no idea even where she was from.  Queens?  Ha! I met her in Queens.  That wasn't helpful, was it?
She paced.  I tried to ignore her and sleep.  It's not like she had any place to go.  I wished I did.  I did not.  I never wanted to be there with her in the first place. 

I turned on the light at some point and sat up and looked at her.  She had frozen in midstep, painfully conscious of her actions, hence just frozen.  Her whole body was tight and she made gestures toward her body, like trying to show me something.  Trying to explain, head back in despair and frustration.  I gestured toward the space next to me in the bed.

"Just lie down."

She took a half-step toward me and froze again.

"Look.  This doesn't work.  I need to sleep or I'm not going to function."

She might as well have been deaf.  No response, unless you count increased desperation in her eyes, like she was telling me...

"You just don't get it."

And I certainly didn't get it.  I just wanted to sleep, and truth be told I probably wouldn't have slept anyway but for that moment it was her fault.  And it was my fault and I was stupid for bringing her home with me in the first place!  What had I been thinking?  That I would save her?  I couldn't even take care of myself!

And so I turned off the light and burrowed back into the blankets.  Right at that moment I had never felt so inadequate and I didn't want her to see me.  I hid in the blankets, curled up in a fetal ball of unfulfilled promises. 

"Jesus Christ, what am I doing?  I can't even take care of myself"  I'm not sure if those words were uttered aloud but they tore off like a wail.  Then a choke.  The sob, I am pretty certain, was audible. 
I turned on the light once more.  Once more she froze.  Again, I gestured to the empty space next to me in the bed.  This time she moved.  She nearly ran to the bedside and crawled in over me, and collapsed against me, pressing as much of her body and weight against me as she could manage.  Two seconds of relief that she had relented quickly turned into a feeling of what the fuck you are smothering me... for me.  I shifted a bit hoping she would get the message, but no response.  She just lie there breathing, so I moved with a bit more force.  Still nothing so I heaved and grumbled.  This time she sat up. 

"Can you move over just a little?"

Perhaps a bit too much tone or inflection in my voice because she was up again, and again moving with intent. 

Back and forth.

Up and down.

I laid there, again wondering if I really thought my very presence would ease that desperate look in her eyes.  Wondering again what made me believe even for a moment that I could take that pain away just by being there.  It was never even really a question of wanting her. I think I just wanted to be necessary. All I ever wanted was to be necessary. 

And maybe this one was all about impressing another one whose attention and love was what I was really aiming for... to be necessary to this other one. 

I drifted a bit but awoke before the alarm.  She was awake too, sitting by the side of the bed.  She turned to look at me when I stirred.  She looked at me apologetically when I sat up, as if to say, I'm sorry the morning came so quickly. 

I briefly considered asking her to leave but the thought alone brought guilt and grief. So I considered for a moment saying a prayer that she would be gone when I got home. 

More guilt. 

I did say a prayer, though I don't even truly believe in a meaningful sense that there is anyone or anything listening, that whatever was grieving her would be lifted.

And then off to the hole in the ground. 
What was I thinking?

I am not the genepool lifeguard.

And I sure as hell ain't Jesus.

Please forgive me. 



And to add insult to injury, when I got off the train, the homeless man by The Dakota was sitting up in his sleeping bag, facing into the sunrise and chanting his Surya Namaskara.  He was giving thanks for another day.  Or maybe just for the warmth.  Did I need to be humbled further?

Apparently I did.  

Friday, January 29, 2016

So you're having a bad day?

It happens.  It's unfortunate.  It will pass.  In the meantime, I have to tell you something.  You see that dog in the picture?  That's me, and pretty much everyone else in the world.  We don't care how bad your day is.  There is no justification for inflicting yourself on the rest of us, even if you feel entitled because it seems the world has done you a bad turn.  Seriously.  Cut the shit.  I don't care.

(a passive aggressive blog post)

The Rapey Icon

"I wasn't kissing him.  He was kissing me.  He was very strong!

Yah, always more than meets the eye.

Derek Gores


Collage

Art of the Sag

It may be economical to share trousers with your little sister, but when your inseam is 34 inches and hers is 24, you might want to think twice.  The Sag is a Forever Fail.  I have to wonder if this man will ever have a "what the fuck was I thinking" moment.  Why not just wear a t-shirt that reads:

I AM


A


FUCKING


IDIOT

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Invisible Man

Still pondering the disappearing act and the madness therein.  Ironic that so many times I have prayed for invisibility but having been granted it, can't live with it. It's like... and words have left me.  I am still bound in that dull light, reaching for something I can't quite see.  I am at a complete loss these last several days, in a strange state of mind.  It's gone beyond depression, or anxiety, to something at once less painful, but not at all pleasant.  Numb, like an arm or a foot falling asleep, but not localized.  

