Sunday, December 31, 2017
So long 2017.
Inventory taken, I'm ahead of the game and I did give as good as I got. If I helped you, well, the weight I put into keeping you propped up kept me propped up. Gravity is cool that way sometimes. But a big shout-out to everyone who picked me up every time I took a header. I'd make a list of names, but we don't do that, do we?
It's all good.
I suppose the lesson here is that it's better to be a bird than to be a fish. I recall writing an introduction, years ago, to my earliest memoir project. I said, "You'd better get to telling your own story before someone else tells it for you and their's becomes the definitive version." I know now that can happen no matter who strikes first, but at least if you get moving you have a fighting chance to explain yourself in your own words, as accurately as possible (hopefully).
So name yourself or be named by the noises you make.
In other stories today, I'm reminded that my mood and my physical well-being are always closely connected. The second incidence of cluster headaches came down like hammer blows somewhere in the wee hours of this morning. The first had just been a foreshadowing of the more serious quake to come. The worst of the pain subsided but the crash has been much less than subtle. I'm wrung out physically and emotionally with very little vacation time left to recover.
Hello New Years Eve...
There were no plans anyway, but that's not the point, is it? I was hoping to wander out to something that might take me away from some feelings. It's entirely plausible that every year doesn't have to end with the rendering of an account, but 2017 is demanding it. It was an eventful 12 months and took away at least one of the people without whom the 12+ before them would have been a lot more difficult. The same might be said for the next 12 as I'll be moving forward without them... without her.
Natalie... it almost feels sometimes as if you were entirely of my imagination. I've not been able to write since shortly after you died. You really died, didn't you? It's like a switch was thrown. The power was turned off. You, of course, wouldn't want to hear this and you'd make a face and call me foolish, and you would be right. My legs got heavy, like running into the surf from the beach.
More later. I can't do this now.
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Ugh. Is this a 2-part question or two questions?
I think one is conditional and the other is simple.
1) Be honest whenever possible, but be tactful.
Maybe I'll write to Sarah, because I'd sure as hell like to know what my problem is. If it was her aim, by the way, to come off as cunty, a term I apply liberally and equally to men and women, she did a good job with this passage. If you ask me, there are far too many people too eager and willing to diagnose someone else. Everybody's a fucking shrink these days.
Hmmm.. I detect a seriously grumpy mood. Profanity isn't usually my game when I'm writing.
Friday, December 29, 2017
What's a perversion?
I'm not sure if I understand this. It evokes more questions than it does any disagreement. By proof does she mean proof she needs from her partner, or the need to prove extreme love too her partner? Both? It's not really clear, at least not to me.
At the same time, answers to my questions aren't really necessary. Her point is proven. I get it.
This recalls a question on a dating site I've frequented: Is it a requirement for a potential life partner that you have the the best (it may have said most satisfying) sex you've ever had in your life? My first reaction was that it damn sure better be. My initial response was based on the part of my brain that is and will remain a 16 year old boy. Having thought about it I started thinking about what best (or most satisfying) means. Should it be like those few fortunate volcanic, explosive physical experiences that left me gasping and spent and half-stupid? Sure, that could be cool. Or should it it be like those perhaps even more fortunate instances where having brought each other to climax we lapsed into a blissful, oxytocin embrace that just felt... felt... felt...
I don't know if I've ever had both and were I forced to make a choice, I'd probably say that the second was the best and most satisfying. There was a love of sorts in both cases, but I know which was closer to right. For me, anyway.
Anyway... just thinking. Hoping one of these 300 Arguments will be the trigger.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
A memorable sandwich, an unmemorable flight of stairs. A memorable bit of conversation surrounded by chatter that no one records.”
― Sarah Manguso
Monday, December 25, 2017
The jury is out and I don't expect any big answers in time for New Year resolutions. The wheels are in motion though so answers are inevitable, in some form, at some point. It's never an "out with the old and in with the new" scenario overnight anyway. That's all idle talk. If change were that easy then everybody would be living the life they want.
