“I can’t feel a thing; All mournful petal storms are dancing inside the very private spring of my head.” ~ Franz Kafka, from Letters To Milena

Claude Monet The Seine at Port-Villez, Blue Effect 1894
“The Seine at Port-Villez, Blue Effect” (1894, oil on canvas)
by Claude Monet

                   

“And what were they anyway, sprigs of grass, things of blue? For a long time I wanted to use words, then didn’t.” ~ Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack, and Honey

Friday early evening, 80 degrees. Tropic Storm Andrea warning in effect.

I know. I know. The time between real posts seems to stretch on inexorably. The truth is, writing is hard at the moment. The truth is, I find myself in the midst of a major depressive episode, the likes of which I haven’t seen in many years.

Isaak Brodsky, New Moon, 1906, oil on canvas
“New Moon” (1906, oil on canvas)
by Isaak Brodsky

Why?

If I knew, I might be able to find some kind of resolution, but there really is no why. Not really. I’m just kind of empty, kind of numb, kind of unable to string together words to form sentences, sentences to form paragraphs. Mostly, I can write about why I can’t write, and I’m not really sure what kind of post that will produce, but I thought that I’d at least try.

If you’ve never suffered from depression, you simply cannot relate. You might try to understand, but it will be hard. It’s hard enough for the person who is suffering from depression. And because it is to hard for her or for him, it is hard for anyone who might happen to be in the vicinity.

I can only say in advance, that I’m sorry.

“—You’re very poetic.
—No, just sad.” ~ José Saramago, from Blindness

I think that this started about six weeks ago, but to be honest, I’m not sure. I know that it started while Corey was still at sea. It didn’t abate once he returned home, and it (the depression) took a major hit when I held my small dog Alfie’s body in my arms as Brett dug a grave beneath his bedroom window.

Georgia O'Keeffe Untitled paren Night City paren 1970s
“City Night” (1926, oil on canvas)
by Georgia O’Keeffe

In an attempt to alleviate my pain and sorrow, I convinced everyone that it was time to visit the human society from which we had adopted Tillie so that we could find a playmate for her, someone closer to her size. The reality is that it was too soon; I realize that now, but of course, it’s too late as we came home with two new dogs: a hound mix 8-week-old puppy I named Kopi, which is Indonesian for coffee (I had wanted to call her Gilly, but Tillie kept getting confused), and a 17-month-old named Jake, for Jack Kerouac (his name was Jack, but we all kept saying Jake, so that was obviously what he was supposed to be called).

You would think that the adoptions would have made some of the sadness go away, but instead, Jake reminds me of Shakes because he is an obvious mama’s boy who clings to me, and this made me think of Alfie, who was never loved enough because of Shakes, and it made me sad all over.

Add to this that the playmate we hoped Jake would be has not turned out as planned: Jake and Tillie do not get along at all; in fact, they seem to despise one another, but everyone gets along with Kopi.

And all of this has led to more guilt on my part for not waiting longer, guilt for bringing home two new pets without considering that Tillie might not like it even though we took her to the shelter with us, and she played with both of them without any problems while we were there. And of course guilt that life sucks for everyone when it sucks for mom.

“In my mind I am eloquent; I can climb intricate scaffolds of words to reach the highest cathedral ceilings and paint my thoughts. But when I open my mouth, everything collapses.” ~ Isaac Marion, from Warm Bodies

Depression is so insidious and unpredictable. It creeps up like a slow-moving fog, or it hits like a mighty nor’easter, all at once and unrelenting. This time, it was a bit of both. There was the gradual descent, and then the sudden appearance of a precipice. I was unprepared.

John DUncan Fergusson The Troacadero, Paris ca 1902
“The Troacadero, Paris” (ca 1902, watercolor)
by John Duncan Fergusson

As many of you know, I am on antidepressants and mood stabilizers, so some of you may be confused as to why I am depressed. The truth is that there is only so much that medicine can do. The brain is a funny thing. Somewhere within mine, a switch didn’t throw all of the way, or a connection was broken, and now, there is this, this nothingness, this painful numbness.

