The Ballerina with Strong Black Coffee

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“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“There is no point treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, ‘There now, hang on, you’ll get over it.’ Sadness is more or less like a head cold- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.”  ~ Barbara Kingsolver

“What if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.” ~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Silly me. Been up an hour and just now put some coffee on to brew. First time through I forgot to put ground coffee and a filter in there. Now the machine sounds like a tiny Saturn 5 taking off. Houston, we have lift off. I hope the coffee works. Let’s pour a cup and see.


I made it a little strong, but I like it that way. My ex-wife, back in ’76, turned me on to strong, quality dark roast coffee made with a Melita filter. I’ve got a little 5-cup Mr. Coffee clone, and the wife is long gone. Last time I saw her was 25 years ago, and that was a shock, as I hadn’t seen her for years, and I did not know she was back in town. I was kneeling down, looking at the bottom shelf of new arrivals, in the Islamorada Library. Suddenly I felt the my hackles rise, and my ears tried to twitch around to catch the sound. A strong presence was entering the library, just behind my back, so I instinctually turn to look. She laughed out loud, while I just kinda stared momentarily. Yeh, she got the last laugh. There was sufficient evidence of unfaithfulness, back then. I can feel the deep sadness right now, right here in front of the desk. She was a good one. Just kinda messed up. I’m sure I was too. Messed up, that is. I s’pose the comment de rigueur would be that we all are messed up in some way. Yeh, right, whatever. I reckon I purely disagree with that assessment. Too aphoristic for my tastes. But back to the coffee. It was the buzz. When I first met her she was only a few years beyond a past life as a San Francisco speed freak hippie; a displaced ballerina, askew with the world. Yeh, yeh, yeh – “Tiny Dancer” and all that stuff. I would have like to see her dance, perform, whatever. She had danced for the ballet company in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is about 70 miles south of where I sit right here, right now. Yeh, I woulda liked to have seen her dance. Lithe one that she was. When I look back now I see that Rita was the one, among all of those few women, who gave me the most, and allowed me to reciprocate in kind. In kindness. But that was two decades later. Turned out that Rita was into speed as well. She liked to inject cocaine. Paid for by turning tricks. Behind my back, of course. The whole thing came to a finale when the agent from HHS knocked on my door, and we then sat out on the patio and talked about the plight. See, Rita had taken up with some sketchy twisty folks, and maybe I should oughtta get tested for HIV. The agent drew blood, right there on the patio, under the blistering August sub-tropical sun, in front of God and everybody. I never saw her again. I hope she didn’t go back to jail. Hmmmm, that scene on the patio with the government agent feels surreal, to this very day. He took my blood. Two weeks later I got the all’s clear from HHS. No HIV. No more Rita. Bueno bye.


Wow. I think I got carried away there. There’s been a woman on my mind lately. Someone here and now, whom I encounter only occasionally, randomly. The feelings I feel stirring toward this woman are mysterious and timeless – that is to say that I haven’t the foggiest what is going on, and I ain’t gonna no way, no how try to figure it out. That’s probably why Rita and Shannon came to mind. I don’t mind either one of them visiting me in memory. But now, going forward. I’m going out to watch the sunrise for a spell.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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Equanimity and Memory Foam

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West Rim Trail, along the Rio Grande Gorge

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” ~ Carl Jung

“only someone who is ready for everything, who doesn’t exclude any experience, even the most incomprehensible, will live the relationship with another person as something alive and will himself sound the depths of his own being.” ~ Rainer Marie Rilke

“And now you are and I am and we’re a mystery which will never happen again.” ~ E. E. Cummings