Tin Man

Stuck in place this morning, somewhere along a road that few people bother with anymore, The Yellow Brick Road, or whatever, waiting for someone to happen along and find my oil can. A heart? You can keep all that.  I just want to be able to be up and moving.  I am The Woodsman maybe, but it feels like someone dropped a house on me. 

It has long since grown tiresome to open this thing up every morning and gripe, but that's what I've got. That's what there is for now.  I am dreadfully tired and merely lying down and willing sleep to come isn't doing the trick.  I would have even called in sick if I thought it would have meant sleeping.  It's not exactly doable money wise either, so it doesn't pay to think about. No regrets.  I am up and moving. 

The dog is having a skin flare-up.  It's a remarkably bad case of timing.  Thirty days of Ivormectin is about $250 and that just ain't happenin' right now.  We'll see if the medicated shampoos get her in shape.  I don't deserve her... and here we go with the self-abuse.  I can't afford her.  That is true enough without inflicting a moral indictment into it. 

I promised myself to write something every day, whether or not I have something to say.  Here it is.  

A lot of nothing. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Career Opportunities

via ILoveCharts

My dream job...

You can't have it both ways.

There is a tickle this morning, like the premonition to a cough or a sneeze.  That's how it works, you know.  It's the precursor to an involuntary action or a reflex.  A seed is planted before the words are even conceived.  Like that first day in late winter, still very cold, that there is something in the air.  Something is moving already beneath the frost.

I think it began last night when someone exclaimed, with no shame or remorse really, that there was nothing in the world he liked more than smoking cocaine.  "Cooking up an 8-ball," he said smiling, and from my vantage point at the back of the room I could see a half dozen bodies stiffen just a little.  There was nervous laughter.  Maybe my spine stiffened too.  I don't really know, but I think that's when the itch started.  Not a tickle nor an urge nor an itch to use, but a compulsion to say something or to write, and not even necessarily about cocaine or drinking.  Something about compulsion itself maybe, or madness. 

It wasn't so much the gleam in his eye as he said it but the germination of his sickness in others.  It was as if a sudden chill came over the room.  I am pretty certain I pulled my jacket closer around me and pulled the collar up.  It was infectious, or seemed so.  I could tell in an instant who had been "there" and who hadn't.

Funny, even as a habitual user, I never trusted cocaine addicts.  It's something to do with how it feeds the reptilian brain where all the most base and basic instincts lay sleeping (mostly) and dormant.  That part of the brain becomes dominant, surpassing wherever good, human qualities like empathy and compassion may live.  Does that describe what happened to me too?  Perhaps.  Probably.  I am not the same as I was.  Not too too far gone but not the same. 

This isn't a confessional though.  I'm just talking.  So I want to talk about compulsions, and the infectiousness of craziness. 

The nature of such madness is that it is all consuming.  You can't give in to any single passion that entirely and still have anything else in your life.  That goes beyond cocaine or booze. It's anything.  The only way to maintain more than one passion is to tone down the heat and color.  But then they are no longer passions, are they?  What's the word?

Conundrum...

You just can't live that completely in anything and still have anything else.  It's one way or the other.
And hence the tickle.  There is something growing beneath the surface.  Call this a placeholder. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

800 lb. Gorilla

Indexed

Rigorous Honesty...

The Climate

Is this venture running out of steam, or is it just a question of the engineer running out of steam?

I am tired.  The dull ache behind my right eye seems to have gained mass and circumference, blocking all avenues forward.  Words are more of a concept than an arsenal today and only the most... something... are readily accessible.

There are more feelings than thoughts, but even the simplest words to articulate the feelings are... out of reach?  They're not coming.

I am able to visualize or rather visuals come of their own volition.  There is a plug in a barrel and the barrel is filled with tears.  So that's it?  Am I holding back one of those choking fits of sobbing? 
Hard call.  There is definitely a feeling of being about to burst.  To vomit, both physically and emotionally.  Tread lightly today, boyo.   You have been in better shape for certain.  It's not going to be an easy one.  Just be mindful and do your job and keep your mouth shut.  The new kid on the block keeps his mouth shut and listens.