Depression comes from the brain, but it is felt in the heart.

I try very hard not to let mine show too much, but I know that I’m not very successful in doing so. And now we have two dogs and a plus one, for whom a future is uncertain. I know that we cannot return him to the shelter; that would be too cruel, for him to live with a family, get lots of attention, have a yard in which to run and play, and then to find himself inside a cage? I couldn’t do that to my worst enemy. And so we are searching for a family that can give him love. Unsuccessfully, so far. Ideally, behavior modification would be possible, and we could live happily with all three dogs.\

Ideally . . .

“I had the idea that the world’s so full of pain
it must sometimes make a kind of singing.” ~ Robert Hass, from “Faint Music,” in Sun Under Wood

Outside, nature seems to be a perfect reflection of my state of mind: It is at once sunny and partly cloudy, and in the very next instant, grey with whipping winds. Who knows how intense this storm will be. We may have a fierce tropical storm or a short-lived thunderstorm, but I’m trying to pen this before everything hits and before Alexis arrives with the baby.

Edvard Munch, Starry Night, 1924
“Starry Night” (1922-24, oil on canvas)
by Edvard Munch

Even though my heart isn’t quite in it, we are taking Olivia for tonight and perhaps tomorrow night. It is going to be a task to continue to try to keep Jake and Tillie separated, try to watch over Kopi to make frequent trips outside for the potty training, and then, add to the mix the curious 11-month-old that Olivia has become, but I haven’t seen her in many days, and I miss her terribly.

Part of me thinks “to hell with it” as what’s a little more stress added to the mix, and part of me thinks this is another bad decision atop other bad decisions, and yet another part of me just doesn’t care enough to do anything about it.

The air outside is like liquid as the humidity is climbing to 100 percent, and my sinuses are constricting with the climb. A smarter person would crawl into bed for the duration, but a smarter person would not have brought home two new dogs so soon after the loss of long-time pets.

If I only had a brain . . .

“I wanted my own words. But the ones I use have been dragged through I don’t know how many consciences.”—Jean-Paul Sartre, from The Wall

It all goes back to my first section: Why?

August Strindberg, Jealousy Nigt, 1893
“Jealousy Night” (1893, oil on canvas)
by August Strindberg

I read an interesting piece about Stephen Fry, who I love in every single thing he does. Apparently, while working on a project in 2012, he had a major episode and attempted suicide by taking a bunch of pills with vodka. Fry, who suffers from bipolar disease, described it better than I could, although I must emphasize that I am in no way feeling suicidal:

“There is no ‘why’, it’s not the right question. There’s no reason. If there were a reason for it, you could reason someone out of it, and you could tell them why they shouldn’t take their own life.”

I mention this only because of Fry’s phrasing that there is no reason, and while he may have been talking about someone who is thinking about committing suicide, I apply the words to my own depressive episodes: There is no reason. Sometimes there is, but more often than not, there just isn’t. And so people on the outside sometimes think reductively, as in, “it’s all in her head,” and funnily enough, it is—in a way.

I’ll try to put together another post in the next few days, and maybe by then I’ll be able to express myself a bit more cogently, until then,

Peace.

Image theme: Blues

Edward Potthast Seascape moonlight
“Seascape Moonlight” (date unknown, oil on canvas)
by Edward Potthast

Music by S. Carey, “In the Stream”

                   

The Truth the Dead Know

For my mother, born March 1902, died March 1959
and my father, born February 1900, died June 1959

Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.

We drive to the Cape. I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch. In another country people die.

My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one’s alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.

And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in their stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.

~ Anne Sexton

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Corey is leaving tomorrow . . .

Atlantic Waves
by the bridge (FCC)

                   

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” ~ Jack Kerouac

Got the news today . . .

