REPORT A PROBLEM
I had a quick luncheon with Michael Jr. yesterday, dinner really which was good because I hadnít eaten and he took me to a burger joint where I got stuffed with carbs and protein. I work again tonight, already. He also slipped me money to make his motorcycle payment this month. I donít think the bike will last until it is paid off. It has been deteriorating at an alarming rate. He still owes about $8,000 on it and I think he would be lucky if it were worth three thousand at this point. His brother did the same thing with the first relatively new car I co-signed for. It was dead long before the debt was.
Got my hair cut by Stephanie and looked at pictures of the latest car she and her hubby were re-doing. Listened to her woes of the demands of the bowling league. I envy the demands of the bowling league and...The phone is ringing. It is Jerrod at the Movie Store. Someone called in and they want me to work. I said no. Fifteen hours is about the brim for me at the movie store, and what is another shift? Thirty bucks? It is not worth it. Isnít minimum wage nice? It keeps struggling authors home writing where they belong.
The incredible deal on the Sony Vaio laptop on Craigís List turned out to be too good to be true. I got an email back from ďSusan HoakansunĒ who explained she was now in Great Britain, but still had the laptop. I researched the model and found it was worth between 2 and 3 thousand dollars minimum. Susan was asking 530. Something seemed odd. I was repeating the phrase to myself, ďIf it seems too good to be true, it probably is.Ē So I Googled ďSony Vaio ScamĒ and the first page that came up had Susanís name on it.
Iím scheduled to have lunch with Michael Jr. today. I called yesterday and he was in bed. He said he was sick, but with that voice children use when they donít want to go to school. I also need to clean the kitchen and replace the light bulbs in there. I feel like a burnt-out light bulb sometimes. It seems that there is more to us than that though. The physicists and philosophers pretty much agree that space and time are illusions. Reality is clearly an illusion, one probably held by a greater illusion and so on without end. Amen.
I called my sister Sandy and sang Happy Birthday to her. She and Fred have moved back into their re-built house. They enlarged it and re-designed it, after the fire but the new design has more walls. So their dining room and bedroom are larger, but the living room is smaller somehow. It feels that way because of the walls. And they have more furniture. New furniture. Fancy furniture. Fred is afraid to sit down. Guests tend to mill in the dining room. My mother said they should have the builder return and put it back the way it was.
The Lady at the bagel store insisted on giving me a page of coupons for her products. ďYou eat here a lot,Ē she said. You could save a lot of money.Ē That I ate there a lot seemed like a sad thing to me. But then you have days where just about everything seems like a sad thing. Iím sitting there, eating my breakfast, and wondering if I should offer to move back in with Terry, but thatís impossible. Itís surely impossible from my perspective, and surely impossible from her perspective. Maybe it means Iím thinking out of the box.
I was walking with a copy of Glimmer Train rolled up in my back pocket: something to read during breakfast although I found myself reading the paper at first. I did read a story in the magazine finally. It seemed to have something to say, but I didnít follow the damned thing. It was one of those deals where there were too many characters in too short a space and I got mixed up as to who was who, so Iím going to have to read it again to sort it out. I sure hope itís worth a second reading.
This morning I had a notion to get in my car and go somewhere. But I didnít know where to go. I didnít want to go north or south, to Canada or Ohio. That left east and west, and I had only two days before I had to be back to work. That is not enough time to drive east or west. I could have driven out to the West Coast of Michigan to watch the sunset and come home tomorrow. I would learn something from that. I would learn whether it is the travel hurting me or the destination.
Thinking that the word Gibberish came from Gibbon or something to do with monkeys, I looked it up. I found several conflicting theories. My favorite described a writer named Jibber who developed his own terminology to obfuscate his works so he could not be charged with heresy. It reminds me of some of my own poetry. So much writing tries to hide reality. We feel we cannot say what we really need to say, so we encrypt it in metaphor and gibberish. Then when you wake up and try to write reality, you find that it canít be done anyway.
I got a call from Michael Jr. I was supposed to pick him up at school tomorrow and take him to the airport. I left him a message this morning asking him to confirm, but he called and left me one saying he could not get the time off school, and so was not making the trip to visit his mother as planned. So, that is one less thing I will have to do tomorrow, which is good, because I will undoubtedly be busy sorting things out for my trip Saturday to Ohio. I have a lot to do, deciding what to take, packing the car, printing out maps and so on.
