Pitch & Moment, Pot & Kettle


So much for drama. I had my very ordinary frozen dinner of lasagna with meat sauce a half hour ago, which came after a trip to market on Maxwell Road for the same old stuff. Nothing seems to be of great pitch and moment in my little life; it isn’t like the inflated rhetoric of a lot of writing. It is what it is and it doesn’t pretend to be more than this. Abstraction is extravagance, perhaps; the most you can expect is honesty from a person. I actually know people who can’t distinguish truth from their lies. When you lose firm ground, your mind flies away like the balloon escaped from the county fair.

Aesop is so tired and sore from being out in the backyard for two and a half hours that I doubt he can jump onto the bed tonight, so I think I’ll sleep on the couch for his benefit. He is overweight and doesn’t get enough exercise, therefore his tone and his stamina aren’t so good. He will also be 11 years old in September. However, his mental and emotional health are very good; the lights are all on and somebody’s home. Gloria made a remark to me about his weight today, and then she caught herself in a glass house trying to throw stones. The pot and the kettle are equally black; yet I know I ought to watch Aesop’s weight and take him for a walk every day. Whatever the case, there’s always room for improvement. And whatever I put into writing, a moral usually comes out of it. 


Suburbia; Rob Roy

Anyway, the sun shines without mercy, though at least the high will be just 79 degrees today. The light from the sun looks a florid orange and the greens are all lit up, while the azure sky is deep and fathomless but void. You look straight up at it and see a rich powder blue, and down below here, people chase about their business as obliviously as the forgetful sky above. It doesn’t look much like the natural world of a Wordsworth poem. As I neared my house coming back, I saw a large dark bird with enormous wingspan in the air behind Lenore’s house: like a hawk or buzzard if it wasn’t some waterfowl. I didn’t get a good look at it.
It’s as though the moral virtue of nature and people had vanished from both. It’s also like The Hollow Men of T.S. Eliot, I suppose. You don’t get the sense that God is in his heaven, all’s right with the world like in Robert Browning. Our world has gone quite prosaic— unless it’s only me with these observations. All I had to do was take a walk outside and mark my surroundings. But maybe it’s different living in suburbia, shuffling the streets and sidewalks…
A crazy thing just happened on my phone. An emergency alert came up saying look out for a car stolen from someplace in CT or something like that. It didn’t say if the people were armed or anything. It’s just another example of how ours is not a romantic age anymore. Instead it’s looney tunes, and perhaps the politics here form a big part of it.
But there’s not much we can do about it. People are selfish and corrupt; those with power want to keep it and all their money, and screw the people who have nothing.
I wonder if Rob Roy is a good book?
Rob from the rich and give to the poor.


Seven thirty.

I wish I had slept more last night, but it is what it is. Aesop gets breakfast at eight o clock. I walked to the store and saw everything as clearly as crystal. The layers of clouds in gray and blue were quite beautiful and inspiring. Inwardly I fight myself over the desire to drink beer, but luckily the wiser part of me always wins, as it’s a life and death matter. It isn’t even an issue of moral propriety. Life itself is much deeper than morality, let alone cheesy etiquette and politeness. It’s interesting to see this human struggle on the earth below, while the sky above the horizon is totally impassive and uncaring, like a blind cyclops weighing our fates and fortunes. Even this is too human a description…

Eight twenty five.

I’m feeling some pressure right now. My PCA is coming at ten and I’d rather have an easy day today. The sun peers through gray skies behind my head as if to symbolize social pressure, and yet I know the sun simply is. Often I hover between poetic and prosaic, or completely anti poetic. But floating and presiding over all is this equivocal haze of grayness.


Quarter after nine.

My journal writing is getting increasingly Jekyll and Hyde. I even said that eventual relapse to alcoholism may be inevitable. But I didn’t stop to think that maybe I’m doing the wrong things, and this produces bad fruits for my sobriety if not for a larger scope of events. It’s like the old saying, What goes around comes around. Self determination hinges on doing the right things.


Eight o’clock.

Aesop is barking for his breakfast. I just got back from the market with a few things. It was a little above freezing and cold. I saw a homeless man gathering empty bottles and cans for redemption at the same little store. He rode a bicycle, carrying four big black bags of containers. Why is it that every writing on my iPad turns into a moral teacher? It’s as though what Emerson said is true about all literature being moral. Now I sit on a couch still in my jacket, getting warm after my adventure. And speaking of moral, I should feed my dog and be his hero.

Got that done.

The cloudy winter sky stares down impassively on people as we pass each other on the streets, likewise indifferent to one another. We feed our pets but allow other people to starve, or at best scrounge for bottles to feed themselves. Instead of saying we, I ought to make it personal and say I. Because, it’s my guilty conscience prodding me, sitting comfortably at home while others have no home at all. Just the clothes on their backs, and a bicycle if they are lucky. I also wondered where he got his plastic bags if he didn’t buy them in a store. It’s too easy to dismiss the homeless by saying they only use their money to get drunk or high on drugs. More realistic to say, That could have been me.

Cruel and Kind

I finally put my letter in the mail at the post office this morning. Then Gloria and I had a breakfast at Carl’s Jr. She said, Thank you for being you. Out of curiosity I asked her where that came from. She said that her other client gave her a hard time over something trivial, a stream of verbal abuse for an hour. Gloria thinks she has control issues. I don’t know what to make of it but it’s silly. A lot of people can be quite illogical and unfair, without meaning to be. Elsewhere, Karen isn’t very nice to Kim either. For instance, when customers give Kim a tip sometimes, Karen demands that she hand it over to herself due to something Kim is doing wrong. Though I haven’t said anything, I don’t believe that’s fair at all. Karen’s kind of justice is like the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do
So she gave them some broth without any bread
And whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed

Now maybe I’m not being very fair, but it’s what I see. I imagine this kind of treatment happens in many places, but it’s such an obvious wrong, no matter how they try to justify it. Gloria is an 81 year old woman, so I take that into consideration and try to do what’s right. Kim has health issues, so Karen’s treatment of her is really very egregious, but there’s nothing I can do.

