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Month the Twelfth

3.13.24 Back in the Saddle Again

I listened to a live Zevon set yesterday. Good to shake up the way you think about guitars by injecting a twelve string. I’ve been twitching, shaking. From booze and the pills they give me to stabilize my moods. And nicotine. Rough night last night, but that was yesterday. Today is already turning around. I won’t be made to be ashamed, won’t feel the alcoholic’s guilt. Am I an alcoholic? Maybe. It is hard to say. I try to stay away from the hard stuff.

I’m tired of talking, thinking about substances. Let them be a part of life, or not, but let them not rule you. That is why the Pihkal guy quit tobacco. I did it for health reasons. My heart would give out. I am not so strong as I reckoned at the outset of this hero’s journey, if that happens to be what this is. Death awaits. There is no escaping him. I just hope I make a favorable impression along the way and stay in the moment and can keep my head above water. There, cliche, to avoid saying outright the elephant. Suicide, as is often with me, silent passenger on this voyage where rule number one is don’t die.

I’m sorry to get ugly with it, but I am hideous on some aspects. But at least I don’t wear too much perfume. Hardly any honestly. I like my nostrils unassaulted. I like not being paranoid better than being paranoid. But I have so much guilt surrounding the law. I also am struggling with drinker’s guilt. I think I have a problem.

3.13.24 I heard you’re getting sober

I guess I am, Ladies and Gentlemen. I don’t think I can keep living like this. It is untenable. It will kill me. I’m just hurt, fundamentally. At a very deep seated level within my soul I have been wounded and I’m not sure I’ll ever recover. My earliest memories are of physical pain. This world is harsh, is cruel. Even good people behave badly.  I am one of those.

If you want to know the truth I have had a drinking problem since my sophomore year of college when things with Lindsey completely fell apart and I took to drinking frozen vodka in the morning. That was where it really started. That was where I really broke. And it was all downhill from there. But the pain started much earlier. I don’t want to get into it. I’m just trying not to get too paranoid, and to accept what consequences come in a world where people have grace for you even if you can’t manage it for yourself. All you can do is be honest and try your best. I struggle with the honesty bit sometimes. An addict’s habit. 

I lied to the doctor this morning about how much I was drinking. I won’t lie to the doctor this afternoon. I’m going to come clean and take my medicine. I’m tired of shaking hands, I’m tired of sick mornings. I want to be sharp and fit and live forever, or as long as that means to me.

Why do men hate women? Why do women hate men? Why does anyone hate anyone? I just want to get better, because I’ve been struggling for a long time. I can do it, I am strong. I don’t need anything but air food and water. And love, I need love. That is all for now.

I lyasm, TTFN.


3.14.24 Rock the boat, you might get wet

I feel like crying. Like letting my hair down and weeping. Not to grieve the life I was supposed to have, but to grieve all the time I have lost. All the people I’ve lost. Some to the bottle, and smoke. Some to food, bad living. To the rigors of being a human being. For I am one of those, a man, in fact. I have lost everything before. Lost myself so deep in the antipsychotic nothing that I felt dead, completely dead. A eunuch in my early twenties. And now at 32 with hands that fortunately aren’t still shaking. But just a couple weeks ago I couldn’t set a golf ball back on the putting surface without trembling.

But you know, sometimes it doesn’t take clarity. Sometimes we can just decide. Can just put away things that have not been serving us. Like cigarettes. Like booze. Can start exercising, writing more. Trying not to be defined by the illness that at times is everything. For that is what I would grieve, is that so far it has largely defined me. Other than maybe being a restaurant worker, but I’m not sure I want to be defined by that either. I wanted to be a writer when I was in college because I thought it was mysterious and would help me with women. And then it became who I was. I sold my soul for that, in my imagination. Of course I didn’t sell my soul. Except maybe to Big Pharma.