I take a half hour here to clean up a little more in the living room. It is looking better. I actually ran the vacuum. Iím regaining some of the apartment lost to Tomís stay. I had dragged out the old B&W speakers I had given him and was listening to them for awhile. Pat, the audio lunatic I talked to at Paragon today was right. There is not much right or wrongÖjust different. The stuff just sounds different. It sounds different whether you move a speaker, change a cable or buy a new amplifier. Different things just sound different.
I went in for breakfast this morning around noon. They are beginning to make a game of guessing what Iím going to order. I have found that a toasted bagel is different than toasted bread. It doesnít have the sharp cutting edges of the bread. The warmth feels good, and it melts the cream cheese, which I like. I had their BLT breakfast special which is a coffee and a whole wheat bagel with bacon, tomato, lettuce, and cream cheese. Itís tasty and has enough protein to hold me for six hours before my body starts screaming again for sugar.
I remember when I was married. I remember my wife. I remember getting to a point with her where I began watching her, watching everything she did, listening to everything she said. It was as if I were standing there with a clipboard taking notes. She noticed it too. It didnít take her long. ďI feel like you are evaluating me,Ē she said. I was. I was trying to make sense. I was trying to make a decision. It was a hard decision until I started truly paying attention to what was going on between us. Then it became obvious.
The question I have is whether I took my 3:45 Ativan or not. I mean Iím doing fairly well, but I have this low-level non-referenced anxiety that tells me Iíd feel better with an Ativan. Iím thinking my goal is not to eliminate Ativan from my diet, but to get through the month in as good a shape as possible. That would dictate that I take the damn thing. I think what I will do is wait for fifteen minutes, and see where I am. If I am still not feeling level or close to, then I will take it.
Michael jr. just stopped over. He was out of cigarette money, so he and a friend took a bunch of his motherís DVDís to Blockbuster and sold them. They got 20 dollars. That would have been about 15 DVDís. The problem was that they got it in store credit, and were given a card. He asked if I would buy the card from him for 20 dollars. He suggested I might want a snack some night when I was working late. Heís probably right. I might use it up over a couple months, so I bought the card from him.
What am I confused about? The adult is not confused. The child is confused, out lost in the weeds. He wants to be comforted, but his encounters are clotted with anxiety, and he can absorb no more anxiety. He wants to lie down, but the ground is swampy. The skies look like rain. He is cold. The wind blows in. A crow is calling from a tall tree. This overgrown orchard doesnít exist any more. The berries and paw paws are gone. Why does he come back here? It is not a nice place. It is cold, lonely and snake-infested.
The sun comes up over tall trees on the horizon, and it looks like there is a mountain far out in the distance. My eyes fool me at one point and I even see a house on the mountain. It has a porch and there is a dog sitting on the porch. An ache has taken hold of me this morning like some drug, clouding my mind. It is odd that I can still feel the effects of the reefer my son brought over two days ago. He was so geeked on the idea of getting stoned with his dad.
It seems everyone is carrying pain of some kind with them. And it is all real, and some of it is so fresh that it must be carried; it must be felt. We all wear it. We may all as well wear shirts with badges on them, or bracelets, different colors for different pains we are carrying with us. I wonder how many little plastic bracelets we would each wear, and what colors they would be. Life would be different in a culture where people marked their pain to one another this way. We would not perhaps feel so alone.
There is no need to do anything here at this moment but crawl. It is not a bold crawlÖa brave crawl. It is nearly a cowardly crawl. Slowly picking my steps, Moving carefully so as not to tip or break anything. It is a crawl with little strength of purpose. It is a slow crawl. I imagine that when Anna said to crawl, she meant something defiant, something done out of strength. But I have little strength. I am writing in the morning to find what strength I have, to pour it into this before it slips away anywhere else.
I donít feel this is writing. I donít feel like I have done any real writing for quite a while. I donít know what makes me think I have to. I could write poetry, but I havenít done that in months either. I could spend the rest of my life not doing much. Some kind of identity thing going on in my head now. I should stop that. Look out over the mountains. Are they building a ski lift there? Sheep still grazing on the slopes. I donít understand why my daughter raises sheep or what she does with them.
