Is This the Sinking Island?

I was having a rather sour day until at two o’clock I decided to walk to the store to get some ice cream. At the intersection with Fremont Avenue, Willie drove in front of me and stopped his truck to say hello. Willie is the old hippie who lives on the next street from me and sells his crafts from his booth at the Saturday Market. Today he told me he’d had shoulder surgery and hadn’t been able to drive for a while. I don’t usually run into him because I go out very early mornings, while he walks his dog Rosie around nine or ten o’clock. So I was glad to see him, and afterwards my mood was better.
From there I moved on to Community Market and bought a quart and a half of pistachio almond ice cream for $6.59. This part of the trip was not extraordinary, and there was hardly anybody there this afternoon. But I came home and ate about half the container and then shared two bites with Aesop. Back on my own street, I noticed a lot of robins in front of my house and Lenore’s house next to it. And a man came walking down the street with his little boy and, when I mentioned the birds, he took out his earbud and asked me to repeat myself. I did that, and he said something stupid.
Right now, the sky has cleared partly and the sun is out. My day was depressing a while ago because I reflected that most of my life is imaginary, like living in a dream, and like characters in Eugene O’Neill’s plays. But I believe I was being hard on myself for whatever reason, and just kind of down on life and myself. I don’t know why, exactly. I think it has something to do with having left the church; probably I feel bad about it. Without those people, like Tim and Dan, I have no one to argue with, hence nothing to do all day. It gave me direction to have a debate going with other real people. But now, they have released me and kind of dismissed me from their minds. And in effect I’ve lost a lot of friends.
However, I just couldn’t fake belief at church services anymore. It was dishonest and unfair of me to do so.
Oh well. You win a few, you lose a few. Sometimes being honest entails paying a price. The only good thing about it is that I feel right about what I did, in an ethical way.

The Motels


Again I feel tired and kind of lonely since talking with my sister on the phone. Sometimes we just don’t agree on much at all, and it wears me down. I had a different father from my siblings, which puts me on an island all by myself.

Quarter of three.

I was feeling low, so I needed to distract myself by doing something different. I played the bass for a bit and found myself picking out an old song by The Motels called “Only the Lonely.” I used harmonics for the synth chords, just simple diatonic fourths, and the bass line was easy enough. Presently I felt sad and pensive, remembering my mother’s own loneliness and need of a friend. When I was 16 I vowed to myself that I would be kind to Mom and be her buddy. The video by The Motels was often on MTV that autumn, causing me to stop and think, though a teenager’s thoughts are mostly nonverbal. At least mine were. And the emotions I felt were pain and pity even though the song was a little lugubrious.

Friends Come and Go

Eight twenty five.

Last night I suffered a minor case of probable diverticulitis after eating a lot of tortilla chips for a snack. I was uncomfortable for hours. Happy Birthday, I guess. And then, all night I dreamed dreams of guilt and self accusation, as if I really believed I’d done something wrong. The music in my brain is “David” by The Guitar Trio, from Passion, Grace, and Fire. It’s a flashback to when I was a college senior. But what isn’t? I never wanted to finish school. Just be a perpetual student… Today is gray with showers here and there, and fairly warm out. I used to own the Beatles “red” compilation but gave it away to my psychiatrist as a kind of bribe to soften his attitude toward me. We weren’t getting along well for those last five years. I couldn’t stop drinking until, ironically, we terminated his service. I remember the phone conversation with his receptionist when I stated baldly that I didn’t want to talk to him at all. It’s a truism that people change over time, which changes our relationship with them. One of my differences with the man was that I believed in being honest and aboveboard, whatever the stigma of schizophrenia. I didn’t agree with his crafty approach to living, and I still think an ethical lifestyle is worthwhile. As for The Beatles, he’s welcome to it.

Nine thirty.

Yesterday afternoon I overheard Roger swearing as he worked at his truck building hobby. Probably a few things aren’t going his way, but I guess that’s tough for everybody. I felt a bit sympathetic for him. I never see him receive visitors to his house. He could likely use a friend.


Three o’clock AM.

We’re in the middle of a storm of wind and rain. I’ve been sleeping poorly tonight, I don’t know why. Monday was such a nothing kind of day, everyone exhausted from all the holiday hype, now finally over with. We go through this bs every year but no one can explain why. Probably we’ll keep doing the same thing for years hence. But nature doesn’t care about our rituals, therefore the windstorm howling in the night. As if to echo the storm, you can hear a train horn moaning long and mournfully like a whale in the deep sea. The air catches the sound and carries it, buffeting and smudging it as it does. The medium of air is like that of the sea for sound waves, only the sea takes them farther. The song of a humpback can be heard for miles away. There was a break in the weather, but now the rain renews itself, and I know that my writing is as solitary as the whale and his faraway song.

I Was Blue and Lonely

Aesop has been pouting all day because I tried to make a phone call this morning. Well anyway, I had to leave a message for Polly and I didn’t hear back from her at all today. Altogether it’s been a frustrating time for me. My book still hasn’t arrived either. It’s one of those days when the dog bites and the bee stings, and everything is going wrong. I was lonely and restless this afternoon, so I ate early and went to bed for two hours, though I didn’t sleep. I really don’t like the days when I feel abandoned by everyone. Sometimes it just works out that way, and I can be deserted for a couple of days consecutively. It sucks.
“It’s so hard to stay together, passing through revolving doors
We need someone to talk to and someone to sweep the floors
Incomplete, incomplete”
“In this desert that I call my soul
I always play the starring role
So lonely…”
“I see you’ve sent my letters back
And my LP records and they’re all scratched
I can’t see the point in another day
When nobody listens to a word I say”
“Eleanor Rigby died in a church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved
All the lonely people, where do they all come from
All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”
There’s a billion songs like these ones. I actually had to chuckle at the third one above. It’s from a song called “Can’t Stand Losing You,” written by Sting with The Police for their first album, Outlandos d’ Amour. I think my favorite album they did was Zenyatta Mondatta, in 1980. By then, they had lost all trace of their punk rock beginnings and sounded more refined and sophisticated. This was the sound that became their signature from then on. I love to hear Andy Summers on guitar, either a Telecaster or a Strat, starting when they made Regatta de Blanc. So tastefully done.