Gee, I wonder what loosened my gob today! I probably feel relieved to get my business done, thanks to Gloria for driving me there and back.


Midnight hour.

I don’t know how to feel toward my parents now. But I’m actually kind of glad they’re gone and I’m left by myself to figure out this life. I’ve known two types of people in my experience, if it’s fair to label them one or the other. One type is the esthetic and the other is ethical, particularly religious. But it’s hard to accept that the ideas of just two thinkers, Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky, should be so definitive. What if they had never written anything? Another question is, is it possible to be ethical without religion? I know nothing about John Dewey’s philosophy, so I can look into that. David Hume believed that people are moral due to feelings of sympathy for each other. He didn’t link this to metaphysics, as I recall. What he called sympathy is really closer to our empathy, where you imagine yourself in another person’s place. It’s also a little like the Golden Rule, or do unto others… Generally, I’m stuck on the problem of where morality comes from, which is a question of meta ethics. Should Christianity be the sole authority on right conduct, or are there many roads to the same goal? And, can you have morals without metaphysics? Maybe the Christian existentialists were wrong… Though the whole world feels like a Christendom, this may not be the truth anymore. It’s hard to be objective when I’m still a member of a Christian church. It’s difficult to see where we’re at and where we’re going.


Nine twenty.

Another day, another worry. I used to listen to music to soothe myself but now I don’t know what happened to that. It’s been forever since I heard piano music by Erik Satie, just to sit and listen by myself. Some of the best things in life are going by the wayside, though I don’t know who or what is responsible unless it’s only me. However, something good came my way at the store, kind of. She was tall and quite pretty, and I let her in ahead of me at checkout. I don’t see much of that anymore. These are such unromantic times when nobody gives a damn for what’s really important. We clutch our wallets and say it’s all about me; but you can’t marry your money and you can’t take it with you past the grave. I stopped with Karen at her salon: she’s fussing over a valuable ring she had modified by a jeweler’s but they ruined it. Now she’s seen her lawyer and is taking her case to the top of the management, demanding that they fix the ring properly. I think it’s a sign of what people care about these days. We cherish dead matter instead of live human beings, and it’s all for ourselves… For some reason I keep writing on morality, but I’ll just go with it. It’s a dirty job that somebody has to do, so why not me? 


Eight thirty in the morning.

Two intellectuals have said that literature is always moral; they were Ralph Waldo Emerson and D.H. Lawrence. I would extend this to any written description of human affairs, like a sketch or even a blog post, though we don’t usually consider them literature. Perhaps the definition of literature is any writing that expresses a moral of some kind… Aesop hears a dog barking far away and feels upset; but I tell him that he doesn’t even know what the other dog is barking at. The sympathy of the canine world is like human society. Roger’s garage door just opened with a squeal, so I know he’s starting a project for today. Last night I thought of how my life was before the Vraylar kicked in and also I had a year of therapy. I was abused by superstition from 12 Step programs and my own religious delusions. In April four years ago I finally did something big for myself with the help of my neighbor next door… Today I can say with conviction that schizophrenia and Christianity do not mix.

Wee hours.

It was eight o’clock at night when I made the late decision to swap bridges on my blue Fender bass. The idea was to go for a more natural sound from the instrument, less grungy than the zinc piece of hardware I’d been using. So, undaunted, I went ahead and did that, but I can’t test the tone through the amplifier until a decent hour of the day. In the meantime, the bass is settling overnight. After I got the strings back on it, I tuned it up and played it a few minutes. I discovered a new chord with harmonics that sounds like Rush in “One Little Victory.” Basically it’s a clash of major and minor thirds, for a sound like instability. I like it.

Morality Play

I’m not planning on going to church tomorrow, and we’ll just see what they say later. I hope no one calls me or drops by to give me a hard time. In Sartre’s ethics, I am free to make this choice but I’m responsible for the consequences because they follow from my action.

I’m okay with that.

I had a good time this morning when Gloria and I went to Bi Mart and I spent $28 on dog food, cleaning agents, and a rubber plunger 🪠 with wooden handle. This last was five dollars. And then later, at two thirty or so, I heard some bad news about Kim from the salon. Karen told me that Kim fell and hit her head, plus she had a cyst on her spinal cord and something else going on. Kim used to have neuropathy in her feet. She had fallen down four times in the past month. There was talk of giving her a walker, but if she needs it all the time, then she won’t be able to work. It was Kim who also had rotary cuff surgery a little ways back. It seems she’s had many health issues. She had the divorce with a jealous and stalking husband, and he had a lot of problems: bipolar, hearing impaired, and alcoholism.

The story of Karen’s salon is very Charles Dickens, very sad, with these characters who are underprivileged and disadvantaged. One of her past employees, Lisa, got herself out of that kind of situation. Now she has a job at a salon on Gateway Street. Her attitude is a bit different from the Dickens thing. She is proud and somewhat arrogant, and also she is quite beautiful personally. But morally, it makes you stop and scratch your head. Is it better to be a Dickens or a Darwin? Maybe the best solution is a medium between both attitudes. If I were a woman like Lisa, I wouldn’t want to work in Karen’s salon either.

From humility to hubris. It’s hard to know which way to turn, or when to use one or the other. Some people who fear God believe you should always be humble or else bad things will happen to you. On the other hand, a little pride can pull you out of the gutter.