In Ohio, we are visiting the motorcycle people. The house borders an alley, an old tiny white trash Saint Paris house spilling out motorcycle moms, motorcycle kids, motorcycle grandpa, and young motorcycle men. The motorcycles in the yard are worth three times what the house is. Thatís fair, I suppose, if you value that art form. And they are into making their own motorcycles. The younger people favor the raked look with the spikes and knives ending the handlebars and foot pegs. I look at Fred, my brother-in-law and say those spiked handlebar ends make me nervous. He agrees. You have to understand the mechanics of a motorcycle crash. The first thing that happens is the front wheel and handle bar is smashed around sideways, the end of the bar frequently encountering the rider as he is simultaneously being thrown forward at high velocity. No helmets, hell. Who wants to be picking up crashed motorcyclists who have disemboweled themselves on their fancy handlebars?
Joe is fishing in the pond at the bottom of the glen. The pond is getting smaller as he fishes. He casts his line which darts into some bushes on the slowly approaching shore, wrapping itself around and around in a frenzy. The edges of the pond continue to squeeze in around the boat, lifting the bottom and tilting it on an angle. He lifts his but off the seat to see what is happening. The boat rocks, and he sits back down. Grass surrounds him. Damp leaves are quickly drying. Carefully, he steps from the boat onto dry ground.
As Joe steps from his boat, he sees the glen has opened. There are condominiums behind him. Ahead of him the brush has disappeared. A car hisses by on a road he had not noticed before. A man is walking toward him. They look at the boat, now a flower planter, the planking rotted and warped away from the frame. It has been freshly planted with colorful flowers. As the men watch, the flowers wilt and the blossoms fall off. It gets dark. Joe looks up, and the other man is gone. The moon is bright. It begins to snow.
Iím streaming, the molecules losing their cohesive forces, coming apart, blurring out into the room, slipping through the air handling system. The Death Trip, my friend Woody in high school called it. Life seen as a trip toward death. I used to have anxiety attacks thinking about it. Now, if anything, it cancels out the importance of daily tasks and events. If I let it, it will do that. Life is a set of cohesive forces whose purpose is to defy death. It is a defiant shout, the dance of unbearable beauty. All that. Yeah, I have said that before.
I see a sign down below, planted into the grass. The sign has been twisted by the wind into what seems to be a triangular shape. I think of a poem I wrote about the yield sign. This sign I am looking at is not that yield sign. It is a different kind of yield sign. It is rectangular and is a sign urging passers by to ďcheck us out.Ē I imagine that people drive by, look at the sign, and then look up to see my apartment. Maybe that is why there are still more empty apartments to rent.
Oh yes, it is morning. Monday Morning. I am 40,000 words into the NaNo novel, with five days left to go. I shouldnít have any problem finishing on time. I will, once again, be a NaNo winner. Suite St. Petersburg on the music machine again. I sit here wrapped in my blue terry robe, bare feet hanging out to the cool air in the room, eyes flicking to the grey snow-and-ice covered day outside. It is a good day to plan just a few things and to make sure I take pleasure in those things I have chosen to do.
There are trees out there shimmering in the wind. Behind the trees are the swamp and the lake. Behind the lake are the mountains. That is the way things are here. See, I still have some control over this. I can say that is the way things are here. However, when I begin writing a thing, it runs away and I am left struggling with it for the length of the piece. It has leapt from the box of possibilities and is poised on the page, alert, crouched and ready to fight. It knows I will try to squash it.
It is snowing leaves outside. Caught by the wind and thrown with such velocity that the mind mistakes the leaves for snowflakes, the snow that the body knows is coming. The leaves have cleared the trees enough so that I can make out the stucco house across the valley, Cranberry Hill Studios. I am not sure how it came to be studios. I think there is only one workroom, although the work goes on all over the house. I might go there. It is like going home and sometimes it is so much so, that I get the two confused.
I went to sleep early last night. The Crone, my friend, therapist, and dietician had ordered me to go out for dinner. At Chiliís I ordered steak and potatoes. I got a New York strip, mashed potatoes, and broccoli and carrots. It was so good. I saved half the steak and potatoes for tonight. I ate the broccoli and carrots though, because I didnít think they would keep. I even ordered a beer, a Sam Adams Winter beer, drinking half of it and leaving the other half on the table. It was good; I just didnít want that much beer.
Itís another month end and Iím thinking now that Iíve finished the NaNo Novel, Iíll start something different. Iím thinking poetry again. Writing poetry is different though. You donít knock out three thousand words a day. You spend long periods of time writing poems that go nowhere, and tuck them in a file called, ďSo, itís a poem. You got any problem with that?Ē Then, you come to your computer to write at the appointed time and find that someone has left you a gift. You may not even remember writing it, but reading it, you know what it is.
The Tip Jar