Listen, one can only take so much. Case in point, I made it through the first seven minutes of a 42 minute interview, by Chris Cuomo, on CNN. Cue the creepy organ music played by Keith Emerson on a full Cathedral Organ. The interview was with Rudy Giuliani. Friggin guy drives me crazy. He is so fluent with bullshit that he barely has time to stutter. Let that sink in. You’ll thank me later. Yeh, one of the benefits of having a 24″ monitor is that in HD/full screen you can see their eyes. Dude you can’t put makeup on the eyes, k? I kept noticing that Chris’ eye were bright, engaged, exploring. Rudy’s eyes were as dull as memory foam. I just love that image. If the eyes are the window to the soul, then Rudy, like his boss, has no glass in the window; he has memory foam. The dude can’t see out. Neither can the president, but his eyes do not look foamy. He has the eyes of a German Shepard who’s been fed audio of Ayn Rand, 24/7, for three days. Ayn Rand and P. T. Barnum. Poor doggie. Anyway, I’m gonna step out on the deck for a few minutes. The slivered New Moon in Taurus has dropped below the range of my sight, but she left behind her magic.



Coffee is going down pretty good this morning, although the flavor is distorted by the sour taste in my mouth. The caffeine is running into a lot of resistance, however. I managed to catch a nap, both of the past two days. It’s introvert stuff. Body and soul, I’m scorched and chaffed from being out in a high-speed world, much too often. I get lectures from the cat when my energy goes all askew from exposure to the world at large. She’s been pretty yakky the past two days. That says it all. But she has also been sleeping curled at the crown of my head, no doubt to guard me from that bruja that sometimes witches me at night. We are working on it, the cat and I. She prefers equanimity in me. Mine is simply to comply.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Mouth Noises From the Soul

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“What an utter disgrace it would be to find something truly magic and spend any time at all pretending and trying to convince yourself it is all just an unbelievably orchestrated and beautifully choreographed illusion.” ~ Tyler Knott Gregson

“Adulthood brings with it the pernicious illusion of control, and perhaps even depends on it. I mean that mirage of dominion over our own life that allows us to feel like adults, for we associate maturity with autonomy, the sovereign right to determine what is going to happen to us next. Disillusion comes sooner or later, but it always comes, it doesn’t miss an appointment, it never has.” ~ Juan Gabriel Vásquez

“Shallow thinkers always seem to be obsessed by the stupidity that if anything is a shadow, dream, illusion, it ceases to exist.” ~ Aleister Crowley

Honestly, I could easily skip today’s post, just as I did yesterday’s. It is sleepiness of the mind. Darned thing, process, whatever, is like a horse race with dozens of thoughts jockeying for position; high speed and high-strung. Not your average monkey mind. This is free-floating anxiety, and it can be dangerous if engaged. I’m exhausted from managing the effects it has on me, not the least of which is a shaky lethargy, which is today’s faux-villain, which is today’s focus, of maintaing a casual kind of indifference. It’s what the hilarious dana Carvey once called “a case of the fuck-its”. In a good way indeed. If ya look up the phrase “It is what it is”, the online Urban Dictionary you will find the follow definition: “Used often in the business world, this incredibly versatile phrase can be literally translated as “fuck it”. Disengaged rater than dissociated. Happy on top of the whole mess. Tuned in to the spiritual, to the magick, head resting on the right shoulder of Brighid. There, you might hear what sounds like a blend of purring and giggling, little mouth noises from my soul, after which a nap of indeterminate length.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Remembered in Tranquility

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“Memory runs along deep, fixed channels in the brain, like electricity along its conduits; only a cataclysm can make the electrons rear up in shock and slide over into another channel. The human mind seems doomed to believe, as simply as a rooster believes, that where we are now is the only possibility” ~ Barbara Kingsolver

“Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.” ~ James Thurber

“It is anticipation and recollection that fill the heart—never the sensation of the moment.”  ~ Roger Zelazny

“Part of the function of memory is to forget; the omni-retentive mind will break down and produce at best an idiot savant who can recite a telephone book, and at worst a person to whom every grudge and slight is as yesterday’s.”  ~ Christopher Hitchens

 

With Awareness Intact

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“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. ~ Albert Einstein

“It is the mythic experience, the mythic imagination that opens, reveals depth and mystery, which places the human in the context of the nonhuman, and so, forces retreat, humility, and awe, in the presence of spaces beyond our will.”  ~ Tom Cheetham