Music by Ani Difranco, “When I’m Gone”

                   

Dreaming Of Hair

Ivy ties the cellar door
in autumn, in summer morning glory
wraps the ribs of a mouse.
Love binds me to the one
whose hair I’ve found in my mouth,
whose sleeping head I kiss,
wondering is it death?
beauty? this dark
star spreading in every direction from the crown of her head.

My love’s hair is autumn hair, there
the sun ripens.
My fingers harvest the dark
vegtable of her body.
In the morning I remove it
from my tongue and
sleep again.

Hair spills
through my dream, sprouts
from my stomach, thickens my heart,
and tangles from the brain. Hair ties the tongue dumb.
Hair ascends the tree
of my childhood–the willow
I climbed
one bare foot and hand at a time,
feeling the knuckles of the gnarled tree, hearing
my father plead from his window, _Don’t fall!_

In my dream I fly
past summers and moths,
to the thistle
caught in my mother’s hair, the purple one
I touched and bled for,
to myself at three, sleeping
beside her, waking with her hair in my mouth.

Along a slippery twine of her black hair
my mother ties ko-tze knots for me:
fish and lion heads, chrysanthemum buds, the heads
of Chinamen, black-haired and frowning.

Li-En, my brother, frowns when he sleeps.
I push back his hair, stroke his brow.
His hairline is our father’s, three peaks pointing down.

What sprouts from the body
and touches the body?
What filters sunlight
and drinks moonlight?
Where have I misplaced my heart?
What stops wheels and great machines?
What tangles in the bough
and snaps the loom?

Out of the grave
my father’s hair
bursts. A strand
pierces my left sole, shoots
up bone, past ribs,
to the broken heart it stiches,
then down,
swirling in the stomach, in the groin, and down,
through the right foot.

What binds me to this earth?
What remembers the dead
and grows towards them?

I’m tired of thinking.
I long to taste the world with a kiss.
I long to fly into hair with kisses and weeping,
remembering an afternoon
when, kissing my sleeping father, I saw for the first time
behind the thick swirl of his black hair,
the mole of wisdom,
a lone planet spinning slowly.

Sometimes my love is melancholy
and I hold her head in my hands.
Sometimes I recall our hair grows after death.
Then, I must grab handfuls
of her hair, and, I tell you, there
are apples, walnuts, ships sailing, ships docking, and men
taking off their boots, their hearts breaking,
not knowing
which they love more, the water, or
their women’s hair, sprouting from the head, rushing toward the feet.

~ Li-Young Lee

“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you.” ~ Jack Kerouac, from On the Road

No time for regular posting. Too much to do and not enough time. Soon, though.

This. All of the time.

**********

“Because they know the name of what I am looking for, they think they know what I am looking for!”
~ Antonio Porchia, from Voces (trans. W.S. Merwin)

“What is required of us is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it . . . Right in the difficult we must have our joys, our happiness, our dreams . . .” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Selected Letters

Great Dixter Garden, England (travel.ezinemark.com)


“I would never be part of anything. I would never really belong anywhere, and I knew it, and all my life would be the same, trying to belong, and failing. Always something would go wrong. I am a stranger and I always will be, and after all I didn’t really care.” ~ Jean Rhys, Smile Please: An Unfinished Autobiography

Friday evening. Blue skies, low 60’s.

Random thoughts for Friday’s leftovers:

  1. I met poet Christopher Buckley once. He was charming, and he loved his bourbon.
  2. Tillie the lab thinks she is a lap dog, which is funny until she tries to climb into my lap over my shoulder.

    Gardens of the Château de Chaumont, France
  3. An old lover once referred to my cherubic countenance. What an odd thing to say.
  4. This spring I am going to fill my flowerpots with multicolored annuals—begonias, vinca, lantana, lobelia. I never have luck with impatiens.
  5. I wish that we still had a hammock.
  6. I miss my Carolina Jasmine vine. The smell on summer evenings was unbelievable.
  7. I miss Mari.
  8. Friendship on a daily basis, true friendship, is a rare thing.
  9. Tom Waits sounds as if he’s been gargling with gravel; it’s a voice filled with loss and sadness. No wonder I love it.
  10. I dreamed about seeing two bodies wrapped in white sheets, and somewhere a clock was ticking.

