Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Every superhero needs a soundtrack, right?
A week straight of cluster headaches is starting to fuck with my head. Not that it wasn't already fucked with plenty. That's not news. Still moving through it though. Still moving through it.
Sit tight, or not. This might be a rant. So I'm wrapping up a work day today and a call comes in on my smellular unit. It's a 202 area code so I'm figuring the Tax Man finally caught up with me with his 5 for you 15 for me ways and why not just answer the call and get it over with. It'd be blood from a stone anyway so maybe he's got some magic. When I pick up the phone it's a man with a heavy South Asian accent and from the noise in the background it sounds like a Bangalore call center. He had me dead to rights though so I figured I'd make sure. I would try to be polite. First thing he says is:
"I am very sorry about your recent cancer diagnosis but I'm calling with some very good news. You might qualify for free experimental treatments."
My response: "I beg your pardon?"
Him: Yes, I am very sorry about your recent cancer diagnosis
Me: That's very sweet of you... but...
Him: I have very good news for you.
Me: Cancer is good news?
Him: You may qualify for free cancer treatment.
Me: Wait. Cancer is good news?
Him: Treatment is good news.
Me: Fuck that. I just paid all my bills and you're telling me I didn't have to?
Then I started feeling guilty and cut him off and told him I don't have cancer, and you know the little bollix had the nerve to sound disappointed? It's like... no Patrick. I indulged him because he told me his name was Patrick. Okay then. But no Patrick. I'm sorry but I don't have a potentially terminal illness but if it makes you feel better I will call you if I catch it. Of course I forget that I'm sitting in a somewhat new job. They're all staring, so I quit the call and stood up to leave. They continued to stare as I rounded the corner to the elevator.
But then I start thinking, well, what if I actually do have cancer? Or what if there really is a god and he has a sense of humor and this is his way of getting back at me for talking shit. Or say this is his way of telling me without coming right out. Mysterious ways and all that.
Nevermind... the song works.
The headache is back full-on tonight. Bad and getting worse.
Monday, August 29, 2016
Saturday, August 27, 2016
So the alt-right embraces racism, right? Since when is that new in the right wing? It's bad enough in the left and center, but we need to be real. The right wing in the United States has always been racist. The only difference between them and the "alt-right" is the "old-right" denies it.
Fuck this Americano-Newspeak!
What does it feel like? Well, sort of like this image here and I regret not being able to credit the artist but it came up randomly in a search for "migraine." It's close enough for the easier moments though it doesn't really describe the rolling waves of pain. It's tempting to use the word 'tsunami" as it comes in like that, one wave after another and building in depth as the next wave holds the last in. It feels more like one of those deep rolls of thunder though, the kind that rumbles in, increasing in sound and intensity, and you can feel it in your chest and the foundation of the house.
How do you describe pain? How do you use words to differentiate between a burn and an ache? Between bad and really really bad, and oh god damn this is really fucking bad?
Have you broken a bone? It's like a broken bone in the head.
Have you been hit in the head with a hammer? (I have, by the way.) It's like being hit repeatedly in the head with a hammer.
It's a light that makes you sick to your stomach. It's a a garish transformation of the familiar into the horrible. It's awake at 5am with an hour to the alarm and a day ahead full of expectations and nothing but despair to meet them with. It's unimaginable despair. It feels like it will go on forever.
|Hallpen on Deviant Art|
It is simply despair manifest. How else to describe it? People throw words around.
Question it and people will say it's relative. It may just be. Pain is relative. How do you argue that? It doesn't really pay, does it? Probably best to keep to oneself and find a personal solution. A final solution? (Apologies, I won't go there again. Not really funny at all. I'm sorry.)
A day of expectations ahead. To be here. To go there. To face the world in gratitude and appreciation for all the blessings and gifts.
Friday, August 26, 2016
It'll make sense when you see it.
Pete Townshend said, "sickness will surely take the mind, where minds can't usually go." There are some days when life on life's terms makes life itself an affliction, or sickness. Sleep didn't come easily last night, between over-exhaustion, or over-exertion, kidney stones and cluster headaches. It's hard to tell now, with an hour awake and upright, what were thoughts and what were dreams, or how much sleeping actually happened. There was some and that's something to be grateful for.
