Sunday, February 28, 2016
When my eyes did close, what little sleep came was wracked by images of strife and violence. Past or future violence and the jury is still out on that one. It could be either. Everything was just ugly and desperate.
But it would be a good day for bicycling were there air in my tires. Everything outside today, and the breeze coming through the open window is speaking of spring. Lots of fresh air, but none in my tires. Otherwise it would be a good day for it.
MISS - Verb to discover or feel the absence of
I miss you today. A day we might have bicycled somewhere. A day we might have actually put air in our tires and bicycled somewhere.
Or a lazy day when we might move from the sofa to the bed for a lazy Sunday nap, limbs coiled like vines around each other and whisper conversations so close that we inhale and exhale from one mouth to another. From my mouth to your mouth and back and we would breathe words into each others' mouths and smile and a soft caress or two might make the vines unwind and you open like a flower, the outer petals of your legs first and then more, and I slip my fingers into you like a bee collecting nectar and your body rises and falls, and what happens happens and the vine recoils and we drift to sleep with very little thought of Monday.
And later we would make dinner and smile sad smiles because soon it would be time to part. Your knee would rest against mine under the dinner table and we would lean in so every possible point of contact was made.
It would be a nice day for bicycling. Indeed it would.
But again, who are we independently of those who may judge or be judged by us?
I don't know if I could make that three days. That's scary.
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Monday, February 22, 2016
Sunday, February 21, 2016
Saturday, February 20, 2016
I'd like to say that this image would be as visually arresting to any viewer, but I feel some horrible personal identification in it. Something maybe connected to the same feeling I got when Fitzgerald described the ashen wasteland between Little Egg and New York City, with the "eyes." Something definitely connected to the depression I felt in months leading up to 9/11 when I rode the train and was accosted by slaughterhouse "daymares."
I am sure this image will be there when I close my eyes to sleep later tonight.
"Only two tings really matter, Bigga."
"And they are?" I had the arched Spock brow What was she on about now?
"Believe in something greater than yourself."
"Like God? Not likely."
"Call it what you want, Bigga." She rolled her eyes and looked away, and then turned back to me. "It can be God or any ol' ting! Just believe that YOU are not the center of the universe!"
"Number Two. Just be kind."
"I can do that."
"It's not always as simple as you tink, Big Man. It's isn't so simple. Whole heapa tings get in the way."
It was some time later, years maybe, doing a truly honest inventory of myself for the first time in my life, that I understood not only that she was right, but what she was getting at. There were times, and too many times at that, that I used my pain and my hurt and my history as justification for taking liberties with common decency and kindness. She thought better of me and was disappointed.
It is only now, so long after the fact, that I am beginning to understand what stood in between Natalie and myself. She thought me capable of so much more and I didn't quite believe it. Sure, I had pipedreams and notions of every and any manner of future successes, but that wasn't what she wanted for me. Not from me, but for me. She wanted to see me change. She wanted to see me happy. Her ability to see through it all frightened me. I wasn't ready to be that person.
And she wanted me to be kind to myself. Fucking hell, I'm only just learning how to do that.
Memories can be so vivid now. They may never arrange themselves in linear time but the clarity is astonishing. I can remember standing out by the curb, smoking a cigarette, waiting for the car service to arrive, and rolling her words over in my monkey brain, like staring at a crystal in my hands, turning it over and over and over. I can still feel the hot smoke hitting the back of my throat and filling my lungs.
"Believe in something greater than yourself..."
And, "What do you really believe in, Big Man?"
She asked me that, and I had no definitive answer. Everything seemed conditional or contingent upon some other circumstance.
Stupid me. Years later, and I am still sorting that out.
Friday, February 19, 2016
The result of months of hustling, and at least one act of kindness, and another favor called in, and more decisions and potential changes are afoot. I go from very little hope to the privilege of choice overnight. I must admit that it has me a bit off-balance. Where usually it is a question of being backed into a corner with only one direction to move, and that one is always head on into a fight, now there are options.
Hmmmm.... and of course with options comes self-doubt. It will pass, but this morning it is there.