Because that was the hardest period of my life. Even harder than the hardest drinking. And I didn’t really drink at all in those days. And I’m not usually a binge drinker. Just a steady everyday kind of guy. Or at least I was, because that’ll kill me sure as anything will. But the risperidone, and whatever else they gave me. That utterly killed my spirit. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about how lost I was. I didn’t think I’d ever get out of that. The first phase, where every thought for three months was “I want to kill myself.” That was the bottom of the barrel, almost. Also bad was hearing what seemed the voice of God commanding me to take my own life. What a close brush with a terrifying delusion.

But because of it I feel like I could never go that route. Having been standing at the edge and being commanded to jump. Fear and Trembling, as Kierkegaard put it. Isaac and Abraham on the mount. And Abe dead to suicide and Isaac saying he too heard the command. Just in the air I guess. Who is to say why we feel anything at all? I for a long time thought I would never have emotions again for all the psych meds. And here I am crying in a public place typing away as if I was still that 19 year old who couldn’t sleep he was so distraught at losing what he thought his future was going to be. Who tried to drink himself into a state where he could cope.

To be fair, while I have long used alcohol as a crutch, it has not been an outright dependency, and most often I am in control of the habit. But habits are habits and I want to forge better ones. Forge them from the ruins of myself. The ashes of the phoenix journey. So which is it Richard, Hero or Phoenix? I hear Arizona’s nice this time of year. But I don’t want to get out of dodge. I don’t know what I want for the future. I tend to run into trouble when I think too much about it. Just need to get through today. 12-step that shit, sort of. One day at a time is a good mantra even if I can’t do the higher power thing. It is contraindicated with my schizophrenic tendencies.

By which I mean that my mind is alert to signs and signals from the beyond. For whatever reason it assigns significance to things in the environment that suggests to my cerebral cortex that a vast and phenomenal force is sending me messages. I think it is an amphetamine trauma, honestly. Phillip K. Dick struggled with that kind of thinking. And while he was a hero he also was very lost. I don’t want to have to work that hard. I want to be happy and healthy. As Korshye was fond of saying. Miss her, but what can you do?

You make choices and hope that the consequences aren’t more than you can bear. I think my problem has been that for a long time the consequences of the choices I’ve made in a blind, wounded depression have been more than I could bear. It is not that I don’t want to take responsibility for my actions. In fact it is the opposite of that. I assume responsibilities and guilt for them that no one else is even worried about. I get so worried about what others think, I guess. And I am a very harsh critic of myself. Only I struggle with self-control. So it is always sin and then feel guilty, so to speak. The impulse to break the cycle has been lacking.

Just too sad. Too hurt. From so many things. Escape Escape Escape. Down the bottle. Up in smoke. Rabbit holes everywhere you turn. I have never been able to help myself. Ever since LSD was the only time for two years that I felt happy. It reconditioned me that if nothing else worked at least there was something. Or that taking something could help. I had luck with antidepressants for a while one time when I was suicidal. But then that stopped working. Who knows if booze has been bringing me down, but I was depressed years before I had my first sip.

I think the root is head trauma. But I don’t want them to slice my brain open until after I’ve kicked this oxygen habit. I can’t even keep grey matter and white matter straight. They used to say I was a genius. I’d be happy to make it to tomorrow without going to jail. Because I fear that so much for whatever reason. A trauma from past legal shit. Psychological trauma. Compounded with addiction. But I have less of a problem than I did two days ago. I guess you could say this is day two of sobriety, which as I said at the outset of this GD™ is not entirely abstinence. Though it is that from alcohol for now. I’m not the kind of person who gets off on measuring progress. I just need to be committed to doing what is right for me.

So that’s what I’m trying to do. Put down the bottle. Stop tobacco. Stop getting high. Just be. Just breathe. As I tried to tell myself when I was grappling in June. That was hard. I don’t know what happened. The last decade has been a blur. I’m ready for it to come into focus.



