Paterson

Eight twenty five.

I just got off the phone with RideSource to schedule a ride to see my prescriber tomorrow morning. Before that, I made my little trip to the store, and for a change I felt pretty good. The place was quite busy today and Michelle toggled between the two cash registers to expedite the process of checkout. The weather now is cloudy and not too cold, and no rain is forecast until tomorrow. Again I consider how the literal and natural are a nice escape from cultural things that can be rather oppressive and stifling. The details of the immanent, as in the poetry of Carlos Williams, have a restorative property when you need to get away from excessive religion and psychology. Too much of anything is bad for you, and I find that theology gives me a headache after a while. Maybe after Christmas I’ll slack off on church attendance again, just for my sanity, or maybe never go back. I need a break from overmuch thinking, so that “no ideas but in things” acquires new significance for me: and then I’ll contemplate taking my dog out for a walk and get completely away from my thoughts; or more importantly, another person’s thoughts. 

Accents

Eight forty.

It might be nice to fly over the rainbow or fall down the rabbit hole, find myself in an alternate reality of timelessness. I’m avoiding church this morning and just lazing on a Sunday. Trying to drop all my troubles to achieve peace. I’d like to discover a romantic space like a Pleasure Dome, but this also calls to mind hookahs and opium dens. This wouldn’t be very responsible, yet just for a day it is good to dream… Now it’s time to feed my dog… The day clouds up, perhaps to fulfill the forecast of rain. I saw nothing today to really complain about, except the general mood is very blah.

Years ago at the store I occasionally saw a woman from Wales whose accent was a delight, though as an individual she wasn’t sympathetic to people with disabilities. She told me about her experience at WinCo, when a person in a wheelchair blocked her view of the soups. She got quite upset and said something to the disabled person. Basically, get out of my way. It was a lesson to me that out group homogeneity is a fallacy. No two British people are exactly alike, and it’s a fool who thinks so. I haven’t seen this Welshwoman in a long time, but it was a treat to hear her talk. The foreigners around here have all disappeared over the last four or five years, and I’m sad to see them go. Maybe they’ll begin to trickle back in before long.

It’s early and I have all day to take out the trash and recycling. The weather is not pretty, just kind of lemon. But there is a ray of sunshine on the ground. 

Calgon Bath

Six thirty.

I didn’t sleep very well last night. At least I hope today is a good day, but I feel quite a lot of pressure on me regarding the PCA situation. As if in sympathy with my dilemma, the temperature on Sunday is going to be 109 degrees. I think I’ll go back to bed and try to rest.

Nine thirty. Michelle told me she could use a vacation. She’s been overwhelmed by many events in her life lately, and I joked that she needed a Calgon bath. One of the customers before me in line bought a half rack of Budweiser, which reminded me of a dream I had last night. I was forced to pick my poison from a bunch of different brands of beer, and none of them looked very good. I narrowed it down to Miller High Life and something else, but I don’t recall whether I ended up drinking it… The next person in line bought a newspaper with cash. Michelle helped the people behind me while I used the card slider. Outside of Colin’s house I saw a pest control van; probably for ants, because I have a lot of them too, though they stay outdoors. And every year I get swallows in my chimney and just live with them. A few minutes ago there was a mourning dove on the ground in my backyard, grazing for food. It had light gray plumage and a long tail… 

Yesterday afternoon I sampled some John Berryman poetry from The Dream Songs. The tone of it struck me as being rather dissatisfied with big city life. The speaker has desires that always go unfulfilled. But sometimes he shows compassion for other people. Why does Henry say that he and Lucifer are in business together, or that God is no friend of his? I guess it’s sort of like Baudelaire, where people in poverty are befriended by the devil. Almost every poem in the series consists of three hexagrams: triple six. Very strange… I don’t think Berryman is for me, but I’ll give the book to my friend. He’ll probably enjoy reading it, and it might inspire his creativity. 

Fly Me to the Moon

Nine o’clock.

On my doorstep I found a new package: the selection of John Berryman had arrived, and it’s in time before our next band practice. So I opened the box but left the book wrapped in the plastic for delivery to Ron this weekend. Now I have to think of something for Mike; maybe a music CD, but which one?… I walked off to the store to get a few things. The sky is mostly cloudy and it’s cooler than yesterday. When I came home from church the other day I saw a big white prop plane low in the blue sky. I thought that I’d rather observe it from the ground than be a passenger on it. The same day, I stopped and said hello to Johnny in the green house on Fremont. He told me he hadn’t built the book share himself. It was someone who lives three blocks away from him. Then he wished me a happy Father’s Day, whether I was a dad or not… I think I’m going to opt out of DDA group. There’s one person who lords it over the rest of us at every meeting and I can’t tolerate it anymore… The Tuesday garbage trucks are making the rounds and it feels like an ordinary business day in the neighborhood. I have a renewed sense of individual freedom today.