Keep dreaming, kids.
Passing through Bed Stuy earlier on a slow roll home, and it's just fucking cold and I only bring that up again because Christmas Day is bittersweet when you're idling to and fro among friends and family, but the streets are relatively uncrowded. It's in the absence of the hustle and bustle of those fortunate enough to have a hustle and bustle to take part in, that you really see all the people with no place at all to go. And it's just fucking cold and nobody but nobody deserves to have no place to go when it's cold. Nobody, or very few people anyway, have ever done something so heinous or made such shitty decisions that they deserve that.
I spoke with one man on the corner of Throop and Fulton who said he was just out of rehab and it showed. He was still very obviously sick, slick with the disease despite the cold wind, collapsed against a wall outside the bodega. I suggested the all day meetings at the church two blocks away on McDonough. He said he'd been there but he just couldn't sit and listen to the stories right now. I told him don't even try to listen. It's just a safe, warm place to sit for a bit. Nobody hears shit when they're so new anyway, and I suspect he was far from clean anyway. He had the smell on him, and I don't mean the smell of liquor or even homelessness. There's no describing it. You just know it if you've been there.
No pressing it. He wasn't ready. The other folks I saw out there though, sure, some were on a run. Some are batshit crazy. Most just have no place to go. It's not Christmas for them. It's not Hanukkah, or Eid or Kwanzaa and there is a good chance it will never be any of those for them. As for the rest of us, a lot of us are closer to that than we may think. It doesn't take a lot.
I don't know where I'm going with this. I guess I'm thinking about gratitude, or grinding my way back through attitude towards gratitude.
I'll get there.
People at the meeting tonight talked a lot about family, but it's that time of year, isn't it? People who are hell bent on changing themselves, even though we're taught not to, can't help but expect that things and people around them will right themselves too. It's too easy a trap to fall into. So many things begin to make sense that you just sort of expect everyone else to get it.
Stop expecting. It's like trying to piss up a rope. You can only change you. If they truly want advice they'll ask but don't hold your breath. This isn't pessimistic. It's just the way things are. It's not even a qualitative evaluation or judgment. It just is. If they thought there was a problem then they would have been working on it and wouldn't kick up your shit and trigger you every time you see them. They may even be perfectly happy the way they are.
It's a funny old world.
Sunday, December 24, 2017
I'm not going to lose sleep worrying about how other people remember it. I need only get my own version right, and if I happen to believe mine is more accurate than yours then you don't need to think about it and add another worry to what keeps you awake.
I don't know. I just don't know. And I don't know that it matters.
You will look at photos of things 20 years from now, and things you didn't even remember existed, but your entire soul will echo with everything you were feeling while you took all this for granted.
Saturday, December 23, 2017
It's entirely possible it just doesn't need explaining. You feel it and then let the feelings pass.
It's entirely possible that at times in my life I waited for celebrations that never happened that I developed an aversion to them altogether. Hey wait, it's my birthday! Hey wait, it's... What is it? Do you care? Should I care as much as I do? I mean, I have to admit that there were many, many times that I felt slighted. Then later on when celebrations did happen they felt awkward, and I sure never knew how to react. How much gratitude should I show? Does my gratitude seem genuine? Is it genuine? Or had I, by that time, figured out it was so much about ego that it was all embarrassing.
Eight years wasn't easy. Not by any stretch. At the same time, struggling to be normal and just to get to a level, regular ground. Is it something you celebrate when you reach, or just something you do because it's the right thing to do?
Even all this effort to write this seems pointless and forced.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
It's funny in a way, but I don't need reminders.
Not that age bothers me all that much. I recognize that time is limited, but there was a time when "over 50" was either unimaginable or seemed unlikely. It was a bit of labor to make it this far.
