“Flowerpot”

Wee hours.

Here I am being intimate with a device again, like feeding numbers to a machine, data entry for future retrieval. Interesting how synthetic it is, and is the human mind really like a computer or more organic and warmhearted than cold circuitry and binary code? We only socialize with machines for the convenience. With technology and a lot of alcohol, you can build yourself your own Xanadu paradise, an impossible dreamworld that never has to end as long as your body holds up. A comparison might be the Hoffmann tale of “The Golden Flowerpot,” just without the element of machinery. The young student has two lovers, one real and the other a complete fantasy. When he has to make a choice between them, he finally picks the fantasy girl and goes to dwell in Lotusland forever. But there’s something very dark about this story that may not be obvious at first. It’s like the perdition of his soul… Such is alcoholism. Sooner or later you have to reckon with reality and the community around you, however poor in spirit or intellect it may be. This is a sermon to myself more than to anyone else, but hopefully with a didactic message to take home.

The question of what is real shouldn’t be a perplex. And if you were the student in the Hoffmann tale, would you know what to do? 

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Forlorn and a Slip

2am.

Between seven and ten o’clock I slept, then got up when the sky had gone inky black with the nighttime. Sunday was a better day than Saturday, though it had its share of anxieties and worries; and maybe I magnify molehills into mountains, another irrational thing identified by a forgotten therapy. They used to tell me that it was okay to be imperfect; indeed, perfectionism would make you unhappy and depressed because no such thing as perfect exists. But as it happens, a useful tool, accurate and intelligent, got lost in the shuffle of human confusion if not intentionally crushed by the Church. Americans dislike a perspective of realism and reason, instead going with something fanciful and wild. I used to know a person who told me she was very ordinary, and her reality also was centered and avoided extremes to either side. She said her dad and her sister would often clash and have horrific fights. She learned from observation. I wonder why people today can’t find the gray area in the middle of the poles as we did ten years ago? The situation of the public grows more and more volatile and it’s a huge rack of confusion. If we could be guided by common sense; but no, we insist on the things we cannot see, chasing ghosts and phantoms and expecting Armageddon at any moment. The ones sitting down and shutting up nonetheless think what they think, and you hear it slip out in speech from time to time.

I’m just mulling over something my PCA said Saturday morning, an unfortunate remark that got my imagination spinning. I sometimes think we should call the whole thing off. Meanwhile, the church can keep blithering about demons and whatever medieval crap it can conceive. I long to turn back the calendar 10 or 12 years to a better, more rational time. And maybe it was all a dream in the end. And maybe I discovered a whole world in one person, the one who got away.

Sick of Junk Mail

10am.

It’s a cloudy morning, though not a solid sheet of overcast; you can make out individual clouds, gray and white. At 6:30 I hoofed it to the store; now it seems like forever ago. Just a typical trip, nothing exciting. Life generally feels dull, having lost its luster, and I see people chasing after the bucks every day, no one really happy or making an effort to give each other pleasure. The only exception is the little Ty stuffed animals you find in stores, which you give your friends or family to appreciate them. Otherwise the times are cold and joyless as everyone keeps to herself, closed and expressionless, exchanging only money and material things. It might be easier for a person who has a lot of money to thrive today, but the poverty of love affects everybody. No one really feels what community means nowadays. Again it’s not like the world of James Joyce. I suppose that I am just another statistic, a symptom of everything going on. If half of Americans don’t believe in God today, then I’m just one of them; a simple fact of sociology and demographics. But there’s something wrong with this point of view, as the poet W.H. Auden indicates in “The Unknown Citizen.” Every person is an individual with original feelings and thoughts, with a life to live, and one chance at fulfillment and passion. Deny a person that, and the soul of the world is shot to hell.

So far, I’m not having a good day…

“Long Train Runnin’”

4am.

Aesop my dog was having a sleepless night so finally I got up, as it was useless to try resting longer.

I had another thought when I was half awake. I said, All economic matters aside, what is the most beneficial thing that can be done for myself? I imagined my old psychiatrist scratching his head. It’s like saying, with The Doobies, “Without love, where would you be right now?”

I haven’t heard that song in ages yet I hear it plainly in my head. 

Neptune in Scorpio

Seven o’clock.

I saw the moon to the south this morning, surreal and imperial, like something in a painting. The sight of it gave me the thought that perhaps natural piety could save our political world. A friend once claimed that people now are less moral than nature, whatever he meant by that. Probably that we waste our resources and pollute our environment in ways that nature does not. In Shakespeare’s universe, nature and the human world were sympathetic to each other. What was going on here also went on in the cosmos… So I kept walking to the road around the bend with my mail in my shopping bag. “Do you see the same things every day?” I heard the opinion again that money makes the world go round. It seems to be the current modus operandi everywhere you look. How did money replace love in this scheme? “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Somehow we have to get back to the prelapsarian state of existence, unite ourselves with nature and listen for the harmony of the spheres.

Something in all of this reminds one of Woodstock…

Fission

Five thirty.