Got it?

A lot of extra words just to say I don't feel well. 

And that's about it for now.  It's just gone 6am.

Not feeling well at all.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Windsor Terrace

Work it!



A New York Blizzard

Childe Hassam

Digging Out - The Climate

New York Fucking City is digging out from a 28 inch snowfall.  Everyone has a story.  What they saw.  What they did. How their dogs and cats and kids liked it. Blah blah blah.  It was pretty.  Now everyone is over it except for talking about it and their first post-storm commute.  Any problems getting in?  Oh yah blah yes blah. 

Me?

Same old shit.  Still digging out from Sub-tropical Depression MacGregor.  It's not so bad today after a couple days rest.  It was two days of mostly lying horizontal and not talking to anyone, unless you might include the dog. She got a fucking earful but she likes the attention.  There were maybe three lines exchanged yesterday with the guy at the convenience store.  Not really much beyond that except the odd hello have a nice day bullshit with people in the hall.  It feels like spiders or moths will come out when my mouth finally opens today.  Maybe I should talk into a handkerchief. 

It's Monday morning again though and time to pick up the pieces and get moving.  This past weekend was somewhat of a luxury and the snow was a reasonable excuse to do absolutely fuck all.  Back to the grindstone again today though, mostly  concerning things not related to the job.

I am feeling rather dull at the moment with very little to say.  The photo says more.  I am upright. I am okay. 

I am okay. 

The headache and the infernal ringing are still very present.  I am having dreams not about the tinnitus but in which it is noticeably there.  It's driving me batshit crazy, but...

I am okay.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Missing Persons Report

Still pondering this idea, the continual protest of my own disappearance and fleshing it out with semi-related ideas.

For example, when asked what superpower I would choose if given only a single option,  the first that pops into my head has always been invisibility.  This is clearly at odds with one of my biggest fears, which is invisibility, rendered by other "in" words, like:

Insignificant
Ineffectual
And "in over my head"

Or the "un" word, unnecessary.

The struggle to be heard above other voices...  outside voices yes, but these day mostly echoes from a distant past and those in my head.

And of course how these fears manifest? 

Have you seen this man?

We plan...

The Crocodiles would say, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans for tomorrow."

This one is somewhat more direct, sort of an agnostic's adaptation, but the message is the same.

I'm just trying to find the tipping point between forces beyond my control and self-fulfilling prophesy... or the logical trajectory of bad choices. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Quietest Day Ever

I've often imagined how peaceful the city might be with no auto traffic.  Yesterday, at least for a few hours, it mostly happened.  

Watching the world go by...

Yukon Cornelius... one dog left

to pull the sled

Light dusting?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Prospect Avenue Brooklyn

So, about this weather...

The snow doesn't give a soft white damn whom it touches...

e.e. cummings 

Deepest and darkest...


CLICK FOR MORE FEAR

Yah, this stuff can nag at a body.  Some of my own fears are far more far gone and strange than this assortment.  What is it that Bob Dylan said?  "If my thought dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head, in a guillotine."  One of my more irrational fears is that people can actually read some of those thoughts.

The Climate

Five mornings now in the new digs on Ocean Parkway.  It seems a world away from The Coyote Den.  Another country.   Another culture.  Of course that has to be in my head.

It is not unpleasant.  It is a big, clean place, brightly lit with wide hallways.  I can hear children playing behind newly painted doors.  The hallway smells of fresh coffee in the morning and dinner aromas at night.  The people smile and exchange quiet hellos and good byes and haveanicedays in the hall. 

There is daylight in my bedroom when I remember to open the curtains and blinds.  There were no curtains to open in the old place and no daylight to let in.  To run on an old joke, I've no pot to piss in but now I've a window to throw it out of when I do.

Jane was sitting on the bed and looking out the window when I left just a while ago. This is new for her too and she just sat there in a quiet restlessness, staring out at the street.  She reminded me of Abuelita, who watched Kyle when he was a chubby infant.  She could no longer get about, so she would sit there at the window like it was a television, baby on her lap.  They were there in the morning when I left him, and their silhouette was framed in the window when I came to pick him up.  I looked up this morning as I was leaving to see if Jane was still there watching.  The light and angle were off though so I couldn't see.  For all I know she had moved on to begin whatever it is she thinks about doing with a long day of no responsibility.