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Monday, December 18, 2017
There are words blocked up. They are stacked up and stuck together like those magnet pieces people buy and stick to their refridgerators to make notes and bad haiku. There are associated images but the word combinations to describe them haven't come together.
"Too many false starts," she said. "You're confusing me."
Yes, it is confusing. The pictures are clear and the words are failing. They will come.
There are few things I've done for eight years, so this is big no matter which angle it's viewed from. At the same time, returning something to its natural state, or someone... myself. Does one celebrate this, or simply observe it and move on to eight years and one day? The latter seems more appropriate.
I'm not unhappy at all. Things seem as they should be. It's a clear road down a crooked path.
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Saturday, December 16, 2017
I can't remember what it is but it's an impact and there are sounds, and there is something like pain but not quite pain. It's just impact. Stopping short or something stopping short. Buggered if I can sort it out. It's just a hard stop. It's a full stop and now I'm semi-awake for 3 hours but still dazed. I'm up and around but my body says, "lie down, dude. It's over."
What the fuck?
I'm really only writing it down in case the answer comes at some point later on when I've forgotten the question.
9pm: Still can't sort any of that out but it was there. It's still there but the sensation isn't so acute. A cluster headache supplanted thought but that didn't last long either. There's still a dull ache but it's gone out with the tide and it's just beyond distance. A weird place indeed on this side of the mist, and something just out of sight on the other side.
It could be something to do with not taking proper care of my spiritual condition, or doing the bare minimum. I do the meetings, though maybe not enough. I meditate and spend time on my knees talking to space. Exercise... could be exercise. Cold weather and a cold funk have cut into that. It's harder in the morning this past week to just get up and do it. Maybe four of seven days isn't enough. Maybe the endorphin is all that's holding back everything else.
Or maybe I'm just constipated.
Something is off.
Friday, December 15, 2017
Always falling into a hole, then saying “ok, this is not your grave, get out of this hole,” getting out of the hole which is not the grave, falling into a hole again, saying “ok, this is also not your grave, get out of this hole,” getting out of that hole, falling into another one; sometimes falling into a hole within a hole, or many holes within holes, getting out of them one after the other, then falling again, saying “this is not your grave, get out of the hole”; sometimes being pushed, saying “you can not push me into this hole, it is not my grave,” and getting out defiantly, then falling into a hole again without any pushing; sometimes falling into a set of holes whose structures are predictable, ideological, and long dug, often falling into this set of structural and impersonal holes; sometimes falling into holes with other people, with other people, saying “this is not our mass grave, get out of this hole,” all together getting out of the hole together, hands and legs and arms and human ladders of each other to get out of the hole that is not the mass grave but that will only be gotten out of together; sometimes the willful-falling into a hole which is not the grave because it is easier than not falling into a hole really, but then once in it, realizing it is not the grave, getting out of the hole eventually; sometimes falling into a hole and languishing there for days, weeks, months, years, because while not the grave very difficult, still, to climb out of and you know after this hole there’s just another and another; sometimes surveying the landscape of holes and wishing for a high quality final hole; sometimes thinking of who has fallen into holes which are not graves but might be better if they were; sometimes too ardently contemplating the final hole while trying to avoid the provisional ones; sometimes dutifully falling and getting out, with perfect fortitude, saying “look at the skill and spirit with which I rise from that which resembles the grave but isn’t!”