“Art in the blood is liable to take the strongest forms”  ~ Arthur Conan Doyle

It seems I may be a man of few words today. The sky is lightening and I just took my second to last sip of coffee. Threads from the weave of last night’s dreams still tickle. I have no memory of the dreams beyond the fact that I still feel the holdover feelings. Awareness intact. Some days that’s all I need. Tis a workday, but I will take a break to head on over to the hospital to get an ultrasound image of the lump on my hand. My NP suspects it is a ganglionic cyst. I looked it up beforehand, and that is what I found as well. It’s not at all painful, nor even inconvenient in any detectable way. No worries, right? The whole thing is a mystery, and I do love a good mystery. Hopefully geek boy here will get a look at the image and maybe check out the tech. One can always dream. It’s going to be a good day.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Veils of Anxiety

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“To read fiction means to play a game by which we give sense to the immensity of things that happened, are happening, or will happen in the actual world. By reading narrative, we escape the anxiety that attacks us when we try to say something true about the world. This is the consoling function of narrative — the reason people tell stories, and have told stories from the beginning of time.” ~ Umberto Eco

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.” ~ Graham Green

“Once upon a time,’ is code for ‘I’m lying to you.’ We experience stories as lies and truth at the same time. We learn to empathize with real people via made-up people. The most important thing that fiction does is it lets us look out through other eyes, and that teaches us empathy—that behind every pair of eyes is somebody like us.”  ~ Neil Gaiman

Just a few minutes ago, maybe ten, there was a brief spattering of coyotes calls. This made me smile. It always does, though sometimes the song they cast out into the night first stirs a rush of wonder, before I get around to the smile. It almost always sets me to wondering still at there being any life at all. Regardless of species or kingdom, we all share a beautiful world, if we can only see it that way. The animals pretty much stay plugged in to that Beauty Way. We humans – the civilized ones anyway – swaddle ourselves in veils of anxiety. Some of get it worse than others. I’ve heard it suggested that those of us with chronic mental illness, mental disorder, whatever, serve as canaries in a coal mine for those with lesser levels of stress and cortisol-laced anxiety. Yeh, maybe. I can see the sense in that worldview. The thing is that, for me, that doesn’t matter much at all. Not to me. I feel pretty much engulfed in self-preservation, under the persistent and omnipresent rattlings of the PTSD, and the vibes it smears across my spiritual eyes. If my survival is of some use . . . . ummmm, maybe I shouldn’t go there, it sounds too fatalistic, which is not something I see in myself. I think . . . . oh, never mind. I feel optimistic a good part of the time. Let’s leave it at that, k? It’s Monday morning, and my Sunday was so filled with a feeling of freedom and escape from the pressures of society that going back to work today will likely feel like it does to folks who always have weekends off. I almost always have Sundays off, but I usually sit here is the shadows of this room and mope. I went for a long drive yesterday. The vastness and beauty of the San Luis Valley is good medicine. Even at 60 mph I still feel small, and that feels good. Anyone who goes for a drive and spends their time admiring their vehicle is missing the point, I think. My car is a fine machine. I simply take it with me and it complies with my needs. Whatever, right? At a stop along the way I fell into conversation with a hipster fella, and it turned out he spent some time in my old island hometown. He worked at the brewery there, canning beer and ale. Wait, what? Brewery? WTF. There was no brewery when I stilled lived there. But as soon as I turn my back? Geez. Again, whatever. My writing time is short and I’ll have to have a shower, after I slip past the skunk under the deck and go have a look at the sky. Sunrise is in about 20 minutes. I almost always take at least a few minutes to check it out. But I gotta get myself scrubbed up because I go to see my Nurse Practitioner at 8:20, to have her check out this mysterious lump on my right hand. I found it about two months ago. I didn’t recall it being there, and I am 90% certain it wasn’t there around New Year. Just saying. The thing doesn’t generate any sensations that suggest it might be an intruder; no itching, no burning, no aching. My massage therapist, when I showed it to her, did not recall it ever being there either, and she knows my body quite well. I’m feeling concern but no panic is evident. There for a while I did feel panic, as I looked at the lump and took it straight on into an urgent need for surgery. I was successful in walking back that unfounded fear. Calm down. That’s what I say.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The X-Files and the Nightly News