Thank you, amorphous, undefined entity that I kneel and give thanks to in the morning, even on the mornings where it's more out of superstitious fear than gratitude.
The dog mirrored my mood and demeanor this morning while we were out walking. Sullen and dumb. Sometimes she seems so intuitive and kind. Others she is thick as a plank. Her company wasn't the quiet comfort it can often be.
The lights at the convenience store at the gas station were especially harsh. The guys at the counter, who are generally cheerful and kind, seemed rather edgy this morning too. There were no jokes or smiles, save for maybe a grimace turned up at the edges. It was more just a "god please get me through this so I can go home and get a few hours sleep before I have to come back and do this shit again." Who can blame them? They're not kids. Nobody dreams of working the counter at somebody else's convenience store in a shitty gas station in Brooklyn. If you look out the front window at an angle you can see the Greenwood Cemetery. That doesn't seem like much of a comfort. It's more a reminder of the long dirt nap waiting at the end of the shift.
Or who knows? Maybe I take it all too hard. Maybe they're happy. Who the fuck am I to say? Maybe they're perfectly content standing there for 10 or 12 hours at a time, smiling polite smiles at assholes like me and making change. Maybe they like 10 or 12 straight hours of classic rock. This was playing when I walked in at 5:45 this morning. Not to make too much of a coincidence but it seemed fitting.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
I passed through a time warp on the way home today and for a moment there... well, for a moment I rode the high seas of magical thinking on the HMS Metaphor, but then hit the shores empty handed. I probably wouldn't have made a very good pirate.
Even I'm tired of talking about it.
You have to sleep to dream, right? So there'll be none of that this morning. No revelations. No self-psychoanalysis. No ponderous trek through the back alleys of my brain.
I woke up today... no... back that up. I met the alarm today with a serious case of "the fuckits." Were it a weekend I would meditate, lift weights and maybe take a long walk. How long is long enough? Today might be a 20 mile excursion. It would take that much to shake out the spiders, and even then... That's not how it's going to go down though, but who cares? Anything you shake out creeps back in before you reach the other side of the day and lay down to lay awake again.
I was getting tired of dreaming anyway.
Random thought: You never know how small your life is until someone asks to see something that just isn't there.
Another random thought, or not so random considering the time of year, but the thing with birthdays and christmas and whatnot, is that they grew unmanageable. They became more trouble than they were worth. Like, who doesn't want a birthday... the cake... the gifts... the little bit of fanfare or recognition. But I just got afraid to hope or wish for it, because there was always a price tag. There was always going to be a debt of gratitude and you never knew how much you were going to have to pay until the bill came. That's how it was and sometimes you would end up paying all fucking year.
So... no. You can keep it all just the same.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Sleep came down like a beast last night, and what does that mean? Bad choice of words. It came on like a seizure. My chest and neck tightened and a dull ache crept up the back of my head and across the top of my skull. It was two strong hands pulling me downwards by the hair. I remember closing the laptop and putting it aside on the nightstand. I had just enough strength to roll over and half reach for the lamp, but couldn't quite manage the distance so it remained on. A jolt of electricity ran from my hip down through my leg and out my right big toe. Then another, and one more. The next thing I recall I was dreaming, and I knew it was a dream as it was happening.
There are common interpretations of shaving one's own head in a dream. Most of them involve deep feelings of vulnerability and self-revelation and that would make sense, given all the waking circumstances. Another less common view is that shaving one's own head in a dream is about feeling a need to make penance. That could very well be the case too. Hell, I've felt the need to make penance for as long as I can remember. Penance not so much for deeds I've committed as penance simply for existing. I'm not saying it makes sense, but it is what it is.
What throws a monkeywrench in any of the interpretations though is that I was not shaving my head of my own accord. It wasn't a case of being told to do it but it felt like my hands were being forced. They were moving under some "other" power. I could feel the buzz of the clippers in my hands but it was... just happening. My hands were moving and the hair was falling on the floor. Hours later now, fully awake, I recall the same feeling years ago, when I actually shaved my head. Once I made the initial cut up the side of my head, there was no turning back. It was no longer in my power. I also know now that it was a form of self-mutilation I was acting out when I did it. Take from that what you will but that's what it was. It was penance, now that I think about it. It was my own mark of Cain.