The light of day will come in 45 minutes. I need another Snapple tea for stimulation. I guess begin with how I feel: kind of lonely and blue. The other morning, I ran into my neighbors Colin and Willie with their dogs on the street; it might’ve been yesterday. I was coming back from the little market, a dog treat in each hand. Then I felt awkward because they were for my dog, and should Aesop share with Lolo and Rosie? I knew the neighborly thing to do, but curiously I kept the treats for Aesop and continued on home after a brief exchange of words. Now I wonder why I acted as I did. It wasn’t the Fred Rogers solution by any means, much less like James Joyce. Are people losing their sense of community and family in the world today? And what is the glue that should hold people together? Again I know the answer but I turn the other way. Social life nowadays is like the “Game of Chess” in T.S. Eliot’s Waste Land. People generally are polarized and pulling away from each other, but does this help anything? I ought to ponder this for a while.

What Drives the World?

Seven o’clock.

Maybe in a few hours I’ll go buy Aesop a treat, but otherwise I’m set for a while. I actually see sunlight from the east out of the window and some blue sky. A horoscope once told me, “Your fortunes may run very hot or very cold.” I’ve seen how my life path has been an economic roller coaster. “When the money’s gone and all your spending ends / (Friends) won’t be around anymore.” But strangely, I feel all right with that today because one good turn deserves another, giving the lie to the old song. Is the meaning of life no more significant than money? Even some of our spiritual places have grown pecuniary. We forget that love makes the world spin round… It seems inconceivable to let some people fall through the cracks and die of hunger. Something is seriously wrong with this scenario.

“Mother, should I trust the government?”

My brother once gave a panhandler’s dog a cheeseburger from McDonald’s but nothing to the man. Only a capitalist could be so perverse.

Healing

Forenoon.

The Lutheran gang was very nice to me this morning and really appreciated my help with setup for tomorrow’s pantry. I told Pastor that I’d try to make it for worship Sunday, and now I believe I actually will go. I heard that there’s some stupid stuff going on with the church; just petty squabbles and things that might be avoided if we could only get it together. I think I’ll do my best to help out, because this bunch is very special to me, however my logic rejects the details of scripture and so on. I do believe in justice and doing what’s right, for the good of everyone, though this sounds more like John Stuart Mill than a Christian church. Forgive me for saying so. Whatever happens, I want to do good things and see people smile.

If the Frog Had Wings

Quarter of seven.

I got up too early. I’m waiting for an email from my friend in Texas, but she has visitors and is probably busy with them right now… I was just thinking of how a lot of people invert human knowledge. They put ingenuity before the facts we actually know. For example, the Bible is a much older book than any garden variety biology textbook, so they give it more weight. It’s as if language were logically prior to the information from our senses and scientific method. The history of ideas is more important than the facts we take for granted. You can see this when you walk into a bookstore and browse the titles. One I remember was Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, I don’t know the author. Many Americans reject evolution even now, while in the UK it is accepted as fact everywhere, Catholic schools included.

Eight o’clock.

I’m having a low energy morning so far, though I made it to the store already. If I read some of Coleridge’s poetry, would his metaphysics convince me or would I see it as fluff?

I’d like to know what people are reading in other countries today. My own country has become very isolated, so we’re limited in what we think and do. I’ve begun to feel claustrophobic with the same old stagnant notions. I need a breath of fresh air from across the Atlantic, if anyone there takes us seriously. But maybe no one really thinks anything in the current state of affairs: the war of the Ukraine and Russia. Maybe I’m living in the past and eating my heart out…

If I fell in love with you

Would you promise to be true

And help me understand

Cos I’ve been in love before

And I found that love was more

Than just holding hands

Quarter after nine.

It’s such a long way from here and a long time from now. To the past or to the future makes no difference; the present moment sucks. But the world around me goes on and on as if nothing had ever happened. If I could stitch time between now and the last decade, then I’d call to her to cross the bridge to be with me, if she’d have somebody so poor and pitiful as myself, and so obtuse…

So wretched. 

Jarring

Quarter after nine.

It’s very cold out this morning, but the trip around the corner is short; maybe a quarter of a mile or less. I went outside without much self consciousness, sort of in a state of nature. I didn’t care what anyone thought of me. What happens on January 20? Seems like it should be something special for some reason. No doubt it’s someone’s birthday somewhere in the world… I felt rather happy when I got up, fed the dog, and walked to the market, but began to feel more serious when I sat down to think. In fact, nobody seems very happy with life right now, as if nothing was worth writing about or commenting on. It’s a situation like the ennui in Baudelaire. People just do their perfunctory work and don’t get excited for anything: there’s no romance in our experience; no passion and no love. In this sense, everybody is dead, and the anesthetic snow falls generally on the world. We seem to turn inward and ignore others, and pass up opportunities for good things to happen. All around me the world has gotten ugly with selfishness and apathy for anything other than making money to survive. Every individual is so isolated, looking at life with tunnel vision, blind to the potential for beauty and joy. It takes two people to turn it around before everyone is dancing in the streets. But first there must be music that everyone hears and agrees on. As it is, the tunes are all discrepant and jar with each other. The result is mayhem; and who said anything about beauty in the dissonance?