I am being cryptic again, but mostly out of fear of blowing an opportunity and jeopardizing my current place in the world while I sort myself out.
Okay... not time to write. This is thinking cap time.
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Profound cruelty in that it may be more subtle and enduring, thereby making it more insidious and more difficult to recover from...
The world was not made for the meek or timid, nor even the gentle. I ran into Jim last night, an old... and I hesitate here to call him a friend. He was a neighbor with whom I was friendly, and I admired his knowledge and intelligence. We shared sprawling sessions of drinking and literary conversations. I always felt somewhat inferior to him in my own knowledge of books and letters, as I did with Red Francis who I've written about before. Jim struck me as exceptionally kind and compassionate, and also deeply wounded by the cruelty and sad ironies he witnessed in the world around him... around us. It seemed just beyond his comprehension and far outside his sense of decency.
Not that anyone with a shred of common sense doesn't see it that same way, but few I've met shared Jim's sorrow. It was if he had been touched personally by every act of violence and cruelty. And still beyond that there were further secrets fueling his sadness. It was palpable. You could just see it in his always watery eyes. You could tell by the ferocious appetite for alcohol. Not that we all didn't share that, but Jim was next level. In his early thirties you could already see his ruptured liver and stomach bursting over his waistline. There were spiderweb veins spread across his nose and cheeks.
You could tell he knew what he was running from and had no interest in facing it even if it meant going the distance and dying. While many of us were just clueless or in denial, Jim was committing slow suicide. It was painful to see on two levels. Firstly you just hate to see such a kind man in such pain. Moreover there was at least a basic level of personal identification that moved me to keep him at a safe distance. I was, at least on a simple level, avoiding a mirror, despite that he made overtures towards a more regular friendship.
I started avoiding him more than ten years ago, even before I decided to save my own life. In recent years I would see him at a distance, and with no small amount of guilt, pray to gods I don't believe in that he wouldn't recognize me. He has to be smart enough to know I've hidden from him.
Then last night he was right in front of me. We were face to face and there was instant recognition despite that he was incoherent and slobbering drunk. What struck me harder than the smell of undigested beer was that the sorrow, which years back and leaked through his pores, has now come out to the surface and enveloped him in layers, or a shell if you will. It hangs from his tortured frame. Jim is now just sorrow. He never had any tools to fight it, not even rage or indignation, which did keep me upright before threatening to kill me.
Jim is synonymous with sorrow.
And I am powerless to help him unless there is something left in him that wants to live.
His reasons for being upright this long are ebbing away. Son grown and moved. Wife dying.
And that is the cruelest blow of all. To know what you have been running from, and no longer able to stay ahead of it, and then living and dying alone with it.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Hey, I am giving it a shot. Some credit there, please.
I am making changes where needed, at least in baby steps.
I am working on prioritizing issues.
I have a new gig, because the previous one was not working. I didn't wait to see if through force of will I could fix it.
I have a dope, new haircut. Note first use ever of dope in this context. It will be the last.
Monday, February 15, 2016
Also implying, though more of a stretch, that it should be similar to kintsukoroi, or kintsugi, bonded together with gold and hence stronger and more... beautiful? Each piece unique, where before it may not have been. Everything pieced back together becomes one of a kind.
So lying in bed, in the throes of insomnia and yet another bout of cluster headaches, and thinking about my long-suffering memoir (from the French for memory), and how it so fragmented and tortured (my memoir or my memory? Both?), and how it has to be pieced together.
Memory is never exact and so it ends up being "to the best of my recollection." Is the gold that will piece it back together the accuracy of my memory, or is it the inaccuracy and doubt that will make it unique?
Nevermind any of this. It is forced out from the cracks between wakefulness and the shards of sanity. My head hurts. Really not doing well today.
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Leaning towards masochism, certainly, it could be said, to feature The Lovers on Valentine's Day. It is more again though, about the quality of the colors, and in particular the blue. By no means limited to the blue, because the overall tone is almost funereal, but the blue set against the red is hard.
You go, Marc, my pessimistic friend. Is this a stolen kiss? Is it a memory of a kiss as the lovers, like ghosts, have no connection to the firmament?