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Womxn are staying late
Womxn got here early
Womxn have just always been early risers
Womxn brought extra
Womxn are letting you use theirs
It’s no problem
Womxn are making the lesson plan because they couldn’t really teach with this one
Womxn are keeping the books
Womxn have it in a google doc
Womxn are making sure we get a photo while everyone is together
Womxn are emailing everyone about the reunion
Womxn are emailing everyone about the party
Womxn are figuring out how we’re all going to get there
Womxn are checking to make sure you have a ride
Womxn are walking you into the stairwell when you cry
Womxn are listening to your idea
Womxn are editing your proposal
Womxn don’t know how to write a grant but they are figuring it out and writing a grant
Womxn are making sure there are enough chairs
Womxn are making sure everyone gets to speak
Womxn are doing it in their free time
Womxn are listening to your story
Womxn are sending a reminder email about the trip
Womxn are telling you your strengths
Womxn are cleaning up the mess
Womxn are smiling through their fear
Womxn are getting up and finding another seat
Womxn are protecting your feelings
Womxn know, they know, but if they don’t do it it’s not going to get done
Womxn have a minute, sure, sit down, they’re just eating lunch
Womxn are repairing your soul
Womxn are giving feedback on your novel
Womxn are setting up the space
Womxn are concealing their rage
Womxn will do this one for you pro bono
Womxn are calling to see if you got the email about the trip
Womxn are remembering birthdays
Womxn understand why you’re acting that way
Womxn can see it from your side
Womxn can empathize
Womxn have time, sure
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.
The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.
The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.
The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.
The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.
The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.
I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.
I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.
Tuesday, December 05, 2017
Sometimes I wonder why I try to find the words when someone else has already nailed it, and put it to music besides.
Airports are strange places anyway, people in motion and all that and for some reason it always seems that the time between here and there is the best part of any trip, no matter the destination. Doesn't matter whether you're longing for home or longing to get away from it, there's something in that in between that appeals to me. I think sometimes I'd like to live in that in between but that might get old, no? Or maybe not. Just seems there's always been a comfort in that brief time in nowhere at all. No fucking place at all.
Train stations and bus stations too as you go down the scale into budget travel. Things can get funky though when you work your way into the world where some people have no destination at all and they're just moving around from place to place. Hell, I don't even know where these thoughts came from or where they're going. It's just about feeling "some kinda way."
If I were really feeling brave I'd right down the grocery list of things that crawled up my ass in the last couple months, but I'm not ready for anyone to read that. I don't even know if I'm ready to process it all. Baby steps, MacGregor... baby steps. Segue to Wichita Lineman and I know I need a small vacation, but it don't look like rain. There is a shit ton of things to do before I can rest, and that just might be the whole problem. Maybe I'm just tired.
The Sphynx told me that I say 'maybe' and 'perhaps' a lot when I talk about feelings.
"Don't you know how you feel?"
"I'm not really sure." And I'd look over at her and that was a problem right there because she'd be looking right at me, all pretty like, and that would get me thinking about what could happen if we met under different circumstance. It wasn't a crush, but truly, looking at her wasn't helping me open up. "I'm not sure how I feel."
"Are you afraid to commit to feeling it?"
But being challenged never helped me much either and it just made me feel argumentative, so getting a straight answer there wasn't likely.
Segue to By the Time I Get to Phoenix... and all I can think is by the time I get to Phoenix I'll want to be someplace else.
"You don't have to keep running. There are other options," The Sphynx said.
"I'm not running. I stopped running when I realized my ass always follows. That doesn't mean I have to be happy about it."
It's laughable in a way, because it's not all bad but a lot is and one thing I will talk about is aging. When you're young and someone dies it's sad but it's usually one kind of an accident or another. You figure it's just random and horrible or horribly random and the odds are it's not going to happen to you. Not anytime soon anyway. Then you reach an age, if something horribly random doesn't get you first, that when someone around your age dies it's just fucking scary because you kind of figure out that you could easily be next. There were two of those in the last ten days or so, a couple of guys from the old tribes. They were a tad older but not much. I can't say I'll miss them anymore than I already did because it's been ages since we hung out. Sad as hell, but being a self-absorbed cunt it comes back around to me pretty quickly. It was just an unpleasant reminder that I'm not likely to make 112 so 56 is beyond middle-aged.
And all these dark thoughts but I'm still doing my thing and I do find a little bit of beauty in every goddamn day, even the bad ones. It's a discipline though because you really have to be mindful to look for it, the way you have to be mindful to exercise if you want to stay fit.