“And each year now
we know more, but we know no better —
what we see in the sky is simply
the softened gloss of the past sifting
back to us, and likewise, every atom
down the body’s shining length
was inside a star, and will be again.” ~ Christopher Buckley, from Apologues of Winter Light

More . . .

  1. I have a three-inch wide ridge on the back of my head, near the base of my skull. I wonder if everyone has one of those. It’s tender if I mess with it.
  2. One night I dreamed that I took a severe blow to my head, at least I think that it was a dream.
  3. Recently I watched a Masterpiece Classic production of Great Expectations with Gillian Anderson. She was quite good as Miss Haversham.
  4. If I had a cat, I would name her Miss Haversham as cats are all about being egocentric and expecting everything to go their way.

    Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew England (travel.ezinemark.com)
  5. I did not read Great Expectations and David Copperfield until I was pregnant with Alexis.
  6. My mother owns a very old copy of The Pickwick Papers, which she purchased in an antique shop in London.
  7. My father bought me these character head statues when he was doing his Rotterdam run; they are all Dickens’ characters. They used to hang along the staircase in our townhouse in Alexandria.
  8. Not sure what got me started on Charles Dickens.
  9. I have a strong urge to correct grammatical and spelling errors on comments in YouTube threads; if I started doing so, I would never finish as it seems that most people who comment on YouTube videos never learned basic grammar or spelling.
  10. I had my Technical Editing students keep an Anguished English journal, filled with instances of bad sentence structure and grammatical faux pas. This was before the prevalence of the Internet. Now, such a journal would be far too easy to fill.

Don’t tell them too much about your soul. They’re waiting for just that. ~ Jack Kerouac, Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954

And just a little more . . .

  1. As I’m trying to write this post, Shakes is hovering near my ankles, hiding from a fly, and Tillie is sitting on Eamonn’s bed really giving me a good talking to. Apparently, she thinks that we should be playing, even though we have already gone out front for today’s stick game.
  2. I have been quite teary lately. Not weeping, but getting teary-eyed at seemingly nothing: the cedar bird feeders in Wal Mart reminded me of Mari; who cries in Wal Mart?

    Monet's Garden at Giverny, France
  3. I have not had a Pepsi in almost two weeks. I have given up soda, and my attempts to give up sugar are going fairly well. I’m also trying to avoid chocolate, except for the Russell Stover caramel and marshmallow egg that I ate last night. My jeans are getting too big.
  4. To help me in this attempt to eschew sweets, my mother has delivered bags of Riesen, banana nut bread, peanut butter eggs, and jellybeans.
  5. My mother, queen of the grudges, actually said to me the other day, “Aw, you shouldn’t hold a grudge.” I did not reply as I thought that I could not contain myself if I did. My mother once did not speak to me for almost three months because of something that Eamonn said. No. No grudges in this family.
  6. In another part of my dream last night, I was unlocking these old steel doors that had bolt locks. I went through three of them, and then I got on an elevator and pushed 3. The elevator bypassed all of the floors, and I ended up on an interstate.
  7. I think I’ve run out of things to say, but I hate to end on an uneven number.
  8. I’m craving Chinese food.
  9. I think that I’ll treat myself tonight to a movie from pay-per-view, or maybe I’ll just go to sleep, or read . . .
  10. I should have stopped four entries ago . . .

More later. Peace.

Music by The Fray, “Be Still”

                   

Three Ways of Transcribing Poems

1.

I wish to write
in clear letters
on a dry riverbed
a white ribbon of pebbles
seen from afar
or a scree slope
rubble
sliding under my lines
slipping away
so that the however
of the thorny life of my words
be the however of each letter.

2.

Little letters
precise ones
so that the words come quietly
so that the words sneak in
so that you have to go there
towards the words
to look for them in the white
paper
quietly
you don’t notice them entering
through the pores
sweat that runs inwards

Fear
mine
ours
and the however of each letter

3.

