“Necessary Angel”

Nine twenty.

Today is partly cloudy and cold. The street cleaner truck just drove by my window and Aesop barked. I fed him at eight thirty and went around the corner past the salon to the market like I do every morning. Again I bumped into Lisa on her way to work. And I saw that Karen was busy with a senior client at her salon; most of her customers are senior citizens, however that came to be. Four years ago I used to visit Darlene there on Fridays every week, up till the time she passed away in 2020. Things change, and though the changes are gradual, they can seem quite drastic in a matter of years. One issue on my mind right now is the role imagination plays in human life, and what weight we should give it. There must be a happy medium between skepticism and blind faith, or between sobriety and madness. When I read David Hume’s wholesale dismissal of imagination, I come away thinking of how William Blake reacted to his assertions. It doesn’t help to know that Blake was probably a person with schizophrenia. Wallace Stevens wrote about how imagination is the necessary angel, so I should go read that and determine why he believed so. But I don’t think that imagination ought to overstep its own turf. When it does, you have a case of psychosis. To what extent do people want to live in a dream? I wouldn’t be comfortable that way at all. But some people don’t know the difference between fact and fantasy, and it’s rather sad to see it. 



Quarter after ten.

Gloria is in the backyard using the broom on the patio. The sky is white with high clouds and it’s supposed to get quite warm today. It’s funny how I can get overwhelmed by religious ideas, trying to get to the bottom of things like freedom, etc etc. Why don’t I just let them go? Even if I solve the riddle, life will go on just as before. If I believe in freedom, then it needn’t be a complicated thing mixed up with god and the devil and all that nonsense. I ought to relax and allow life to happen as it will. Give my mind a holiday. Make some music on my bass guitar and forget philosophy and theology. For that very purpose I will avoid church after this. Boring, long winded sermons— when the truth is more like the red wheelbarrow and white chickens in the old poem. The rest is confusion caused by human minds. We tend to make things complex and difficult for ourselves for the sake of law and order, but the order itself becomes disorderly. So I imagine a palm tree at the end of the mind, like the Wallace Stevens poem, with the bird of paradise in its fronds. Everything else is unnecessary, at least for today. 

Mad Hatter Saturday

Eight o’clock.

I feel a little sad so far this morning, I’m not sure why. I was lightheaded walking to the store a bit ago in the rain, maybe worried about having Gloria over. Also, my dog is getting older and shows less vitality as time goes by. We only age towards the future and not the past. And yet some things can rejuvenate and restore us. I thought of the poetry of Wallace Stevens yesterday; I like his “Study of Two Pears” very much. His concept of nature is totally different from that of someone like Shakespeare three centuries before him. For Stevens, religion is just another man made thing while reality is very broad and round rather than flat. And for Shakespeare, the Word of God was logically prior to the natural world…

Gloria will be here at nine o’clock. Soon I have to put the dog in the room down the hallway. I’m feeling under the weather but I hope to pull through.

Noon hour. The best part of Gloria’s visit was our trip to Bi Mart and St Vinnie’s on Division Avenue. Especially I thought it was great to see Sherri, Kirsten, and Ann at the first place. Sherri was laid off when the pharmacy closed in November, but obviously got rehired on the floor as a cashier… Gloria said she would like my help with her computer when we can set it up at my house, so of course I’ll do what I’m able to do. I let her borrow a book and gave her two movies on dvd; also some old blue jeans for making patchwork quilts. The book was Josh Halliwick’s Madness, a self published account of a person’s battle with schizophrenia. Gloria said she’d love to read it because she really liked A Beautiful Mind, the mostly true story of John Nash, winner of a Nobel Prize for his economic theory and a person living with schizophrenia… As sometimes happens in March, it just hailed this afternoon. And now I owe Aesop his crunch bar snack for being good while we were working today.

Industrial Beauty

Nine ten.

The rain still continues. I just got the trash out in time for pickup and now I have to go to the store. Taking a breather first. I texted Rebecca about resuming the process of hiring a PCA… The magnolia has at least three new blooms: beautiful white flowers.

Ten o’clock. Now the rain has slackened and everything is very quiet. I’ve been to the store and seen Michelle. She was busy making bags of ice and didn’t know I was waiting alone at the counter until I grabbed her attention. Michelle doesn’t like making ice. Probably no one else does either… It occurs to me to think about beauty, or rather the absence of it from my life recently. Yesterday, I suppose you could say the band created some beauty, and this had a healing effect on me. Yet it wasn’t the same beauty as opening a book of poetry by Wallace Stevens. Our band has a rather rough industrial edge. I don’t know what I contribute to the overall sound, but it seems to blend in okay and keep time rolling along. After all, we play rock and roll, not so much the refinement of jazz fusion…

Eleven o’clock. Before long I’ll hear the noise of garbage trucks barreling up and down my street. Sure enough, here comes the first one. If it’s true that a mythology reflects its region, then is it right to say that a soundtrack does the same? Then we might call our band the Maxwell Road Prophets. The intelligence of our soil… while the trucks boom and clank throughout the neighborhood collecting trash.