Prosody / Cold Snap

I wrote a good poem about war and posted it. It came from reading Melville’s poetry. What you feed your mind determines what comes out. And in the creative process, it always comes out transformed. It was a bit of a struggle to compose, yet still didn’t take very long. It’s short. Blank verse— my favorite. It’s the easiest to work with without going totally free verse. The latter to me is flimsy because lacking in rhythm. The meter is more important than rhymes. It gives the poem motion and a skeleton to move with. This is music; the percussion line of any rock and roll song…

Cold as Antarctica this morning, or might as well be in the trailer. From the store: everything, but Dog Chow without fail. Call to schedule a ride to my appointment for tomorrow ASAP. I also will call Beth for updates on the house. It couldn’t get done by Halloween. I should call Brandie too. My feet feel frostbitten. Only 29 degrees outside. The cold makes sleeping difficult. The next couple of mornings are predicted to be worse. It’s ridiculous how I’m being treated by my insurance company and the contractors. It’s been the ultimate test of patience since the fire in March. Why don’t they put in the fucking carpets and finish the interior? We’re going to freeze to death out here!

Then and Now

It pains me to recall the shape I was in three years ago, particularly the times I was taken to the hospital. But I remember it for contrast to now, when life is much better. Nor was my condition my fault; not a moral failing. I remember how mean the emergency room staff was towards drunk people— and not just me. I saw them humiliate another man once. Their eyes gleamed with sadistic pleasure, which I thought was sick and inhumane. I was never a fan of P—Health. I spent too long in their behavioral health program last year. They took pride in their care, but it was excessive. And they were judgmental about hygiene. I despised my occupational therapist for that reason. I gave her a hard time for it, too. It was an ordeal throughout, but Laurel Hill makes up for it. Way more experienced with the mentally ill, and more patient. I’d been the only schizophrenic person in P—Health. They really didn’t know how to treat me, and that was discouraging. But there are lots of us at Laurel Hill…

The sun has risen, lighting a clear blue sky. It didn’t quite freeze. My fortunes should be sunny too. I anticipate choir practice today. We may have three male voices, plus Pastor will want to play his guitar. Life is good.

Abolition

Sensuality and indolence are the culprits in Emerson’s early writing. He considered three careers, one being minister. He admits to lacking system and detail in his thinking. He is less philosopher in the Western way than Sophist, a rhetorician— and he knows it. In some ways E is proud, yet humble and realistic regarding his shortcomings. He wants to preach at people, yet recognizes his own frailty. All this at age twenty one, in 1824. He tends toward abstract imagination, toward generalizations, and away from logic and method. But he’s great at what he does. When he’s on fire, his rhetoric soars with the best poetry. He would’ve been a good preacher, but he didn’t subscribe wholeheartedly to the teachings of the Church. In this he was honest with himself and others. So, he broke away and plowed his own road, independent and original. He became the key voice for the movement called Transcendentalism in 19th Century America. He sought conferences with Abraham Lincoln and twisted his arm about abolition. Slavery was an absolute and repugnant atrocity. There was no excuse for it. On other occasions, Lincoln, after hearing Emerson speak publicly, admitted to not understanding a word. But something at least might have sunk in. And as I write, I recognize in the story hints of what passed between me and my ethnocentric family. They never had an excuse either, but I think it would take an act of God to change their minds. Therefore, like Emerson I keep hoeing my row to the unknown…

Harmony House

Quarter of three. Had a long series of Tolkien dreams. I’d forgotten until a text message yesterday that I have an appointment Wednesday with Todd. Then I left a voice mail for Heidi asking if she could fit me in the same day. But I know she’s been overworked since they lost a case manager. People like her, too, for the same reasons I do. She has a big compassionate heart. She believes in getting clients into the system who need it, though they may feel too proud to take assistance. Heidi doesn’t begrudge people being on benefits, whereas I’ve met a lot of workers in her field that do. Alf believed it was a miscarriage of justice when those who worked never received Social Security while the disabled on SSI could benefit. But then, she hated Mexican people too, and anyone who got what she couldn’t. Alf was a redneck. I fell into her crowd by mistake after Mom passed away and my sister took over my life. I did a lot of inauthentic things to please the conservatives I knew, and they were everywhere. I learned how I really feel when Harmony House was closed and all those participants were turned away and steered into working for the agency or doing educational activities. I remember how Harmony House used to be crammed with people being sociable and having a great time. By closing the program, the agency sent them the message that they were being bums. I was employed in optical when the closure occurred. The rumor that spread said it was done for insufficient funding. Later I emailed with the director of SAFE who stated that the agency CEO just closed Harmony House sort of on a whim. A lot of participants who used to go to HH now went to SAFE for socialization. Only two years later I left my job because I was hopelessly addicted to alcohol and because I hated what I was doing and my conservative coworkers. They replaced me with a Christian rightist who fit with their agenda better.

