Polemic: Invisible


On second thought, the gold of pure philosophy doesn’t put food on the table.

Two hours ago I could barely hobble to the store around the block, having lost a night’s sleep. When I got there, Lisa asked me if I was getting enough to eat, and I replied that I had plenty of food at home. She pursued that a lot of others were having a rough time since their Snap benefits were reduced, and some women would get pregnant just for the hike in food stamps or whatever welfare they received. She said it was ridiculous, but I don’t know if she meant to blame the mothers or rather the situation of the government. I know which party I would condemn, and it’s not the women on welfare. Again I see that I am not alone in abject poverty, yet the ridiculous thing is I have an education, but because of the stigma of my illness, and because I am honest about it, I’m totally screwed. What’s the difference between the dungeon for schizophrenics and the chains of poverty and prejudice?

Either way, we’re locked up and forced to be invisible 🫥 to the public. It’s completely fucked.


The Real World

Ten twenty five PM.

Over thirty years ago, the name of Henry James was huge at the UO English Department; but when I ask around now, hardly anyone has read his work. Last year I began rereading his Portrait of a Lady and got bogged down because I knew that no one else had any enthusiasm for James. If I could, I’d return to school in a time machine like a shot and take the class on James with Professor Hines. At least then I’d have other people around me to discuss it with; whereas in reality I feel transplanted like some anachronism of a better, more civilized time. I was never meant for living in the real world, nor was the real world meant for a person like me. I am an outcast from El Dorado, the Gilded: perhaps Arcadia, where the Golden Age lingered on and never went out of style.

Or maybe school was intellectual Toys R Us: but is the transition to the real world growing up or growing narrow and rigid and poor in imagination? Like the child who is silenced from asking questions by a parent who’s lost all curiosity. Yet in a place dark and forgotten, the same questions are on everyone’s lips. 


It’s another day peppered with stress and some anxiety since I talked with Polly this morning. The conversation went okay but I’m glad it’s done for the week. Feeling tense, I finally picked up my Jazz Bass and banged on that for maybe 90 minutes. It sounded pretty good to me and it was a good release for a while. It felt good. Meanwhile, Aesop is mad at me because I lectured him about his behavior when I’m on the phone, and he’ll hold a grudge probably until late tonight or even tomorrow sometime. If I say, Oh well, it’s an expression a lot of us resonate with nowadays. Because, so much of life is out of our hands and beyond our power. The balance between the people and the government keeps sliding more toward the latter and everyone is a peon, pawn, and a pauper. I really used to believe in the power of words, but today, those with money rather brutally prove a different reality. And the ones without money do everything they can to make money. No one cares about being a good person. They don’t even care about feeling happy. And maybe power and money don’t promote happiness anyway, so what’s the point? I operate from the assumption that happiness is the highest good, along with freedom. I think people ought to make time to humanize themselves.
A cute song on an album by Stewart Copeland has it like this.
…I could not refuse, you gave me money
But now you eat your money and be fool
Anyway, today I go back to liberte…
The songwriter was a Congolese guy, I think, who collaborated with Copeland, and the latter played most of the instruments. But I’d have to research it to be sure.

Fishbowl Living

Ten twenty five.

I guess I’m very tired. I don’t have enough friends who are like me. Superstition always gets my goat. Should I join them or try to beat them?

Or simply tolerate and agree to disagree…

I’m watching as Gloria vacuums the carpet in front of me. A gray day, plain and dull.

Life could be a lot worse.


A ray of sun pierces through. The dishwasher goes on in rinse cycle. And somehow my life doesn’t feel like it’s mine. It’s an old Queen song: God knows I want to break free. Fate would be fine if it went the direction I wanted it to go. And then I start to wonder how many years I have left, and what was my goal anyway. I suppose I’ll know when it happens to me.

Do you ever feel like you’re in the fishbowl? All eyes on you and no place to hide.

I think a lot of us understand this condition.


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.

Can’t Buy an Alibi

Quarter after nine.