I am not unhappy this morning, but I am not exactly content.  I am fixated on new curtains but I don't really need them so my guess is that it's not the curtains that are ailing me.  Today though the prevailing feeling is a mild, buzzing melancholia.  There is a migraine brewing behind my eye and the forecast is pretty certain, unlike the actual weather which is merely threatening a storm.  My own tempest is on its way but I am letting it come.  I am weary of struggling against the inevitable.  The serenity prayer is slowly making more sense. 

The new place is lovely.  The anxiety behind moving is behind me.  I can face forward now and not have to lean so sharply into the wind.  Things can be okay if only I just let them. 

I will ponder what The Sphinx said about struggling against disappearing entirely, but I am not going to tangle myself by running in circles with it.  It is already making sense.  I'm in no rush to explain it here either.  I can afford to talk less. 

I do?

"You are one of the unfortunate ones," she said, "that walks into a room and sees everyone with no clothes on.  Once you've seen it you can't unsee it and that changes everything right from the start.  And you have to wonder if they see you that way too so this dance starts.  You are in a roomful of 800 pound gorillas and you  sit in anticipation and dread waiting for things to jump off because you know it's inevitable."

"You think that's true?" I can feel the 11 between my eyes deepening and my scalp tightening.  A sharp pain is coming up behind my right ear and creeping along towards my eye.  I turned her words over and over.  I tried to visualize them as a mechanical puzzle in my hands, turning it. I thought about what goes through my head when I enter a roomful of people.

"Yes I do.  And I think you have conditioned yourself to immediately look for chinks or flaws in armor so you are always ready to not only fight.  Or a reason to premptively reject a person before they find what you are protecting that you are certain they will reject you for."

"It must be exhausting," and she shook her head and looked away.  After a moment she stood up and walked over to the stove leaving me at the table with my great big feelings.

It felt like reproval.  It stung and for a moment I thought about retaliation, but that just proves her point, doesn't it. 

I wanted her to be wrong.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Protesting my own disappearance...

Now there's an idea.  Thanks, Sphinx.  I'm going to crawl into a corner and ruminate on that for a bit. 

Cheers,

MacG

Nursery Rhymes

I wish I still had young children so I could scare the living shit out of them with this.

Terribly morbid...


He makes a valid point here.  We put a lot of stock in having someone with us to share our pain, but are often quite content to keep our joy to ourselves, and to let others keep theirs.'  

Mental Health

LetsHaveATalkAboutMentalHealth

And just because SHARING IS CARING (CLICK HERE)

I'm not being snarky.  We can talk about it or we can sit alone, each of us in our individual rooms, clutching and tearing at our hair and skin.  It's one in four.  That means you're not a fucking freak.

Pretty much...


Tired, again.

One step below talking about the weather, and there will be plenty of that in coming days, is griping about exhaustion.  That's all there is right now though.  The task of unpacking all my belongings is nearly completed, save for bundling all the spent boxes and disposing of them... in an ecologically sound fashion.

Brooklyn Recycles...

After all. 

It doesn't seem like all that much, all my worldly possessions,  now that it's all tucked away neatly.  Granted there was a lot that went to the curb, but the saved stack that seemed so overwhelming on the other end, now seems like not that much at all.  Not much to show for 54 years, and of course that's where my thoughts went.  There really isn't all that much to show, in accumulated wealth or deeds.  Not much at all, unless we factor in the storage room in my head. The value there remains to be seen.  This morning it doesn't seem all that remarkable.   And that's just where a tired mind is going to go. 
There is the other side of that coin though if it wasn't so fucking heavy.  Too much to flip over to have a look at at the moment. 

There is a lot of work still to be done.  Unpacking the material items is the tip of the iceberg. 
Sleep still isn't coming easily, or rather it pops in and out squirrel - like and then skitters off leaving me earthbound with my gravity and my grump.  There are still no clues that might reveal exactly what's behind the insomnia.  It is more a sense of impending doom that may or may not be the cause itself.  Chicken or egg.  Which came first?  

Chickens are vile. 

Gravity. 

Even words seem heavy today.  This isn't working.  More later maybe.

Meanwhile, since every day needs a soundtrack, this one works:



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Moving in Stereo


One of the best segues in pop music, and always tied to one specific memory of the first listen:  Driving to Poughkeepsie on a late night mission in a snowstorm, creeping up Route 9 with the occasional sideways-shimmy-slide-spin.

Life's the same, you're shaking like tremolo...

Passing a bottle of something that burned, or maybe it was the smoke, but the snowflakes coming from the gloom into the headlights it felt like that moment the Enterprise goes into warp speed, the brief pause before points of light become lines.