Ten o’clock. Colin and Roger were just talking to each other in the street; I wonder what they have in common? Generally I don’t like a lot of my neighbors. North Eugene is sort of a purple zone, leaning towards the red in many places. Roger said he would like to move to a red state like Montana. He tunes the radio in his garage to conservative political talk and eats his heart out. What a waste of energy, so full of resentment and pure hate. He told me that education was excessive but for reading, writing, and arithmetic. No wonder he’s an ignoramus… I used to work in an office with a bunch of turkeys who mostly had a phobia of books and learning. The only way I could keep going to work was by pretending my education ended at eighth grade. But as with all self delusions, this situation couldn’t last. The truth comes out. So now I’ve changed my mind about that big twin engine plane: I’d prefer to fly the friendly skies. 

Eldorado

Six twenty.

Cloudy morning again, and the sprinklers were just on. Music: “Teen Town.” Since yesterday afternoon I’ve been in a Jaco state of mind. I played his lines from Hejira by Joni Mitchell yesterday on the jazz bass I put together from a kit. That was fun, while outside my window the wind whipped the rhododendrons and the maple tree, as though nature had an answer to the thunder I was making.

Quarter of eight. I only spent about ten bucks on my food today. I didn’t encounter much on my trip. I could hear some bird twitters but saw nothing: no birds, squirrels, or cats anywhere. The world seems to be sleeping in, and it’s an early Saturday. The temperature is very warm: 57 degrees outside. I feel inclined to dig out my Wallace Stevens and study “The Man with the Blue Guitar.” I first read it when I was a junior in college, and barely grasped the concepts. Winter term that year was like a dream to me, gazing out the window on the third floor of Gilbert Hall, observing the rain on the pavements and the people who appeared like mindless automatons. I had no idea where life was taking me, so I sat back and enjoyed this Eldorado known as college… On the Maxwell sidewalk I reflected that my second grade teacher mocked me for swinging my arms when I walked. And then it struck me that the old Silver Lea school is now a heap of dust. Nothing remains of it except in my memory.

Quarter of nine. Aesop just had his beef vegetable stew and now we’re sort of in limbo for a while. Roger’s garage door is open while he tinkers with a project. In my head I hear “Singing All Day” by Jethro Tull, a very old song collected on Living in the Past. But sometimes the old songs are the very best ones. 

Wotan’s Moods

Quarter of noon. The sun wants to come out. Now I reflect on the cyber friendship I had with Kate in the past ten years. I did all that on a Dell desktop computer, but today I can’t stand Windows operating systems. I only succeeded in being intimate with a machine that used me as much as I used it. And mixed up with the whole scenario was big time alcohol abuse, so truly there was nothing substantial about my daily life. I floated a mile high all the time. The saying used to go, “Kill your tv.” Now it ought to be, “Trash your computer.” When I had an office job, one of our computer consultants was a strung out tweaker, and my boss had a lot of problems. I think I regret the years I spent working with office machines. Maybe I’m on the fence about that. Sometimes on Friday nights I would get plastered and listen to The Police with my computer’s visualization app, tripping out to “Tea in the Sahara” or “Walking on the Moon.” It was a complete waste of time, but I guess I was very lonely and unhappy.

Quarter of one. Rebecca will be calling me very soon. I’m in a rather cynical mood today. It’s no wonder, after hearing that my identity was stolen.

Two thirty. Now it’s trying to rain, which would be fine with me. A UPS truck was just here but I didn’t get my package. On a day like today, a half case of a good beer could really hit the spot. However, drinking beer is not something that worthy people do. I feel a vague longing for something or someone, while an old song by Pat Metheny, “Fallen Star,” caresses my mind. I have DDA group tomorrow at one o’clock, so I can anticipate that. It’s true that alcohol is a depressant, but it also triggers endorphins and makes you feel good… Or anyway, it used to be a wonderful feeling to get a buzz on a tasty beer. But behavior becomes unpredictable when you drink. That’s why the Greek god of wine, Dionysus, was capable of being so brutal as well as amorous. Yet why should a person suppose that a state of drunkenness is somehow truer than sobriety? And for this reason, perhaps the tradition of the old Greeks may be set aside…

Three forty. It’s been a different kind of day. The quality of the green daylight appears somehow unusual, and it kind of soothes my nerves. The air inside the house ought to be cleaner since I replaced the furnace filter yesterday. I could almost go for some strawberry cheesecake ice cream from the little market.