The other oddity, or perhaps not so odd for any dream but especially not my dream-life lately, is that my ex-wife was present as I was shaving my head. We were in the house on 17th Street again in the dream. Some part of me feels there is unfinished business in that house, with her, as I continue to revisit it in my dreams. Was this dream about guilt? Still? After all this time? Something to consider. It's more likely to be unresolved anger and resentment, also connected to feelings I've had lately that nothing I've ever done has been enough for people around me. No efforts to impress or validate myself in the eyes of other people has been... or rather I feel that it's never been enough to... to what?
Just thinking aloud here, really. The answers are right there but it's going to take a bit more to compel me to lay them out here in the dissection pan. It's enough to say that it's been me choosing the difficult path through people with whom I feel I need to prove myself. It's enough to say that it goes far back into childhood, isn't it. Has the pattern been broken? I thought so.
So why the penance now? What am I feeling guilty for? Is it past transgressions, or current? Or both?
And maybe Edward Hopper didn't fail me after all. This came to mind, The Tramp Steamer. It's always seemed out of character with the body of his work, the nautical theme and such. Then I consider it with other paintings that often include a solitary human figure. This isn't so different. It's riding low in rough sea as if heavily laden. There is an outcropping of rocky cliffs, indicating that the boat is headed toward the shore, but it doesn't seem particularly welcoming. There is only enough of the shoreline to make the viewer wonder what else is there, but it doesn't look... safe.
No safe harbor. It might be better to turn back around and take one's chances out on the water for a while.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Angel Number 55: "Angel Number 55 is a message from your angels that it is time to let go of the ‘old’ that is no longer positively serving you, and get ready for big changes to take place in your life. Release old doubts, fears and perceived obstacles and look forward to wonderful new opportunities."
So according to this I have angels and they're telling me to just let go of everything that no longer positively serves me. It's funny that I've been making an earnest attempt to do just that, for some time now, with varying degrees of success. It probably wouldn't hurt to let go of a little more.
Another entry says that I am holding onto something from my past that's preventing me from pursuing my destiny.
It doesn't really require all that much digging, does it? My dream from a couple nights ago fairly well lays everything out for me.
Patterns of behavior that don't serve me, or even do less than serve me. Let's throw in:
It doesn't require Angel Numbers or Numerology, nor Astrology, nor any form of pseudo-science or mathematics. You live a certain amount of time and you gather as you go. Then you get to a point somewhere down the line where you have too much to carry. That point, for me, was one day back in 1981 or so but it took me a while to figure out what the issue was. It took about 30 more years.
So whatever. I'm just prattling on at this point, and what's the point? The point is maybe, and I return to this theme almost weekly, dating back to a blog post from way back when called HMS Metaphor or something like that... The point is that if you look hard enough and let your superstitions run amok simultaneously, that you can find a sign anywhere and in anything. This is a metaphor for that. That means this. This means you better get off your duff and take action.
My superstitions exhaust me. They're probably the very first thing to let go. Why even hold onto them except out of habit? Trying to find some kind of meaning, or holding out for the hope that The Universe is going to open up and explain itself is a very bad habit. It's killed as many people as smoking.
One last note: I saw a man outside the gas station this morning, a taxi driver. He got out of the yellow taxi and rolled out a small rug and knelt facing the sunrise and prayed. Did he pray for something specific or was he just giving thanks? Did he ask for an explanation of some sort? I wanted to ask him but that would be rude wouldn't it?
But Brooklyn is the city of churches. There are people of every faith here kneeling and praying at all hours of the day and night. It's not uncommon at all to see. You hear gospel and chanting and such when you walk down the street. Maybe the takeaway this morning is that after the man finished he just rolled up the rug and put it into the trunk of the taxi and went straight back to work.
Monday, August 22, 2016
Ever have a dream so fucking vivid that you wanted to take a day off just to sit and remember it and process it? Or so rife with startlingly relevant imagery that you need 24 hours to find a way to forget it? Time will take care of the latter part. It's already starting to fade out. Or maybe not fade out. I don't think we forget dreams so much as they get reabsorbed into the brain, even the ones we just have once.