I want a strip of paper
as big as me
one metre sixty
on it a poem
that screams
when someone passes by
screams in black letters
demands the impossible
moral courage for example
that bravery which no animal has
fellow suffering for example
solidarity rather than being herded
foreign-words
made at home in deed

Human
animal with moral courage
human
animal that knows fellow suffering
human foreignword-animal word-animal
animal
that writes poems
poem
that demands the impossible
of everyone who passes by
urgently
peremptorily
as if it’s yelling
“drink Coca-Cola”

~ Hilde Domin (trans. Meg Taylor and Elke Heckel)

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” ~ e. e. cummings

Abandoned by dbgg1979 (FCC)

                   

“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” ~ Jack Kerouac

Friday afternoon. Hazy and hot. Leftover haze from swamp fires.

Abandoned: Eglise St. George 3, by craigfinlay (FCC)

Yet another bad night. I could not fall asleep, and then I woke myself up coughing and had to use my inhaler again. The swamp fires are messing with my lungs. As a result, I woke up pricklier than a porcupine with a dull ache behind my eyes.

The night before last I dreamt that I was spending time with the Kardashians. Okay. Not a fan of any of them, so why I was in their house makes no sense, except that they were all acting completely predictable: self-absorbed and snooty. I was there as a stand-in for their reality show. They criticized my makeup, my clothes, and the fact that I was carrying a grocery bag for a purse.

Why waste brain cells dreaming such crap?

Corey had to be at work at 6:30 this morning, and won’t finish his shift until the ship leaves, which is supposed to be around 8 tonight. He lost his shift yesterday, so this will definitely help. I think that he ended up with only two shifts last week. Actually, I try not to think about such things as the results are never good.

He had his first real class yesterday—biology—and then we did the usual search for the best prices on textbooks. A new copy of the textbook from the bookstore lists at $160. We found an international edition for about half of that. International editions have different covers and different ISBNs but the same content within. The drawback to buying an international edition is that the quality of the paper used for printing can sometimes be poor, something I learned in my publishing classes, but for a 50 percent savings at this time, we’ll chance it.

“Perhaps everything exists only because something else does. Nothing just is, everything coexists; perhaps that’s right . . . Nothing, nothing, just part of the night and silence and whatever emptiness, negativity and inconsistency I shared with them, the space that exists between me and me, a thing mislaid by some god.” ~Fernando Pessoa

Abandoned: Plant in Belgium

Every once in a while, I become concerned with my stats. I couldn’t explain it to you if you asked me. I mean, I claim to be writing this blog for myself, so I really shouldn’t care how many hits I get. Right?

Most of the time, that’s a true statement, but every six months or so I look at the numbers and think to myself that I must be doing something wrong. I know that my blog entries are longer than what most people are willing to read, but I’m not going to change that for anyone. If I were writing a professional blog, of course my entries would be much more succinct and focused, but this is not a professional blog; this is my forum, for venting, opining, mulling . . . whatever.

I have considered going back to Alpha Inventions to see if I can get my stats up, but I just don’t know if it’s worth it. I had such a negative experience with the moderator the last time, and besides, I know that those stats are very inflated. I think that what’s bothering me is that I haven’t hit one million yet.

Some people start blogs and hit a million in just a few months. And not all of those people are writing professional blogs.

I just don’t know. Does it really matter? Why do I care so much? To be honest, I think that I’m missing some of my regular readers, people who have moved on for various reasons, or who may still be reading but are no longer commenting. It’s strange, the connections that you can make with people you will probably never lay eyes on.

“A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood. The writer wants to be understood much more than he wants to be respected or praised or even loved. And that perhaps, is what makes him different from others.” ~ Leo Rosten

Abandoned: Orphanage, by boklm (FCC)

As I sit here, the dishes are in the sink waiting for me. I could probably do some laundry, but I’m just not feeling it, any of it.