3.15.24 What did you do those three days you were dead?

It is strange to be here on the other side of my panic. Weed induced panic. Can’t do it I guess…can’t handle the devil’s lettuce. They have been telling me that for ages, but maybe I will accept the proclamation this time. Stop getting stoned.

Because Paranoia is not fun. It just isn’t. So why subject yourself? Simple, and yet harder for whatever in practice. Addiction I guess.

But I’ve had enough of that for a couple days. I want to go in another direction. Want to spread my wings and soar on thermal updrafts that push me skyward until the trees are just shadows against the flat landscape. Where has all the money gone? It is flown away, and likely no more for a while. Who knows what I will do? How I will fill up my days.

It is too early to think about that. Too early to make decisions. I only wanted to see John this morning so I left the house earlier than usual. And sore as if I’d been hit by a truck. But such is the nature of exercise. Gotta stick with it. Get strong. Or at least fit.

And K seeing someone. Odd, strange days. I wouldn’t mind seeing someone. But I’m in no special hurry. It was nice to talk with her last night. To get a sense of what went on on her side of the glass. At least she knew it wasn’t working by the end. Makes me feel better; as if I did the right thing. Or almost the right thing. How is there a right way to break a heart? There isn’t, I don’t think.

But that is enough, we are on an alcohol break L&G. Probably my next drink will be champagne when we celebrate my mom’s retirement. And then who knows. It is not important. Deal with the boredom. Deal with the itch. Put down the pipe and bottle and pick up the pen, as Olivia said. That is the thing, that is the path. Though there is only so much you can write in a day. We saw me get manic trying to crank on Catch a Tiger By Its Tail; but this is not that, this is just a diary. An embarrassing airing of myself for the world to see. But I am not embarrassed. I have little left to hide.

That is all for now I think. I’m glad to be back in this document, back in the saddle as I said so cavalierly as I grappled with the aftermath of that relative rock bottom. Won’t drink myself to death. Can’t drink myself to death. Well, could. But Won’t. Full stop.



3.15.24 Later

The taste of coffee brings back hearty memories. Happy memories. Makes me feel at peace. And caffeine not so much a source of anxiety for me. One of those people I suppose. The words do not come as freely as yesterday. That is alright. It is all fine, I am having a grand old time. Going to bust out an old camera today if the battery charges. Who is to say? Perhaps I will continue my journey to the end of the night. Though Celine said that was the one that got him into trouble. He died the same day as Hemingway, thirty years before I was born, to the day.

But what does that mean? Other than that we keep calendars. I am keeping a calendar here. Here, Pisces Season, I suppose, though after having been written off for my zodiac sign the other night I’m inclined to shelve the whole thing. Other than as a thing within time keeping time, as Isaac once put it to me. Cycles, rhythms. We shall see what the future holds, if I can live twelve years and so make good on the promise to fulfill a year for each month of this diary. It is ambitious, certainly, and perhaps delusional that any of you would be interested that long. Or perhaps it will evolve, not be so dull as I often fear this is.

Because I don’t know why anyone would want to read about my process, my grappling with highbrow concepts like enlightenment or AI as God. Wouldn’t you rather see a high speed chase shot on 35mm film? When I think too hard about value I get self-conscious, and that is a sure fire way to short yourself on authenticity. Because when we get self-conscious we get afraid to be seen, and the seeing is the thing. 

I don’t have any idea what this thing says as a whole. As the first year comes to a close I can only say that the first year was blurry. That it was slippery. That I did my share of falling. Surely I said a lot of things that if you asked me now I would say that I did not mean. But such is the nature of time. Of a diary, of progression–not to be confused with progress. I am not strong enough to be perfect, but I don’t think perfection was ever in the cards for me. I am messy, at times hot, at times paunchy. At times raving, a lunatic, utterly mad.