And I have a crush... It's kind of funny because I always figured I'd be 25 or 30 years married by now, love or loveless but committed and it all goes to show you that if you do too much figuring and get too invested in the outcome you'll end up being committed to something quite different than marriage. So anyway, when does liking someone become a crush? Like an oh wow that's too fucking cool I like this person? A trigger maybe, like being out somewhere with someone and you come around a corner and she's banging her head to some pop song, just lost in a moment in a song. I love when people get lost in moments in a song. It says something about them, and it's one of those oh dear that's so... so... moments for me. Of course all the other elements have to be in place but maybe I hold back until I can't hold back, self-protective like. Anyway..
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Most likely spending a good part of my childhood 50 yards between the Hudson River in one direction and the Conrail tracks in the other, but I get a sense of peace near the l water or the tracks. So many hours I spent frozen in place, contemplating the people on the boats on one side, and the people on the trains to the opposite side. Who were they and where we're they going?
I don't think so much about the other people anymore. They can go where they wish and it's got little to do with me. They probably don't think so often of the people watching them pass through.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Sunday, October 22, 2017
If my entire life hadn't been weird, then maybe the last few years would have done me in, or maybe wrecked my head. You can't break broke though so things are okay. Weird is is just business as usual then, right?
It's like in the old cowboy movies. You don't worry until the drums stop. So I'll worry when shit goes quiet.
I'm used to this.
Monday, October 09, 2017
Or as The Crocodile said, "best make sure the foundation is solid before you hang drapes."
It took a while.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Choir practice not unlike the choir between my ears, except they're petitioning their god and mine is petitioning... who?
Temptation Siren soprano.
Liars, contralto, alto and tenor.
It's Friday night. It's getting dark earlier, and the air is tropical and wet, but that's a lie too. I will wake up one morning soon to dry, skeletal cold. I will only see daylight on Saturday and Sunday. The others it's leave in darkness and come home in darkness and read or meditate by artificial light and wait for spring. I will try to find reasons to laugh and maybe this time around I'll look for the right reasons to laugh and find them. There are right reasons to laugh and there are maybe not wrong but definitely not so right reasons. It can be a gift to be able to laugh at things that aren't really funny, but maybe it's because the punchline is that it's not going to last. The worst that can happen is that it will kill me and everyone dies anyway, don't they?
The ladies in the church believe or are at least trying to believe that if they sing loud and true enough that they will never die and be happy for eternity in some sunshiney place with no bad weather and no pain. Good luck, ladies. I really do hope that comes true for you.
I've some work to do before I can even begin to believe that I deserve that, or even want it.
It's Friday night and there are places to go and they are nowhere really. Just distraction. It's Friday night and maybe I will dance with a pretty woman or just stand by myself and listen to music and be nostalgic and dignified for a bit before I get distracted by thoughts of what is dignity anyway and do I have it or do I know someone who does and how can I be like them. Maybe the music will drown out the choir just long enough to get tired and maybe tired enough that it will be a deep sleep with no dreams that will last long enough that I don't wake up alone in the dark.
It's Friday night.
Monday, September 04, 2017
Saturday, September 02, 2017
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Troublesome, but that's got a lot to do with my relationships to the afflicted as well.
The dam nearly burst though but not quite. The lump in the throat came up and tears fell, but it wasn't the cathartic fit that might have relieved the pressure.
Dinner with my sons was nice. Seeing them doing well, or at least okay, allowed me to exhale and to relax into a semblance of gratitude. Gratitude has been in short supply, and that's not quite fair as things have been relatively okay, a few missteps and heartaches notwithstanding.
I'm tired though. It's mostly my fault as often all that's required is that gratitude, and a level of acceptance. Still looking for that balance and perspective on where things are as opposed to where they were. Patience with myself isn't exactly my thing.
And that's it for now. I will, at some point, record something of an inventory that might explain this wistful, winsome missive.
But not now.