Yesterday I spent some time in the pool with the dogs and Em and Brett. It was late in the afternoon, and the sky was calm and beautiful. I was doing a bit of cloud watching. And then I came inside to write, but found that I had nothing to say. I played Spider Solitaire instead.

How pathetic.

I mean, my access to this computer is limited to the times during which Eamonn is not firmly ensconced in his bedroom, so I really need to take advantage of those times, but I just couldn’t do it, which brings me to the other thing that I’ve been pondering: What am I doing here?

I began this whole endeavor for a few specific reasons:

  • I wanted to get back into the habit of writing regularly.
  • I wanted to see if anyone out there in the ether would be interested in what I have to say.
  • I wanted to lay the foundation for a book.

So how have I done? When I first began, that first year, I wrote almost every day for at least two hours a day. Now I might put up 15 posts a month, so production has been cut in half instead of increasing.

In that first year, I had about five people who commented regularly on my posts. Now I’m down to one or two, and that’s not regular either. So that’s been cut by over 50 percent.

Since beginning, I have written probably 20 or so posts that I would consider putting into book form. That’s 20 out of 695 posts, 691 of which are for public consumption. Statistically, that’s not even 3 percent.

Beh.

“Writers, especially poets, are particularly prone to madness. There exists a striking association between creativity and manic depression . . . Why are more creative people prone to madness? They have more than average amounts of energies and abilities to see things in a fresh and original way—then because they also have depression, I think they’re more in touch with human suffering.” ~ Nick Flynn from Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

Confession: I just left this page to play a game of Spider Solitaire.

Interpretation: I cannot stand to put my thoughts to page, let alone read them.

Result: More beh.

Abandoned: Side Entrance to Mansion, Beirut, by craigfinlay (FCC)

Perhaps this is not the best day to analyze what I’m doing here. I’m out of my meds, and until Corey gets home, I will not have them. You might think that one day would not make that much of a difference, but when I say that I’m out of my meds, I mean almost all of them.

That’s a pharmaceutical shock to the system. Poor planning on my part. Just making the telephone call to the pharmacy to enter all of the prescription numbers at the prompt stymied me. I put it off for two days.

Yes, yes. I know what all of this means. Just as I know what my avoidance of the hospital visit to see my m-in-law means: I’m definitely on a down slide. There. I said it.

I have named you, and therefore you are, just as the ancients believed that if they gave a name to their adversaries, they became real.

I name you chasm. I name you abyss. I name you night without stars. I name you dreamless sleep. I name you empty hunger. I name you, and in the naming, I face you.

“How strange talking is—what mists rise and fall—how one loses the other & then thinks to have found the other—then down comes another soft final curtain.” ~ Katherine Mansfield, letter to Ottoline Morrell (24 July 1921)

Abandoned: Villa Viron, Belgium

I try so hard to deny the reality, and sometimes, in the denying, I can change things, but not so this time. Too much is hitting me from too many sides, and I cannot separate the grain from the chaff.

My mother-in-law is being moved to the new rehab center, and in effect, she is going there to die. She has stopped eating. Her Parkinson’s has advanced so much in just a few weeks because of her infections that to restore her to where she was even a month ago would mean painful therapy. Her care is now termed “comfort care.” What a blasphemous phrase. Comfort care?

Excuse me. It’s not a blasphemous phrase, but it is a blasphemous situation: how we treat the elderly in our society. This is one area in which I closely relate to my Asian forebears, for in such societies, families are still blended, and the elderly are revered. In our society, they are disposable, just like the homeless and the poor.

I have put off making this visit too long, but I did not want to stand before this woman and weep bitter tears for what is, what cannot be changed, what we cannot control, we who love her.

When my father’s condition had worsened so as to make the prognosis too obvious, the doctor in the ICU asked if we wanted him on maintenance morphine. I said yes. He asked me if I wanted him to have enough. I said yes. We both knew what he was asking and what I was saying, and if anyone ever confronts me, I will deny it with my last breath.