But I create, and I struggle and I succeed at times. In conquering myself, in being the best me that I can manage on a given day. Isn’t that the goal, ultimately, of this one day at a time business. Not worrying too much about all that jazz. All that future stuff, or all that past stuff that no matter what you do you can’t change. And there aren’t so many really bad things in my past as it often feels like there are, I don’t think. My perception of them is distorted, a cognitive distortion as I read so many years ago was a probable root cause of depression, but which for me has shown up way more often in psychosis. It is here, it is there. It is not everywhere. I’m doing okay, I’m not floundering on the deck gasping for air. At least I can say that.

But what is it that most of us are looking for? My therapist told me yesterday that falling in love makes people miserable. What if you could skip over that phase and just have a companion? Someone to talk to. To smile at. To kiss. Hell, even to fuck. There is no point in pretending I am still a eunuch, even if my gender identity is fluid and complicated as a result of having once been. You see there are some things you can’t really forget, at least not all the way. A lot of trauma survivors would agree I think. But what is trauma? Who gets to draw the line as to what is and isn’t? Is it the doctors? Because I don’t trust them a lot of the time. I wonder if that is a facet of my disease.

And yet, and yet, and yet. I long for not so much on mornings like these. Longing is not the right word. I feel content, at peace, relatively speaking. And yet life beckons, not a diametric opposition as I once assumed. Peace and Life that is. My shoulder hurts from the needle, my legs hurt too. Pain is congruent with growth at times. They say ‘no pain no gain,’ and sometimes I guess that is true. But that is none of my concern. I have lilies in my brain. That is a lie. They are tulips. I don’t grow funeral flowers.

I try not to attend funerals. With any luck no one else will die. But who can hope for that much.

Think I’m going to go walk with my Grandmother. Seems like that’s the next thing to do. Hahaheehee. Sounds. Noises. Animal Laughter. There is a darker side to this grasshopper sometimes. But for now it is all sunshine and rainbows. Or at least sunrise and contrails.

Wish I was an astronaut, but not really. Space seems way too far away.


3.15.24 Third time today?

I just flashed back to the descent into madness. How is it that I can’t recognize my thoughts as flighted? How is that self-awareness barred when things are spiraling? For to read them now it is clear that I was not thinking the way I should be. As I am thinking now. As I hope to continue to be. Forever and ever Amen.

Only leave me out of your dirty little religion. The human spirit is enough God for me. Never more God than in the godless crowd. You can see that at Disney World, just ask my mother. I could go for a nap. Maybe I will take one, maybe I will take space from the world to close my eyes and embrace oblivion for a while. Maybe my body just wants to give out because I have been pushing too hard. That is always a possibility. Maybe not always. But when one has been drinking for a couple weeks it certainly seems nearer. To say nothing of the clonazepam I took last night. Maybe that is it. Maybe that is the keystone cop in this set. Cop out. Cop town. Cop town.

Only no more of that, we are living in a world where the law has no reason to take notice of us. Or of me I should say. Enough of the royal we. The Gen Z we. Who knows, who cares. I want to make my way to happiness. Want to find balance where before there has only been chaos. “The arrival of Chaos should be regarded as very good news.” Depends if you believe in him or not. I do sometimes, and not others. Not always has it been good, but always it has led to evolution, which I think is what he meant. Trungpa, that is, Chogyam Trungpa. “Everybody wants to fuck the guru.” Blake Bailey said that.

Elizabeth Taylor is looking mighty dead these days. Hard to catch hell from Richard Burton either. Those were Dylan references. I’m tired of being original. I want to repeat other people’s words for the rest of my days. To become a macaw on a pirate’s shoulder. Polly wants a cracker, think I’d better untie her first. Or something like that. Isn’t the track of the mind interesting when you don’t try too hard to guide it. Just let it free associate until you get dizzy. I’m dizzy now, ready to fall asleep. But I said I was going to take pictures even if the light is shit. Maybe they will turn out in black and white. I just wanted a series to write poems about. Only I don’t remember how to use this camera.

That is enough. Maybe nobody cares about this. Maybe these words are for naught. Maybe, maybe. I cannot afford to care. It is all I can do to be.