Or do I read far too much into it?
But there's this one also.
The political climate in the US in general, but even locally, is more bizarre than ever. Antonin Scalia tipped off the cholesterol scales yesterday and died, and there are plenty of people within spitting distance who are sorry to see him go. Donald Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. If ever there was a time to choose a side and actually defend it, it's now.
Saturday, February 13, 2016
That may or may not be true. I never gave it too much thought, really, despite having heard the song countless times. This painting, Woman Washing Her Feet, from 1944, always twisted me up and I can't quite put a finger on the reason why. I mean, why this one, and not innumerable others. Perhaps it's the simplicity of the action, or that it looks like she's weary from the toil of just being upright. Is it the beginning or the end of the day?
Or maybe it's the quality of the blue. It's a heartbreaking blue. It's a troubled blue. It's a blue you feel as much as see.
I found a small framed print of this painting a while back, lying on top of a garbage heap at the curb, ready to go. It seemed like some kind of a sign. Just for me. It's not like everything doesn't seem like a sign just for me, some days, but this one was curious. The painting has always been a favorite. It's in my new home now, atop a bookshelf.
The song always cheers me. No, "cheer" isn't the right word. It amuses me.
I've been thinking an awful lot about the color blue, and different shades as they apply to moods. It's not difficult to see why certain shades of blue, like Picasso's above, have become synonymous with melancholy, despite that there are so many happy blues. Perhaps that for those of us not living in gloomy places we've become inured to the color of the sky when it's sunny, we can only see the depressive shades. That's what I see first in most images. Even Picasso's yellow here is somehow somber, the last sunlight of a day casting a long glance towards a long night maybe. Hard to say.
Not all my thoughts are so heady. I've been thinking an awful lot about Ngeci too, gone for over two years now. The last voicemail she left me somehow disappeared from my phone when I changed over last.
"You have to get here soon if you want to seem me alive."
I didn't get there and I will forever regret that. I miss her and think about her every single day. If I linger for more than a few seconds on a memory of her, the tears do come, as they are coming now. It's rare that someone's death has wounded me so profoundly. Of all that I've ever known of, it seems the most cruel and frankly, just plain fucking stupid. One day maybe I'll sort out why her death, of all the other friends that have passed, came as such a hammer blow. The world seems a lonelier place with her not in it.
So that's it.
Back to blue. Picasso had a Blue Period, which incidentally was 40 years prior to Woman Washing Her Feet. The 1944 blue, however, might be an echo of all those earlier blues. Maybe this is my Blue Period.
I think I suffer from a generational sickness of spirit that manifests in a sense of displacement. We look back on a time and a place with a sense of nostalgia so strong that it strongly resembles Aboriginal spirituality in Australia, a belief that we are inseparably linked to a "land which owns," and that all objects are living and share the same soul or spirit that we share.
We rail on incessantly about gentrification and how our home was stolen from us, though in no way is this truly an ancestral home like the land was to the aborigines. This is all something our forefathers clung to tightly, having mostly come here as refugees, or indentured servants, or slaves. We created new identities for ourselves based on this pride of place, believing that we were part and parcel of the place and the landmarks and the new traditions our people forged here.
Now in the face of inevitable changes, since we don't in any real sense own any place or time, we feel that we are being torn prematurely from our mothers and our land. Who are we outside that place and time? That remains to be seen, but my best guess is that we are who we have always been outside of our delusions.
I am letting go.
I will let go.
This was never mine to begin with.
On an entirely separate (or maybe not) note, I fucking love/hate lovesongs:
It all falls back into reverie and pipe dreams though. When 30 odd years ago I took off, vowing never to return, it soon fell back into something I said earlier this morning, that every refuge and escape becomes its own little prison. Then again, I was much younger when I took that vow and hit the pavement. The stakes were higher, as was the potential sacrifice. The potential rewards could have been higher too, had fear not overtaken me somewhere outside some horrid little city in Nebraska, and then coupled with dysentery and stomach parasites moving through Panama. Who knows really where it might have ended up.
Now it matters a lot less where it ends up. Still...
Just speaking aloud, reacting to feelings, which are still not facts.