Cigarette

Cigarette

Pull on the bottle.

Grip the wheel.

Roll the window to let the smoke out.

Pull out of the spin.

I am right there in that memory.  I am not in my chair on the Upper West Side where I am supposed to be.

It's so easy to fly through a window.
It's so easy to play with the sound.

Feelin' Some Kinda Way

This is a fair approximation of how I feel today.  Like Vinnie Jones, not Gazza.  Understanding that you feel some days like your balls are in a vice, today I am the vice.  It could be a continuation of therapy yesterday, during which The Sphinx followed me down the anger rabbithole.  We talked, or rather I talked, about being driven into a hard course of action.  Sort of a take-no-prisoners scenario, similar I suppose to that very first time when I took the claw hammer to Frank's head.

Willing to go to any length...

It's not about feeling homicidal today.  It's merely a feeling that I'm not about to suffer fools gladly and take even a little shit.  It's about feeling backed into a corner, and more than a little dangerous.  It's not like I haven't needed to find my balls and hang onto them.  It's rather overdue actually.  Never one for moderation though...

It's not about feeling especially articulate either, apparently, so maybe I'll let the picture do the talking.  This is definitely a placeholder though and can be filed under "For further exploration."


Kourtney Roy


via Kourtney Roy

" the capacity of a photograph to create the illusion of a fixed point in time. "

The above quote from an article in Aesthetica Magazine about the intent of Ms. Roy's work, or what her series of self-portraiture is exploring... in a sense that is what all photographers are doing, isn't it?  The difference may be in her creation of characters and scenes, as if from movie stills.  These are fixed points in fictional time, though it may be argued that we are all creating characters in our heads which we hope to present to the world through photos of ourselves.

Certainly this is true of selfies, which are probably the most base, and certainly the most common examples of self-portraiture.  We choose a time and a setting, whether it's in front of a national landmark while on holiday somewhere, or in our bedrooms or kitchens or offices.  We can express a specific feeling..

I am happy today.
I am very sad.
I am confused.
I am at a loss for words for this feeling.

...or we can be purposely vague, hoping to evoke any kind of response, and jet it out on social media.  All are, in a sense, fictional versions of ourselves.

By no means do I want this to sound dismissive of Kourtney Roy's work, which is out-fucking-standing.  It's more my own exploration or observation of the expanding "auto-portraiture" realm of the selfie generation.

And not to ramble, but as we create all these fixed points in time and struggle to find relevancy in every breathing moment and the possible associated feelings, are we becoming more or less genuine? Are we drifting further into fictional portrayals of ourselves?  When we publish a self-portrait to social media, have we created it with this character in mind?  Is it published with a specific audience in mind?  Here's where we drift into the vagaries of self-doubt and it becomes apparent that Roy's photographs are the most honest of all.

Sleep

It only comes lately in short rests of 2 to 3 hours.  Dreams, if there are any at all, ebb back into the mist within minutes of waking, like pieces of kelp that follow you to the shore but then drift back out.

I've heeded all the warnings, cut back caffeine, exercised an hour before bed, and removed all electronics from the bedside.  I've meditated and done relaxation exercises, and counted sheep and other animals, and I've even prayed.  Still nothing to write home about. 

It's not that there are specific issues nagging away.  It's more a blanket of unspecified anxiety.  There is an urgent sense that something, just something, nerds to be done right away.  And yet I don't or can't get up to see to it. Couldn't I just get up and do just anything in its stead?  There's a fucking question for you! 

Sleeping in a new place could be blamed, had I been sleeping in the old place.  And it just struck me.  There is a pervading feeling that there is unfinished business in the old place,  despite that there isnt.  What could there be that couldn't have been done in six years there?  It has to e a subconscious unwillingness to let go of the unfulfilled promises made there, all the resolutions and to-do lists.  What else could it be?

Ending this here.  My fingers are clawing around the phone as I tap this out.  There is something nagging away at me, a compulsion to reveal something that has not yet fully revealed  itself to me.  I am falling asleep in my seat though.  Sleep is a tricky bastard.  Wake me up if I'm about to dream the truth.  Knock me out if I'm about to write it. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Atama Yama (Mount Head)

頭山(Atama Yama / Mt. Head)(2002) from trampoliner on Vimeo.

I had a dream like this once many years ago, and have since used the expression, "He looked at me like I had a tree growing out of my head!"

Omarotica

OMAR KHAYYAM