3.15.24 Okay last one but only because I’m sometimes a failure as a poet

As I told Brandon this morning I often struggle to summon the necessary brevity to write poetry. It is an art form that requires the mood. Requires an inspiration. You can type and type and never come up with anything. Just because you produced words doesn’t mean you wrote anything.

This here is a different story. Forward progress is the name of the game, and with no restrictions on content, with only the requirement that I explore myself, it is relatively can’t miss, so to speak. But of course I have missed. Have gone off the wall and gone batty and said mean things about all sorts of invisible entities. For now I am just trying to make it to the end of the page. To the end of the line. But the line continues, a pair of headlights in the fog. Happy to be spared the pain of yesterday. Happy too to be spared the paranoia. Just an afternoon for coffee today. Coffee and the blank page.

And nothing to comment on, nothing worthwhile to entomb within a poem. I am not a regular contributor of immortal verse. It is all I can do to be authentic most of the time. And even then mostly they are not good. What did Billy Collins say? That it took roughly two years to get enough good ones to make a collection. That’s a fair clip too. Not all of us can be prolific, not all of us can man the eternal flame. I sometimes struggle to keep a candle burning, and that only just in case.

It has been a journey since I started this. Since I announced myself as a Townie Wino Dog. That was tongue in cheek, as I am not really any of those things. Well maybe I have been a wino. And if to be attracted to women (mostly) makes me a dog, so be it. And I suppose I do live in town. So maybe I can’t shed that so easily. Maybe the label sticks. Maybe I am doomed to die five miles from where I was born. But I doubt it. Even if I can’t bust out and run far away that doesn’t mean I have to be stuck here. I’m not that sick, after all.

Rebuild, rebuild Richard, start over. The grasshopper is greener than that, as you said. Ripe to be instructed, by you, by me, by the world. I need help ladies and gentlemen. Someone to set a pick and roll at the free throw line of life. Tyrone Shoelaces said that. Make changes, see what happens. Maybe it is as simple as that. Maybe I just have needed to let go for a long time. Let go of the things that have been holding me back. As if it was easy to do. But I feel fine today. A little anxiety and exhaustion earlier but we slept it off. And now just stable. Watching the wheels in the ceiling fan spin. Wishing I had a little more courage. Maybe I will work up to it. Maybe, maybe.


3.16.24 On Reading from Within the Last Year

I feel like I had lost the thread. I mean, I did lose the thread. The stability and progression beyond schizophrenia that I professed at the outset of this…maybe not. Though who knows where to draw the line between schizophrenia and manic delusions? And with people who I love who pushed me into them. What am I to make of that? What am I to make of any of it?

You see it is all quite confusing to me. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out the world sneaks up and tears out a wall, like a bear in a fury of blood-lust. Or like a wrecking ball. I would be a wrecking ball, I have been one. Have torn down relationships, both romantic and friendly. Have ruined my own life (seemingly) so many times I have lost count. I don’t want to be that kind of a person. Don’t want to be another literary bastard. There must be some kind of middle ground where we can be good at the typer and decent away from it. Only I don’t know how to subscribe to society.

By which I mean that it has always been hard for me to see the point. There is the hedonism, sure, the pleasure that can come from having money. That has always appealed to me, and I have exercised it epically at times. But that is not enough. But money for money’s sake, for the sake of survival–neither has made too much sense to me. I could sit down today and write a single poem and be remembered, ultimately, only for that. That has happened many times. The fame could come after I die. They could say after they bury me: hey look at this guy, what he was doing, that was some cool stuff. Print him, he’s mad but there’s no lie in his fire. Only I don’t know that fame is what I want either.