Small Hours

Four twenty five AM.

A solo on the Stick called “Soliloquy” by Larry Tuttle has haunted me for the past week, even though I don’t play that instrument. Thus it means something symbolic and deeper than the literal dimension. I intended to read “Alastor” by Shelley again but so far it hasn’t gotten done. As I was just waking up I thought of the snake eating its tail, a symbol of eternity, no beginning or end. The small hours of the night are a time of limbo without a sun to give it temporal reference. The black night outside offers no consolation but a dubious companionship— and here comes my dog, who heard me sneeze. And this detail does add a sense of grounding and being supported in spacetime. Perhaps it takes two perspectives shared to create reality, regardless that Aesop is not human. The clock meanwhile advances at a creeping pace. “I’ve been waiting for the hands to move / Time moves so slow / How come 24 hours / Somehow seems to slip into day? / A minute seems like a lifetime / Baby when I feel this way.” I think of the Jungian world clock, something from a dream; and the number 12 is the most perfect because it’s the product of 3 x 4. On the other hand, maybe Jung only jerked our leg, and it’s the commonplace that really has any meaning? Still, Ouroboros the serpent swallows its tail during this timeless time, looking a bit like the world in embryo… 


Seven o’clock.

There’s no daylight yet. I have no plans for today; maybe a phone call to the veterinary hospital to schedule Aesop’s appointment. How strange if the light never came this morning. But I see it rising very gradually, a change of color in the east. Sometimes I feel like a stranger to myself. It’s hard to monitor what’s happening with my identity over time, and I feel quite invisible and inconspicuous to other people. “I could be replaced by any bright spark.” This may be a sign of maturity or it might be depression. Now I see cloud stripes behind the tree line, gray blue upon pale white. 

Dawn comes regardless of how I feel, and I feel damn lonely. 


Eight ten.

This day is starting out better than the last few days. So far, so good. I solved Pastor’s Riddle of the Day. It was fairly easy because he’s repeating himself, or there’s a pattern to the sort of puzzles he puts out there. It’s foggy out but not awfully dense, yet still the atmosphere is pretty dark and gloomy. I think sometimes that something good has to happen sooner or later. It can’t all be darkness and despair. But it’s also up to me to stop the spiral to depression. Aesop is funny. Now, at the first sign of darkness outside, he goes down the hall on his own and jumps into bed, where he stays all night… I already miss the summertime. I don’t think I was prepared for autumn to come this year. Is it possible that nobody is really happy with life right now? If so then I don’t feel so alone in the world. “Seems I’m not alone in being alone / A hundred million castaways looking for a home.” I hear Roger my neighbor tapping away on something metal, keeping himself busy in his retirement. Where do we all belong? This is an even better riddle than the one I guessed an hour ago.


Ten o’clock.

We went to breakfast at Carl’s Jr. again, but my heart isn’t really into this morning. It is cloudy and very cool and my thoughts are trying to adapt to the change. As I write, the vacuum cleaner is very noisy and bothersome and I want this to be over with. The streets were moist when we drove on Armstrong Street to the east. Some people believe in paranormal phenomena but it’s hard for me to swallow, except for a few times when flukey events took place. It’s more of a feeling than an actual occurrence, in my opinion.

Five ten in the morning.

Finally I took down The Golden Bough and picked up where I left off many years ago. It’s the best written refutation of superstition available, with countless examples of primitive magic practices from around the world. So I read a little of the discussion of rainmaking by primitive societies. For me, The Golden Bough is like Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a product of Enlightenment thought, but it addresses mythology rather than history.

I hate limbo times like now. It’s pitch black outside and no one is awake except me— and it’ll be like this for another hour or more. In my journal I said that making friends is difficult in our age, perhaps any age. But friendship is something I value more than money and pragmatic things, while some people are the opposite. I had a girlfriend like that. We had a lot of fun, but we each looked for something different. Hopefully she got what her heart desired when we broke up. On my side, I’m still looking. 


Quarter of ten.

Aesop didn’t like his fish dog food today so I won’t buy it again.

There’s something missing from my life

It cuts me open like a knife

It makes me vulnerable, I had this disease

I shake like an incurable, God help me please

Whoa, there’s a hole in my life

Does anyone remember that song? The Police were so much fun. I’ve had dreams that I was jamming with Andy and Stewart. I used to have King Crimson dreams as well: strange dreams where they did a gig in a church or a shopping mall.

I just saw the shadow of a hummingbird on the wall opposite my seat in the living room. I turned to look and he was gone. I saw him again, but only his shade, gray on the white wall. I’d like to see the real thing and in color, but I can settle for this illusion like we all do. It’s after ten and the neighborhood is fully awake by now, though maybe not illuminated.

Go on toward the crimson shore

Beyond this life of metaphors

Where doors of understand’s house

Decorates he them with clove

Acorns smack the roof and patio cover in my backyard. It’s destined to be a lonely day for me but odds are I’ll survive it.