Hardball; Epitaph


As the church seems to cut me off, I feel more deserted and aimless; I don’t even have the church to beat up anymore: nothing to wrestle with to give my thoughts direction and purpose. Once I heard a political song on the radio years ago with the chorus, “Without this system, you guys would have nothing to bitch about.” Now it’s a point taken. The weather today is beautiful with irrepressible sunshine coloring things on the ground with orange juice. The high temperature should be 79 degrees. But I feel very alone in the world, and the perfect weather just rubs it in. It’s like being all dressed up and nowhere to go. “Waiting for someone to come / And turn your world around…” And Rush was probably right. But also there’s The Beatles: “Nowhere Man, don’t worry / Take your time, don’t hurry / Leave it all till somebody else lends you a hand.” I think I like the John Lennon version better.

I was considering reading Daisy Miller again, but it’ll likely turn into another unfinished project. Besides, I still have to read to the end of The Portrait of a Lady.

Karen is bringing me a whole rotisserie chicken from Costco this afternoon. So at least I know that somebody cares about me and won’t let me starve. At the same time, I feel kind of like a bum to take charity from my friends. And maybe I ought to try to support myself; see a specialist at the agency and hunt for a job. I remember how a local bookstore hired an older man when I used to frequent the place a long time ago. Again, there’s the difficulty of not having a car. I’d have to take the bus to work every day.

The cards seem stacked against me, but even so, you know that something has to give. In the meantime it’s a game of waiting and seeing. Does anyone still believe that the pen is mightier than the sword? Or I should say the dollar. And the game of cards has really become a game of hardball. Hardly anyone lives for love nowadays. People are still saying that money makes the world go around. I think this will be the inscription on our stone.

My mother taught me two main lessons. First, to be honest. The second, to despise money. Was this a disservice to me? But there it is and I can’t change it. I’m not sure I would if I could. 


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.

The Joneses

Six fifty five.

The day has the potential to bring something good. The moon still is in the heavens, low in the south, obscured by haze. I thought I saw my neighbor James drive past me in a new electric car, black with Kendall dealership plates. The cost of an electric car just boggles my mind when I can barely afford to eat. I’m not the only one. Can I turn my writing into something lucrative? Perhaps five cents a word? But this would cheapen the quality and ruin a beautiful thing. Like putting a dollar sign on every drop of blood in my body: every cell accounted for. “We matter more than pounds and pence / Your ‘economic theory’ makes no sense.”

Seven forty.

But I’m fortunate to have shelter and enough clothes to wear, and a small empire of books to read. I’m quite comfortable. I don’t need my own electric car for getting around. The postal and parcel services bring stuff to my door. How did the ending go to “The Shoemaker and the Elves”? I only remember that he was impossibly overtaxed with work and at night the elves came and finished his work for him. Where there’s endurance there’s a way.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz

My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends…


Quarter after eight.

The rainy days sort of run together into a watery blur. Every morning I see the same birds and hear the calls of the doves out back. I make the same pilgrimage to the market each day early and see the same clerks. By the way, today Lisa was very busy checking out customers in a line that kept growing, like a hydra sprouting new heads for every one it loses. She kicked on the afterburners and seemed tireless and mechanical, shopper after shopper. There was a kind of poetry to this industry, a music, though it consisted of rattles and clanks and the hiss of steam. I stood in line when I realized I’d forgotten to get cash from the ATM to pay Roger for those cable ties. So I ducked out and went to do that. Usually when I shop, I’m the last of a wave of people checking out, but today I was in the middle of a rush. Of course, it’s only a convenience store, not a Goliath food store like WinCo or Costco. But it’s a size that I can handle without agoraphobic panic. As for expense, I don’t have a car to maintain, so the math averages out to about the same… And then I take my stuff and simply walk home around the bend.

I can understand why Lisa fought with the shoplifter last week. Fifty bucks is fifty bucks.


Wee hours.

I was reading about the “hunger cliff” that millions of Americans like me experience now, since our Snap benefits were reduced. I feel like something somewhere is going to break. It seems as if things couldn’t be much worse than they are today. Not enough is being done for low income people and families: people with disabilities and seniors. Also, WordPress is changing as a platform, so that personal bloggers like myself hardly have a voice anymore, and maybe I ought to move to a different platform more suited to my needs. All of the fun is going right out of life the way things are. It’s all coming to a head like some looming catastrophe. And the worst part is that nobody seems to care. Can’t anybody do something to stop the world going wrong?