Or maybe we never have a dream just once. It's a hard call with recollection to dodgy. Maybe we keep having them over and over and over and over and we just don't remember them. It could very well be that this one I had right before the alarm has happened a thousand times and it just stuck in the present a little better this time around.
Opens with me talking to my handicapped brother and warning him that "mom is really serious and wants everything cleaned up and ready to pack into the truck. She's going to throw it all out otherwise." He's lying in the dark and refuses to move or even respond. Somehow, maybe in a part of the dream I can't remember, she's communicated to me that she can't have him sitting around forever doing nothing and he's got to get his shit packed up and ready to go or she's putting it all to the curb. I'm agitated and angry with him for his lack of response, or maybe his inability to respond. He's just lying there in the semi-dark. The room smells of sweat and old blankets. It smells a place that doesn't see the light. It's stale and stiff.
Cut to an empty room, or empty except for two chairs and me in one, and my ex-wife in another. She is now the mother that gave the warning but my handicapped brother is still my brother. She's doing that voice she does because I think sometimes she doesn't even know what her own voice sounds like. Everyone else in her family has a strong Brooklyn/Long Island accent, but she sounds kind of like Madonna in an interview. Not quite American but not quite English. Distracting because you know it's a put on. I'm annoyed with her in the dream, or rather the accent is annoying me. I want to ask her where she thinks she's from but she's busy carrying on about how it would make her a bad mother if she did nothing. She's giving some kind of a tough love speech and she's not going to be interrupted. I'm trying to make excuses for my brother but she's not listening. She's rattling off an inventory next about what's getting tossed while I defend that it's all he has in the whole world. Books. Old clothes. And then an adult-sized tricycle and this is where the dream becomes lucid and the present starts to leak back in. My roommate now has an identical tricycle and I'm thinking about how strange it is that it's the same, and that my ex-wife is now mother to my older brother...
And then cut to alarm and I'm awake.
A friend told me last night that I get strange every year around my birthday, and I wondered if she'd been reading my blog but decided it didn't matter. She knows me just well enough that she's not talking shit. It's true. My birthday kicks up my shit. I said it just yesterday. But she knows me just well enough. How well? Not really sure. I think about that sometimes. Despite that we were lovers, and now friends, how well does she know me, if at all? I get annoyed sometimes and think that she never really got out of her own head long enough to get to know me, but is that really her that I'm thinking about? Or is it her specifically or do I think that about everyone? Is it a "nobody really really understands me" weepy jag? There is some truth to it I think but maybe my annoyance is that I'm just tired of being inventoried by other people, at least one in particular who seems absolutely certain that she knows me better than I know myself. Another ex-lover and ostensibly a friend moving forward. The line "try looking in a fucking mirror" keeps raising its ugly head but that's not quite fair either.
"how does all this heartbreak, call me lovingly? How does it know how to open the door?"
"Oh you taught it how, and what you still allow, to keep the keys will use them, even now. They'll come to call on you. They'll haunt you for sure." ~ Chris Smither
That sums up the dream world, doesn't it?
I'm going to just leave this all here for the moment while I process dreams and apparently, lasting resentments towards people and feelings that I have left with extra keys.
Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me.
I never said Sigmund Freud was useless, dear Mother.
Sunday, August 21, 2016
But I don't care...
What else is there to talk about if not myself. People all over the internet are putting up pictures of what they just had for breakfast. My shit may or may not be more interesting than an expensive omelet on a bed of arugula.
But then there's this classy motherfucker below. Don't get me wrong. There has to be some older folks that
continue to do their thing and just be their sexual selves. Then there are others who try too hard.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Friday, August 19, 2016
Thursday, August 18, 2016
It's weird in a way to look at this and identify so strongly with it. It's weird to be just self-aware enough to see that one's own inner monologue is troublesome, but not to the extent that one might make an effort to modify it.