The Things I Cannot Change

Two thirty. Made my run in the moderate rain. No umbrella, just the rain jacket Tim gave me. The puddle at the end of my street was two yards wide and an inch deep. I got my right foot a bit wet, but I’m not afraid of catching a cold or anything my mother used to warn me about. A guy on his bicycle passed me on the sidewalk, then stopped right in front of me. Just one of those irrational things. I went around him and continued west to the market. Once inside, my eyes met with Michelle and Cathy at the registers. I picked up a red plastic basket by the door and proceeded to the deli cooler: no sandwiches. I grabbed three cans of dog food farther down the aisle, a liter of Sprite from the soda cooler, and two cans of Chef Boyar Dee pasta. JR was ticketing items, which would’ve been odd for the son of the store’s owner; but his mother sold the store, leaving him rather in a bind. I felt bad for him and wondered why his parents would do such a thing. Vaguely I miss the old days when Belinda worked in the store nearly every day. I must’ve spent fifty thousand dollars there over ten years. My perception has changed a great deal since the time when I drank. I pick up on things I might’ve missed before, such as JR scrambling for a job after his parents sold the business, and how unjust it seems to be. But like a lot of things, it’s nothing that I can control. And so, grant me the serenity…

It’s Me

BEE31C7E-E1B2-45A1-B104-1340881C409D.jpegQuarter of eight. I will head for Bi Mart before nine, giving me enough time to make it to the salon after ten thirty. Aesop is barking at a squirrel that was on the roof. I imagine that the squirrels will inherit the earth after human beings are gone. I just emailed Pastor regarding the food pantry. I believe it’s happening tomorrow. I have no abstruse notions right now, and that’s good. I’m only aware of how free I feel. No guilt. The weather is fairly clear, only partly cloudy. I anticipate seeing Shawn, Jeanine, or Sherri at the pharmacy and Darlene, Karen, and Lisa at the salon. My appointments yesterday were difficult. Blood pressure was super high from anxiety. Todd, I sensed, is of the opinion that schizophrenia is indeed the patient’s fault. Of course I reject that idea. I also reject epigenetic theories. I believe that schizophrenia is on a chromosome, and we simply don’t know which one. If the illness were not genetic then it wouldn’t run in families. It’s that simple. And parsimony says that the simplest explanation is the most likely to be true. But I doubt if I could persuade Todd to my point of view. He’s just kind of a dork. Once in Dr T’s waiting room I heard a young sufferer say, “It’s not good to be sick.” He spoke it in a tone of guilt. It made me wonder if T had given him shaming messages. He’d gotten the attitude from somewhere. I didn’t see that psychiatrist many more times after the incident. In my informed opinion, the mental health profession has gotten more brutal over the years. Dr T in particular used ECT to shock some patients into motivation. He was also yelling at them with gross disrespect for their humanity. And my response to this today is, Shame on you! Who asked your opinion in the first place? Some smart person has to rise and advocate for people with mental illness, and it might as well be me.

Inquisition

Religion is the disease for which it is the cure, to recast Wittgenstein. Just opening the Bible and scanning it is enough to be hooked like a fish to the bait. From there, you are stuck on the Bible’s terms. The only way out is to unlearn its terminology…

This reminds me of the reluctant debate I had with a Catholic in January 2010. The guy tried to force me to meet him on his terms when I said I didn’t believe in God. I refused to use logic and only reasserted my unbelief. This exasperated the heck out of the man, who kept trying to snare me logically. My defense was that of an existentialist, saying that reason didn’t have all the answers. My defense against his rationalism was indeed irrationalism. I completely dodged his method with something visceral, just a gut feeling. He finally gave up on trying to convert me, and eleven months later his family moved away. It was the most unpleasant inquisition of my life. I realized later that the Catholic had something wrong upstairs. You just don’t invite your neighbors to breakfast and then try to crucify them.