I feel kind of lightheaded and dizzy, and I’ve got aches mostly in my legs. I feel like I could opt out of reality, take a holiday from the world indefinitely. With more practical ability I would pick a natural spot and build myself a log cabin, or one made of rock like the one Jung built by the shore of Bollingen Lake. I sometimes think my brother’s naturalism is right. He had one foot in and one foot out of civilization. I miss the trips we took to the Coast, where we talked and drank beer and ate like kings… Why did I get up at six this morning? I might be thankful that I got up at all… A few times lately I thought of the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop. I could go into it in greater depth for fun. A good activity for a rainy day. I see sunshine and black skies at the same time. My PCA is due to arrive any second now. Real life is no place for wimps.

Seven thirty.

Now it’s Sunday and I don’t plan on going to church. But, during the night I had some superstitious thoughts about why my finances are so precarious. If I gave money to the church, would I be compensated by a Supreme Being? It seems pretty unlikely to me since waking up a little more, in both the short and long term. It’s easy to get hopelessly confused by religion and politics, trying to mix and match what goes with what. I want to be done with all of it.

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. 

Hellenism Now


Monday afternoon I passed my neighbor C— on the street as he was walking his dog L—. He told me he needed a nap and hurried to get rid of me. But later I thought maybe he doesn’t like me very much over something political. I’ve heard him say he’s a flat earther and a cheese mooner, so then I made a connection with election deniers and the thing with fake news and the kinds of fraud that Trump keeps putting out there. C— has more in common with my other neighbor across the street than with me. Meanwhile, it rang a bell for me when I read an essay by Montaigne inspired by Pyrrhonian scepticism, and in turn I was led to a few books of Sextus Empiricus, the Hellenistic philosopher. I wonder why Hellenism has been so influential with us the past five years, especially stoicism and now scepticism. At some point we must’ve gone through an epicurean phase as well. Is it just a coincidence, or is someone actually reading this stuff and pushing it through the tubes?

A Flowerpot

Quarter of nine.

The fog started out high but now has descended to earth, with a peculiar yellow taint, rather hideous. Nobody was outdoors when I trudged to market this morning and business was slow due to the holiday; I was the only customer there. I noted how slow the daylight was coming. Everything just feels foreign or alien to me, even nature, the skyline of winter trees. The wind has decayed to dead stillness. No rain currently. You can hear freight cars clashing together a few miles away. It’s a struggle to make small talk with the neighbors across the street; we look at each other in long awkward silences— then she says something about the weather… One of Karen’s hanging flowerpots had fallen face down on the pavement, I saw as I passed the salon homeward bound. I gazed at it stupidly, unsure what to do with it. So I just left it there. She’ll find it Tuesday morning when she opens shop. Strange to think that we could be having a heaven on earth right now. The garbage truck comes in the yellow mist like a bizarre dinosaur. Such a long way to go…


Nine thirty at night.

This afternoon I read more poems by Whitman. It strikes me that his style is like a naturalist writing free verse: a lot of sex and biology in his stuff, like a forerunner to Freud. Whitman isn’t constrained by a Christian conscience, or rather it is religion that he reacts against, driving him to posit his own personal bible, Leaves of Grass. In a way, he’s made himself an institution or a religion all his own… When I was 23 years old I first read part of the same book, and it influenced me to study biology and Indian religions at school, though I was oblivious to the fact. There’s a great deal of Hinduism in Whitman, as also in Emerson. From the start of my education to the end, my focus totally shifted from West to East. I’m not sure why this happened but it wasn’t bad. One can say that Jung’s ideas were rather Eastern and mystical. This shift for me was like a break for liberty, a desperate flight for freedom before the inevitable crash to the real world. I’ve heard the opinion that some people don’t want to grow up and be responsible. These are the ones we call the mentally ill; but there is method in madness, a kind of prophecy in the problem. We are ourselves the symptoms of a society gone too far towards the quantitative and economic. How nice if we could regress and tell each other stories to the rhythm of the night! My kingdom for one sweet dream, sleeping like a princess…