I wake up some days and feel... I'm not going to say "some kinda way." It's not that vague. Some days I know I'm just not really fit for human consumption. There was a meeting yesterday where my monologue went something like this:
Jesus, what absolutely strange eyebrows she is such a pretty woman but the eyebrows are a hot mess not quite Vulcan but no no it's like a scimitar is that a word it's not samovar you serve tea from that it's one of those "Hassan chop" swords like in Bugs Bunny with the guy in the turban chasing Bugs and Daffy around that sort of Hassan chop shit what are they talking about I have no clue fuck me I am such a fucking fraud what am I doing here where did they learn all this shit and where was I when oh crap can they tell I just totally spaced out maybe I looked deep in thought god this shit is so far over my head I should be home right now walking the dog or something maybe my only hope is writing a book okay throw in a comment here about that guy from the video so you look like you've done some homework and you're listening Christ that is pretty interesting do I know that guy at all or what damn this chick is kind of hot really I would totally... okay stop you fell asleep again did they just see that fuck me this is pointless I am such a fucking phony...
And so on.
And then more often than not I just want to go home and jerk off and pass out.
But that's just at work. It goes hyper drive on dates... or did anyway, when I dated.
I probably shouldn't make more of this than it is but I wish it didn't make so much fucking sense. I have, in piques of maudlin sentiment, been entirely convinced of higher powers in The Universe and will still get on my knees and pray. There exists in me a powerful superstition that impels me to kneel and give thanks when the odd really good thing happens. There was one incredibly well-timed bailout recently that has had me down on the floor at bedside so many times that goat-knee-callouses are forming.
Then some rational beast inside bitchslaps me and demands to know what the fuck is wrong with me. Why not someone from the future in place of a benevolent astral grandpa?
But of course this window-missive from Tasmania is only whimsy. It does open the floor to questions though.
Or rather, please come soon and set a few motherfuckers straight.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Some of the best days, I've come to find, are a curious detachment. It only makes sense that if one wakes up often enough over the course of a life to become accustomed to discomfort of some sort, or of every sort, that in the absence of these ailments, one would be unfamiliar with the sensation that others take for granted. Wellness would become alien. That is to say, if one defines wellness by the absence of pain, then it would be an awfully strange sensation of the sort that might make a person question their identity, or at least their whereabouts.
Welcome to my world.
The intensity of gravity itself can feel different from one day to the next, but that's the other part of it. One can become accustomed to waking up in unfamiliar settings so they idea is to just accept whatever you wake up to and move through it. Sooner or later all the familiar landmarks come into focus, or not. Either way you just move through it.
There was this article this morning, prefaced by a quote from Emily Dickinson, called The Gift of Disassociation (click). I can't say I have been blessed by involuntary forgetfulness. There are growing levels of acceptance where peace can be found, but now I'm going off course. What I'm addressing here is the discipline of accepting what you wake up with and getting on with it. I do wish sometimes my memory were not so acute but that's not the case, despite what this other article says about the prevalence of false memories (click).
I get it.
I've also had a lot of time to sort through what is true and what is false. You'll have to take my word for it. Well, you don't have to. That's your choice unless my pain is so painful for you that you involuntarily disassociate... oops. Sorry.
But now I've tried to be so clever with embedded links that I've lost track. It was something about a curious absence of pain being almost as unsettling as the pain itself. Figure out for yourself whether you can identify with that.
It's Tuesday. We know that much. I'm up before dawn, out with the dog, and into the rest of the routine.
No shortage of sweat. It feels... cleansing. More than just a physical cleanse too. It is purifying. Edifying? Must look that up. No shortage of sweat but a shortage of words. Now I'm off to sit by myself in a vast roomful of people, and call strangers to talk about cancer. Why cancer? Why not. Talk about anything. Sell anything. It's a living.
Who am I?
Today I am a salesman.
Sunday, August 14, 2016
I've an admittedly conflicted relationship with Sigmund Freud based partly in personal experience with Freudian analysis. A neverending excavation of the past seems a luxury fitting only for those who've established some kind of level ground or safety net in the present. When a person (myself for example) is punching through hostile circumstance in the present life requires more immediate solutions, doesn't it? Beating about in early childhood amounts to pseudo-scientific, pseudo-intellectual wankery that has little practical use when trying to block hard punches to the head.
Well, whatever. That said.