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“We end up stumbling our way through the forest, never seeing all the unexpected and wonderful possibilities and potentials because we’re looking for the idea of a tree, instead of appreciating the actual trees in front of us.”  ~ Charles de Lint, Tapping the Dreaming Tree

“Clinging to our ideas of perfection isolates us from life and is a barrier.”  ~ Sharon Salzburg

“It’s not much of a tail, but I’m sort of attached to it.” ~ A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Meadowlark sits atop the neighbor’s galvanized chimney, singing good cheer and hope into the chilly morning air. Raven passes silently overhead, headed north, with none of that whooshing sound they so often make. Flicker is on the eaves, banging her head against the flashing. No clouds. It being Sunday morning, I find no interest in anything, just a burning urge to hide. Too much could go wrong if I head out into the world, to do some laundry; then a long drive, just me and my trusty 2003 Focus. That wasn’t a great year; I got my car and my first credit by using the insurance money from the van that crashed through the wall of the house on a zero-degree and peaceful Monday morning in November. The lawyer fought hard against AllState, finally pinning them down with something from 13th century British common law; trespassing, of all things. He got a little extra ($10,000) for me, for pain and suffering. That confounded vehicle nearly brushed up against my knee as I sat at the computer reading online about angels in the real world. They exist, you know, and likely they do not comply with your post-Biblical assumptions about them. In example: they are cousins to the Faery Folk, not real as in flesh and bones and stuff, rather in that they have intelligence and they use it to interact with the physical and mental world in which we live. Angels are like that too. The angel who saved me when the van entered my home was born as a goddess for the Tuatha Dé Danann people, who graced Ireland before the Celts showed up. But she is an angel as well. If you want to get into technicalities just consider yourself; we are more things than one. Yeh, and how many people work two jobs, right? Or more. Her name is Brighid. She has other names as well, but this is the one that works for me. Oh, by the way, she is also a saint for the Roman Catholic church. Like I said: more jobs than one. You may think that having been spared injury or death would be a rather joyful thing. Well, it is and it ain’t. The blow to the wall, then the penetration, sent some flying object directly at my head, knocking me out for who knows how long. Some other projectile knocked the computer down, head first against the floor. Having PTSD, my triggers all tripped at once, immediately, like circuit breakers in your house, all tripping when a great surge of power flushes down through the filigree of copper, around you in the walls. But, anyway, the whole thing led to my buying the car. And another thing, it was my mom’s house. When we first made voice contact, right after the freak intrusion, the air in the room was so saturated with dust that we could not see each other at all, even though we were only ten feet apart. I can’t imagine what mom must have felt when one guess at what the living hell just happened may quite well be that her middle son was dead. I could hear that in her voice. She shouted first. I wasn’t up to it until her voice snapped me back to consciousness. Now, you might think that this is a very odd way to get around to this being Mother’s day, and you are correct. I’m feeling a little woo woo and X-Files prone this morning. Mom and I used to watch the X-Files every Sunday; then afterwards the 10 o’clock news. Our heads were in such a surreal space from watching the show that we would always laugh out loud at the news. It always sounded so absurd and earthly that we just couldn’t help it. I think I will take that drive, after the laundry thing, and a breakfast burrito at LotaBurger. My SS payments gave me a little free money to spend, since the payment transfers into my checking account on the 16th. It usually comes a few days later than that. I’m gonna use that cash to go out and live a little, instead of inhabiting the chair, and hosting the cat, all day long, fearful of the world, like I usually do on Sunday. I recently got Netflix and I found a marvelous original series that clearly deals with NDEs, although they don’t come right out and say it. BTW, the show is titled “The OA”. Great stuff; lushly produced; cinematography fantastic. That’s for after the drive; and the laundry; and the burrito. Mom’s been gone – physically gone – for a tad over eleven years now, and I’ve pretty much got the grieving done, so reruns of the X-Files don’t cut it anymore. That stuff is in the past.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Smack Dab in the Middle