Intellectual Sun

Ten thirty at night.

If I knew the value of money like most people, then I’d probably be greedy for wealth and for power. My mother, however, taught me to curse what she called filthy lucre when I was growing up. She didn’t foresee the effects this would have on my future. Yet I think it turned out pretty good for me after all. In college, I found myself somehow herded into a small band of students who cared more about quality of experience than getting the grades and graduating as quickly as possible to start making money. Today, the issue of freedom still puzzles me. Is freedom the power of laissez faire capitalism, or instead is it having the free time to use your brain as you like, and appreciate the beauty and grace of the life of the mind; in other words, intellectual beauty? And there are plenty of people who resent intellectualism, including my family besides my late mother. It’s an absurd way to feel about it; you either value money or you value something better that money can’t buy. We delude ourselves to think that an education is exclusive and denied to us by whatever forces we can imagine. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, or else there was never a Ray Bradbury or a Bernard Shaw.

The life of the mind finds a way, like a flower towards the sun.

Mona Se Queda


Why has the world gone greedy and materialistic? Everyone monetizes their blog, and also the people in my church measure success in $$. It’s everywhere, as if it were the right thing to do. But I find it dehumanizing and quite ugly, not to mention shallow. It’s turning into a contest to see who will be the richest, but not in knowledge and wisdom and the things that are worth living for. It comes down to whether you can equate money with happiness. In my opinion, people are creating a hell on earth by making an economic issue of everything. Only after every natural resource is gone will human beings realize that they can’t eat money. Will they ever understand that money is a fiction, an artificial construct made up by our imaginations?

Even though the monkey wears silk, he’s still a monkey.

The Brothers Grimm describe a peasant celebration on the rare occasion when a rich man was admitted to heaven.

The way of the world is overrated, yet there’s not much I can do to fix it. So I’ll just keep making these posts till the cows come home; that, or until the world comes to an end. 


Eleven o’clock.

It’s another strange kind of day to me, and I didn’t sleep well during the night because of my financial worries. I just hang on and hope that things get better around the world.

And the strong seem to get more

While the weak ones fade

Empty pockets don’t ever make the grade

Mama may have

And Papa may have

God bless the child that’s got his own

That’s got his own

Monologue with a Cherry Coke

One thirty.

Overnight it snowed mixed with rain but it never froze, so the road conditions were fairly good. Gloria called and canceled work for today for other reasons. I just spent the last half hour going to the little market a second time, where I purchased a cherry Coke and beef jerky for my dog. Earlier, I’d been thinking about all the dead people in my library, and from there, the rockstars who are dead or dying, and I got a feeling of futility about everything, so I took a nap to shake it off. Also I’ve seen the same old politics passing back and forth ever since I started paying attention to our leaders and their effects on everyday life. The redundancy is very tiresome after many years of being a citizen, yet I’d hate to see a major revolution, something to embarrass us on the world stage. I don’t know that much about politics or history. I did badly in history courses because I didn’t understand economics, and I know that it plays a big part. I can make general statements to doomsday but they don’t matter a straw. Drink my Coke and shut up, I guess. I’m along for the ride.

What would happen if we made college tuition free for everyone who wants to go?

What if we abolished every type of firearms, even for the police?

And we socialized medicine and took care of everybody as equals?

“Hippo Stomp”

Eight fifty.

I evaded getting rained on with good timing. I wanted to buy Gloria a Snapple for her break this morning and a jerky snack for Aesop. Otherwise I might’ve blown it off and stayed home where it’s dry and warm. Just now it’s raining in full force. I feel pretty good at this moment. A garbage truck for a service not mine just rode by. Whimsically, the sun comes out while the east is charcoal. It will doubtless rain soon again… I saw nothing unusual on my trip to the store; just a guy doing some work around Randy’s old car lot. I wondered if he was the mechanic whose business was supposed to start up by now. I also wonder how he’s going to transform a wrecked old shack into a thriving garage for auto repair. It takes money and work to realize dreams. And it takes the cooperation of other people who believe in you. But first you need belief in yourself, or no one else will believe either.

If you should go astray

And say I lost my way

Nobody will know you

But if you don’t believe you can

And still say, Hear my plan

Somebody will follow just because it’s free