My friend Mari’s mother, who was dying of ovarian cancer, was not given this option, and her suffering was unendurable for her family. After hearing the story year ago, I decided then that I would have a living will, and that I would control my final days, not some faceless bureaucracy. I remembered her mother’s suffering when my dad was in the ICU, and the memory of that suffering came to mind today.

I don’t think that I can continue with this today. I just don’t think it’s wise, nor is it helping.

More later. Peace.

Music by Ruthie Foster, “Tears of Pain”

                   

So the Hall Door Shuts Again and All Noise Is Gone

In the effort to find one’s way among the contents of memory
(Aristotle emphasizes)
a principal of association is helpful—
“passing rapidly from one step to the next.
For instance from milk to white,
from white to air,
from air to damp,
after which one recollectes autumn supposing one is trying to
recollect that season.”
Or supposing,
fair reader,
you are trying to recollect not autumn but freedom,
a principal of freedom
the existed between two people, small and savage
as principals go—but what are the rules for this?
As he says,
folly may come into fashion.
Pass then rapidly
from one step to the next,
for instance from nipple to hard,
from hard to hotel room,
from hotel room

to a phrase found in a letter he wrote in a taxi one day he passed
his wife
walking
on the other side of the street and she did not see him, she was—
so ingenious are the arrangements of the state of flux we call
our moral history are they not almost as neat as mathematical
propositions except written on water—
on her way to the courthouse
to file papers for divorce, a phrase like
how you tasted between your legs.
After which by means of this wholly divine faculty, the “memory
of words and things,”
one recollects
freedom.
Is it I? cries the soul rushing up.
Little soul, poor vague animal:
beware this invention “always useful for learning and life”
as Aristotle say, Aristotle who
had no husband,
rarely mentions beauty
and was likely to pass rapidly from wrist to slave when trying to
recollect wife.

~ Anne Carson from The Beauty of the Husband

“Happiness consists in realizing it is all a great, strange dream.” ~ Jack Kerouac

I know. I know. Real post tomorrow. Honest and for truly. Felt like behhh today.

Here’s something to help put things in perspective . . .

“Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars.” ~ Serbian Proverb

Il Bucco Nero (Stairs in Puglia, Italy by Paolo Margori (flckr cc)

                   

“You must match time’s swiftness with your speed in using it, and you must drink quickly as though from a rapid stream that will not always flow.” ~ Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae (On the Shortness of Life)

Late Wednesday afternoon. Sunny and warm, around 62 degrees.

Staircase at The Rookery, Chicago, IL by rspnogsaj (flckr cc)

The house is empty and quiet, just the dogs, me, and a handful of gummi bears. Not exactly certain what brought to mind the Seneca quote, but there it is, in all of its profound wisdom, its references to seizing the day.

I suppose I thought about seizing, or my inability to seize when mulling over the poetry competition. I had almost talked myself out of entering the darned thing in the first place. I do this all of the time. Truly. This is no exaggeration.

My ex, with all of his faults, did often say that I needed to work more on my writing. Corey has said from the day that he met me that I should do something with my writing. Poets and authors have made similar comments. The only thing holding me back is me.

When I worked full time, I used to harbor this dream of quitting my job and writing full time. Funnily enough, since I’ve been out on disability, I do not work on my craft full time. I suppose that I could. No, the truth is that I definitely could. I just don’t, and I don’t have any good excuses as to why I act this way except for that ever-present, nagging feeling that I’m just not good enough, so why bother.

Thanks, mom.

Okay. So it’s not exactly kosher to blame all of my problems on my mother, but it’s certainly easier when introspection feels too much like giving yourself an appendectomy with an exacto knife.

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ~ Franz Kafka

Camondo Stairs, Instanbul by marielito (flckr cc)

So, I’m living the dream. Right? No career obligations. Just time, time, and more time. So why does it seem that there is never enough of this particular commodity? Is it because I spend almost half my life in bed, (let’s use that euphemism) resting, attempting to find sleep, which continually eludes me.

