Right Foot In

Quarter after eleven.

I just had a lunch of cottage cheese. Feeling kind of low right now. My sleep was troubled last night, so I got up before five o’clock and pottered the time away, waiting for daylight to come. In a moral and emotional way too, I’m waiting for a sign glowing in the dark to show the path forward with my life. I feel very tired. All these conflicting perspectives give me a headache. The music I hear inwardly is “Gypsy” from Fleetwood Mac, very long ago… It’s as though I could flip a coin and let that be my direction. Or consult the hexagrams of the I Ching. Go to an astrologer to cast my horoscope. Have my palm read. I never tried tarot before. Nor singing down the moon. Take the midnight train going anywhere. Roll the bones. Everything would stand an equal chance of being right on. I could be putty in the hands of the four winds… until the hurly burly is done.

Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish

How many pieces do you wish?

One, two, three, four,

And you are not it.


Garlic and Crosses

Quarter of five.

At last I figured out what was bugging me yesterday, and this morning I took action to fix the problem. I unfollowed the blogger whose writing was upsetting me. No more need be said about that.

Eight twenty five.

A big gust of wind blew over my recycle bin less than an hour ago. This morning is cloudy and gray. I doubt that I’ll get to the store before Gloria arrives at ten o clock. I don’t feel like hurrying anywhere, and it’s comfortable here at home. Sometimes I think it’s okay to just let big dreams remain dreams, particularly the more unlikely they are. It’s even harder to actualize dreams when you’re dealing with other people’s wills. My family said that my mother was crazy for her idealism regarding rock music. Maybe I should take a day to remember her and see what I have lost since her death. One thing is sure: I’ve been through the mill ever since she died, almost as if I’d done something wrong. Is it the sins of the fathers and mothers coming to roost on my head? And sometimes it seems reasonable to drink my life away.

Vampires can only harm you if you invite them in. So don’t invite them.


Seven thirty five.

The sun through the window is right in my face, a strident blast of golden star-shine. It was very cold for my travel to the store; I finally got wise and wore a pair of gloves against the 20 degree snap. At least it was dry and not slippery. My business at the market was routine except for the Snapple for Gloria, since she is coming this morning. My mind has been all over the map lately, quite scattered and perhaps incoherent, but hopefully it’ll coalesce into something like organic sense and system. Then again, usually life itself resists organization. But my dog definitely knows it’s breakfast time when eight o’clock comes around. He has a sense of structure probably better than mine, which keeps us both on track. Funny but I used to operate like a clock at work, a total creature of habit and ritual. How quickly a routine becomes a treadmill that can destroy you.

Quarter after eight.

I have no idea what the day might bring me today. It’s kind of an exciting prospect. The sun meanwhile is indomitable and cheering to see. Sometimes I think I have total recall of the events of my life: blessing or curse? And every new day is different from the last one. Sometimes it seems like anything can happen, like some quark of the constellations, or a scene from a Thomas Hardy novel. A real artist of fate is at work in our daily lives, and we’d be none the wiser to it. To us spontaneous, to the gods it’s a fait accompli… Outside, the sparrows make jerky movements like little automatons wound up at the beginning of time. All this time, an old tune like a circus ditty plays crazily in my head. But for this, the design would be perfect.

“God doesn’t make junk.” A sign on the wall of Harmony House long ago. My mood suddenly swings down as I pity myself a little. The sun and the birds are indifferent, even the mourning dove that coos for no one in particular.

If Magic Worked

Quarter after ten.

Ugh. I just got off the phone with my sister. She loves to talk family stuff but it leaves me cold. Why is family never there when you need it? My identity doesn’t depend on my family… The rain started again an hour ago. Aesop wasn’t happy that I used the phone. Neither was I. The broken harmonium ought to stay that way and I’ll go on my own path. Ancestry sucks. My other relatives hated my mother but I didn’t. It’s all a royal mess but I won’t budge on the subject of my mother. Again it sounds like Roger Zelazny’s Amber chronicles, in which none of the brothers and sisters trusts each other and they plot against each other with a view to ruling Amber themselves. It’s a fantasy series, but this detail about family is realistic. The thought of it takes me back to my high school sophomore year, long ago. The year I became an insomniac and when I caught mono during a trip to California. Now the rainy weather drags on for another long day. My neighbor’s yard service is making noise next door to me. If I had a magic wand, or a genie in a lamp to grant me a wish: if magic worked— I don’t even know what I’d ask for. Just to feel better for a day. Just for mercy. 

Having a Look-around

One ten PM.

I feel tired but also at peace for the moment. It’s funny how a good thing here or there can make your day. It’s very quiet in my house and outside there’s a little wind in the maple which happens to be turning gold. I saw it through the music room window as I was making noise on my jazz bass. Green and gold against the grays of the sky create a splendid scene while the oak tree goes to rusty burgundy. I don’t care if it rains now, though it makes the mornings lethargic and sluggish combined with the dark background. Halloween must be a week from today but I never hand out candy, especially now with my dog so aggressive. I may have a little remorse for my church absences but I really prefer going to the agency, where I can be more natural just hanging out. I believe tomorrow will be fun, and I get to make a little trip outside my usual stomping grounds. And more and more of the music I heard last week floats back to my mind at unexpected times, but beautifully. 


Nine fifty.

My morning started off lousy, but I managed to motivate myself to go to the store and when I ran into Melissa, my whole day got turned around. I decided I would go to DDA group tomorrow afternoon, so I set up my rides there and back. The weather today is so dark and dreary that it’s hard to get anything done. It rained overnight and will probably rain again at eleven. I wonder if the French verbs for raining and crying are related to each other: pleuvoir and pleurer, respectively. This would make sense from a human point of view, and autumn can be a sad time of the year, though beautiful in its own way.