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“The worst mistake a writer can make is to assume everyone has an imagination.” ~ Andrew McEwan

“I’m being ironic. Don’t interrupt a man in the midst of being ironic, it’s not polite. There!”  ~ Ray Bradbury

“A mouth of no distinction but well practiced, before I entered my teens, in irony. For what is irony but the repository of hurt? And what is hurt but the repository of hope?”  ~ Joyce Carol Oates

For once I can’t blame my late start at morning blog post writing on getting lost in the news. I read two long-read articles about one of my literary inspirations. Both were fulfilling for me. I learned a lot. Back when I was a junior in high school a mom of one of my bandmates, another French Horn player, saw that I had brought a copy of Creem magazine with me to school. Creem, for those of you who don’t know, was rock and roll culture magazine. She asked me why I didn’t read something more edifying. She didn’t use the word “edifying”, but that was clearly what she meant. The mom, as it turns out, was a Christian missionary. Another time she took umbrage at a line from a Cat Stevens song  –  “Wild World”  –  that Ralph Martin and I performed, as a guitar/folk duo, at a talent show at our school. I reckoned she meant “Mary dropped her pants in the sand, and let a parson come and take her hand “. But no. It was “But if you wanna leave, take good care, hope you make a lot of nice friends out there, but just remember there’s a lot of bad and beware”. To this very day, I still don’t get it. It should have been the way I saw it. A lot of things are that way for me. Go figure, I have an ego. But I don’t struggle with it, because . . . . well, anything I can say here might it sound like I am claiming enlightenment. I’ve got no aspiration in the matter. I might end up like Eckhart Tolle, and none of us want that, for various reasons. The writer I was reading about is David Foster Wallace. One article was about his abusive attitude against, toward, whatever, women; sometimes violent stuff. I already knew this about him, so I wasn’t shocked. The gist of the article was that genius is a quality that is inherently attributed to men, by it’s very Latin roots, and that it often carries with it a demeaning attitude toward women, sometimes even to the point of abuse. The other article was questioning whether a writer of his caliper, of his authentic genius, can arise in this wacky internet age, where such a large portion of internet users have very little use for people who don’t promote themselves, like they are all special or something. It’s not hard to believe that we live smack dab in the middle of a culture of narcissism. There is no easy answer for that question. Perhaps no answer at all. To me it seems like one of those questions that, by their very nature, do not need an answer. They are meant to make you think. Another of my literary inspirations, Harlan Ellison, posited that people like you if you make them think that they are thinking, but they hate you if you really make them think. Fox news is a good example of this. Where this all leads for me this morning is right on to the banal part of my life. I don’t like going to work, simply because, as my therapist said to me, I am strongly introverted. I love dealing with the public, however. The ironic part is that I love dealing with the public, yet I feel a painful empathic burn from doing so. Sometimes this grows so strong that my actual skin feels all scorched and stuff. I like something that Kurt Vonnegut’s son Mark once wrote. He suggested that extroverts usually stand around patting each other on the back for the really fine work they do, while the introverts are quietly going about actually doing the work. Luckily the crew I work with isn’t like that. Whew. Mark is a fine writer in his own right, BTW. And on that note this post shall hereby be deemed to be at it’s conclusion. That’s a fancy way of saying I am out of time. Bueno bye.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Tao of the Ocean

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“From where we stand the rain seems random. If we could stand somewhere else, we would see the order in it.” ~ Tony Hillerman

“The truth of a myth, your Honor, is not its words but its patterns.” ~ David Mitchell