Last night, for example, the dogs awoke me on average every hour and a half. I’m certain that they were doing this simply because they knew that I was physically and emotionally exhausted from my gastro test yesterday. I had worked myself into such a worrisome snit beforehand that once the test had been completed, I was exhausted. Hence: ongoing nocturnal dog restlessness syndrome hard at work.

So if I cut back on my attempts at rest, I would have more time. Seems logical. So with more time, I can now focus on my writing, except that I don’t. I play at this blog, and I peruse tumblr looking at beautiful images and silly memes. I do laundry. Clean the kitchen, and then, well it’s time to go back to bed.

Everything just takes so damned long to do any more. My former hyper-paced multi-tasking self ceased to exist at some point, and I would really, really like to find her again. Grab her and her stylish self and make her my own. I know. I’m speaking of myself in the abstract, a sure sign that things are going wonky again.

Perhaps I need to increase my chocolate intake again.

“The heart lies to itself because it must.” ~ Jack Gilbert

Staircase at Sigiriya Sri Lanka by mckaysavage (flckr cc)

Well, the gummi bears are gone, and I’m resisting the urge to get more from the bag. Instead, I’m munching on saltines. Back to watching my caloric intake. One reason is that I’m mulling over the possibility of attending my high school reunion this August (no, you really don’t need to know the year). I told my friend Ed in Rhode Island that I might go if I lose weight. He, being male, just does not understand this statement as it’s the same thing that someone else told him.

I mean, I had plans to get back on the healthy eating program after the holidays, and the notice about the reunion just came in the mail, so the two sort of coincided. The truth is that there are really very few people who I would want to pay good money to see again. Although this year’s reunion is supposedly including the class before and the class after our class, which might prove to be interesting.

But then there’s that whole thing of finding something to wear, attempting to hold in my gut for four hours, ya da ya da ya da. Plus, the inevitable questions: So, where are you working? Hmm, I’m not. I’m on disability. Then the funny looks from people who cannot seem to equate disability with anything other than the loss of limbs or sight, as in you look fine to me . . . must be a malingerer.

I love that word: malingerer. I malinger. He/she/it malingers. You were malingering. They malingered. We are malingerers . . . Maybe I’ll go just so I can work that word into the conversation three or four times, and then having had my fun, I’ll depart, leaving hilarity in my wake . . . one does dream . . . 

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” ~ Jack Kerouac

Spiral Staircase by erix! (flckr cc)

Damn. No more Pepsi in my glass, and the saltines are stuck in my throat. Pardon me for just a moment.

Quick check on the laundry. Fed the dogs dinner. Tillie talked me into giving her a new toy that was hidden on top of the fridge (don’t ask me how she knows, but she does); made a cuppa tea (last jasmine green tea bag, reminder to get more), back at the desk, and you guessed it—forgot the Pepsi.

Yes, my life is grand, grander than grand. All ye bow before me in awe at my awesomeness. Okay, enough of that.

My mother is leaving me messages about hair color. We’ve had this conversation several times already, but she keeps forgetting that the doctors told her that coloring her hair is not problematic while she is on coumadin. She reminds me each time that we talk that she’s on coumadin and is diabetic, as if I would have forgotten this information since our last conversation.

I’m not as horrible as I sound, or maybe I am.  I don’t know, but I do know that my mom’s memory is going quickly. I really don’t think that she’s developing Alzheimer’s like her older sister did, or maybe I’m in denial. These are the things that I just don’t want to think about now: my mother’s health, my other m-in-law’s rapidly declining health, my daughter’s seemingly complete detachment from what it means to be a productive member of society.

Too much, just too much. At least for tonight. Perhaps I’ll jump into the deep end of the pool tomorrow. Until then, I want to share with you someone I am much too late in discovering, Adele. What a voice. You might get sick of her soon because I plan to include a few of her songs with the next few posts. I’ll just say sorry now, and we’ll move on.

Shall we?

More later. Peace.

Music by Adele, “Someone Like You”