Last night I thought maybe being honest is foolish; but I think I heard that somewhere; something my brother said about “advantage” and cutting out the Boy Scout stuff. Some people are honest on principle or by upbringing. When honesty is rewarded, the behavior gets reinforced and repeated. Other people have the opposite experience with telling the truth. It’s always a double bind: screwed if you do or don’t. Cordelia told the truth to King Lear and was martyred for it. The cosmos was in an uproar for the tragedy. Events had gone terribly wrong. Is there still a doubt that the truth is a good thing? My brother’s birthday is about ten days away. Seventy big ones. 


Nine ten.

I got off to a late start today, but so did Gloria, and she’s coming to work at ten. It rained here overnight after a long wait. Colin told me it might thunder and lightning for the football game this afternoon: the Ducks and the Bruins play in Eugene. I have music in my head by Steve Khan, very pretty jazz fusion, like they don’t make anymore. We have all this technology for creating wonderful things but the inspiration isn’t there. We serve the machines rather than the reverse. I read the devotions email from Pastor a while ago and got the sense that he feels isolated with his beliefs on God and religion. Everything is kind of falling apart like the moral paralysis in Joyce’s Dubliners. Maybe it will thunder down on the Duck game today as a sign from the gods that we have alienated ourselves from nature, strayed too far away from the heart of things. We have also subordinated ourselves to a big machine that neither thinks nor feels in anything like human fashion. The thought of the gods recalls Shinto kami and the worship of nature, a thing we don’t understand anymore with our focus on cell phones and devices. I feel bad for Pastor, alone with his Christian God in a time that has forgotten what’s important. And the Steve Khan goes on playing… 

With a Coke. To Joni Mitchell and My Brother

Four thirty.

Clouds have rolled in and they’re saying light rain in ten minutes; but they never really know what’ll happen. My head is playing Joni Mitchell’s “Otis and Marlena,” a little ballad I heard again last night, succeeded by a long percussion jam and “Dreamland.” The music is sad for me because it evokes memories of my brother and the trips we took to the coast in the middle of the Bush era. I also think of how complex my mind has become after so much indoctrination: like a baptized Lutheran ought to feel, I guess. My body and my mind truly feel separate from each other as with the Cartesian scheme, or as if my mind had a pre established bucket for receiving the doctrines I did. I’m not the same person I was two decades ago, though I feel a tugging sensation from hearing the Joni Mitchell once again, like undertow, something treacherous and potentially lethal; and I feel that I’m back on the beach with my brother years in the past.

I wonder if it rained yet; I heard nothing like raindrops on the house and the sky doesn’t look like a cloudburst. The colors are wrong for a rainfall just now. But I’m wishing hard for the rain to come as soon as it can while I’ve got “Paprika Plains” running in my head. Music does odd things to me, as if the spirit of Dionysus dwelt in the sound of the notes and chords, the overall atmosphere.

I doubt that it has rained outside, but something has happened within me at this writing. Take it, learn from it, and move on to the next thing. 

Over the Coals

Eleven o’clock.

C— is coming to pick me up at noon, so then we’ll go to Black Rock to have our appointment. It isn’t much fun growing older; I notice how my body is changing with age and I want to turn the hourglass over to start another lifetime. I remember a song called “Visine.” It talks about “the torture of growing old / You must stand there / You must agree…” You just have to accept aging and eventual death, however you deal with it: with belief in heaven or whatever helps. I was playing my new bass when I realized I had rubbed a silly blister on my left thumb. I can’t get away with the things I used to… The air is incredibly smoky today from regional wildfires, yet despite this, C— still plans on our rendezvous. I’m a little nervous but I’m trying mind over matter and the rational side of psychology. This is more black and white than the full color of emotional thinking; rather flat or two dimensional, but it helps me control the tendency to panic and paranoia. It’s very good for people with severe mental illness or simple anxiety or depression. Imagination can be my worst foe sometimes. It makes a catastrophe out of something small, fanning the flames to a conflagration… Most people swear by emotional therapies. However, fighting imagination with more imagination is illogical and infeasible in my case. How does a belief in “karma” help someone with paranoid delusions, for instance. It only makes them worse…

Quarter after one.

My appointment is done. I didn’t enjoy it very much; I felt I was in the hot seat, under scrutiny or inquisition, a severe test: almost as if I’d done something wrong. So, maybe I had good reason to dread this meeting. Or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood today. But it’s over with now, while the air outside gets still smokier and less breathable, and my thumb smarts for lack of a bandaid. 

Elegy of Autumn

Sometimes it seems that life is cheap, or maybe people don’t want to talk about it. It’s said that some people with my illness don’t live to be 60 years old. In some degree it is in my hands, though ultimately it’s in the lap of the gods. (Now I’ve got that song in my head.) All you can really know are the changes, yet there’s so much we want to repeat out of a desire for comfort. People crave permanence, and that’s why the invention of heaven was successful. We dread the loss of what we love. Life is one of the things people love. Beyond life you simply don’t know.

I just read a cool story by Hoffmann that involved things like the alter ego and losing your shadow or reflection to the devil. The introduction to the book is informative and very well done and goes into the doppelgänger idea somewhat. It’s one of those wonderful Dover editions I love so much… I’ve been sleeping poorly for a long time. I’ve noticed a change in my breathing when I try to sleep at night. Maybe it’s the Vraylar; and overall I feel kind of like a resuscitated corpse: death warmed over. A man whose soul is stolen, left to wander the underworld in quest of it. Kiss innocence goodbye.

Or perhaps it was just a bad day for me. There’s always tomorrow and the difference of a day.

We can forget the past, but the past doesn’t forget us.