“Whereas moral courage is the righting of wrongs, creative courage, in contrast, is the discovering of new forms, new symbols, new patterns on which a new society can be built.” ~ Rollo May

Chaos and order are on my mind this morning. How many times in my life have I heard folks say that they make order out of chaos, or at least aspire to that end? Me, today? I’ll take both, without acquiescence. This expansive view provides the best forest in which to hunt for patterns. It’s about old, stale patterns, really. New, fresh patterns are what I seek. Can’t do that without taking an occasional gander at the old ones, because you cannot rightly know if an old pattern masks a new one, by holding your old prejudices hostage  –  like dude if you change you’re gonna get in trouble dude. You’re gonna get in trouble. That’s what the bad man said to me when I went to tell his girlfriend that he threatened to shoot me in the head if I didn’t do what he said. The day after I told her anyway he did something truly appalling, and on a much larger scale. Scared the shit out of me. A bit of magic and synchronicity saved me from going all paranoid and stuff. My good friend Brian stopped by (I lived in an Airstream, as groundskeeper of the girlfriends property) to see if I wanted to go hunt for lobsters. He had never done such a thing before. Of course I said yes. We rode our bicycles to where Brian docked his boat, stopping on the way to buy a six pack of Budweiser, and a pack of smokes. We never found any lobsters that day. The sea was a bit rough (four to six foot waves) after we left Florida Bay and headed out into the ocean. Swimming in that turbulence did me a world of good, as it reminded me of the Tao. I didn’t forget about that asshole named Jack, but being immersed in the ocean on a rough day reminded me of the . . . . ummmm, it reminded me of eternity, is what it did. I stayed at my friend Diane’s house that night, and we drank Busch beer, and laughed a lot. The next day I went back to my trailer and found that Jack had done a very bad thing. I soon ran away to Massachusetts. Then to Taos. I don’t know why this story comes to mind this morning. It is painful to relate this to you.; painful because I left Lori behind. Lori is another story. She was the true love of my life. There was a lot of tragedy in what happened. Shit, that’s enough. I guess the cat wasn’t satisfied with eating that spider a few minutes ago, so I’d best git on ta feedin’ her, and poking some insulin into her hide.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

One Simple Answer

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“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

“I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.” ~ Arthur Rimbaud

“Mindfulness helps us get better at seeing the difference between what’s happening and the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happening, stories that get in the way of direct experience. Often such stories treat a fleeting state of mind as if it were our entire and permanent self.” ~ Sharon Salzberg

“Older theories become more and more unclear when one tries to use them to obtain insight into new domains.”  ~ David Bohm

One thing about being a cashier in a business where a diverse flow of people come through is that you can get a nice picture of where society is on any given topic that might come up in civil social chit chat. Taking this into account it seems that Summer is pretty much here. Yippee, right? I’m not too stoked about it, however, and I can attribute this attitude to having lived in the sub-tropics for 20+ years. That’s valid. But there is no holding it back. Yet one nice thing about it is that the meadowlarks are here. I just heard one proclaiming a short while ago. One of the sweeter bird calls, if you ask me. The other good news from the animal kingdom is that the donkeys and the jet black mule are back in the pasture across the road from here. I’ll have to remember to buy some carrots one of these days. A few days ago I was lucky enough to see the mule and one of the donkeys galloping at high speed; and I had never considered that donkeys can move so fast. Beautiful sight, indeed. Soooo . . . . moving forward . . . . my dilemma for the day is how to spend the afternoon. I’m torn between taking a long drive, to clear out some of the muck from both my mind and the car’s engine, or to take it easy and let my mind be entertained by something absorbing. Or I could write; I could work on the novel. Shudder the thought! Wow, I just had to have a google jaunt to find out if it is “shudder” the thought or “shutter” the thought. The results of what I read about the matter are for me inconclusive. It seems that either one is allowable. That’s not the way I want it to be, dang it. The question should have just one simple answer? No, perish the thought. Now that is a rich and thoughtful phrase. Language and words are like soooo cool.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.