Though it seems better than laborious obscurity, of fragility so severe that we never even really put our work out there in the world. That seems wrong, for other reasons. For a reason of personal failure. Have I been a failure so far? What does it mean to fail? I can’t say that I even know any more. And what is it that I want? What is of spiritual benefit to me? What is of material benefit? Of benefit to my health? Are these questions trivial? It seems not, they are on major themes. And cover most of the bases. Do you think I will fall in love again? My therapist said falling in love most often makes people miserable. I think I mentioned that. Cynicism? Experience? Who is to say, but I think I cannot excise love to avoid suffering, as Burroughs once cautioned the buddhists with his little bit about castration. And then that story of castration in that Bolaño bit. What a strange few months and I in regression as to where it is that I fit in this comedy, this society, this world.

I feel like an outsider in a lot of ways. That the things that motivate other people don’t motivate me. Is what I mean by that I think. What I mean by a lot of things I write. I used to like getting high. Now it is a fear show. Alcohol used to calm my nerves, but now it just seems heavy. Smoke too. I finished last night’s cigar this morning though it is not even noon. But I haven’t had a cigarette in almost a month, so that is good. I don’t want this to be a recovery blog. I don’t want this to be the religion blog that it seemed to be at the outset. But it is a blog of my consciousness, so I suppose it will be what it will be. I don’t get to choose what goes on in my brain, even if we can manage to realize that we are not our thoughts.

I have been writing poems. Decent poems, recently, at that. I have stopped trying to make them what I think they should be and been allowing them more to be what they are. That is the trick, the proverbial ticket. I don’t want to be anyone else but me. I remember once I went to give confession and the priest just said that people love me. I don’t know how true that is but maybe that is a personal failing. An inability to see that I am not a person of zero value. Of course on the other side of the coin is the vast egotism that I am better than many people in many ways. That the hatred is for the feeling that the world is not fair to those of us who can see it clearly.

Maybe that is what I would confess: that I think I’m better than you. Only I don’t know if it’s true. That’s why I said maybe, I guess. Because how is it better to not understand why we persist in this society that leaves so many on the outside. Where the few chosen advance up, up and away into economic stratospheres that make the hundred dollars I have to my name look like the drop in the bucket it is. Because money is important, for whatever reason. To live comfortably you must have it anyways. And who doesn’t want to live comfortably. Though they said Jack Gilbert didn’t care if he had no money and slept on a park bench. But I’m betting that was when he was in San Francisco and not in Pittsburgh. Because nobody likes to be cold. We all want to be safe and warm, don’t we, and well-fed. That is the real Human Dream, to take it out of the stakes of America. America with your Time magazine photograph of the last buffalo. With the back and forth on the war in Gaza.

That’s enough, that’s enough for now. There are a few days left in this arbitrary year, and then there will be a new one. Maybe you will bear with me, maybe you have never read it. Maybe, maybe. The purest work you ever do is the work you do for yourself with no consideration of reward or audience. I suppose this is my second gasp at that. Or rather first-and-a-half gasp at that, or whatever fraction you choose.

I’ll see you soon.

3.17.24 Top ‘o the mornin’ to ya

It’s the day to wear green or get pinched. I have on green pants, my dad has green in his shirt, my mom is lacking in the requisite color. But that is all quite beside the point. I picked up a pack of cigarettes yesterday so as always it is one step forward and two steps back. But I have tools to quit again. So I will. Again, this is not a recovery blog. It is, however, a blog where I air my emotional concerns and yesterday I was quite emotional. Quite sad actually, in a spiral that only ended when I ate some pizza. Leave it to the Italian Americans, of which I am one, to reunify the goodness of life.

I went out last night, to the bar. Sat there listening to electronic music and not drinking. It was easier than I thought it would be. Apparently I don’t have as significant addiction issues with the bottle as I thought a few days ago. I am writing this before coffee, as I usually am only able to do when manic. Only not manic. Not much of anything this morning. A dial tone. A blankness. A wet blanket cast upon my psyche. Is that a cliché? Probably. I don’t deal in perfectly unique English, that much is certain. There are a lot of great writers in the world, and I think myself middling at the end of the day. Or maybe not. Maybe I have just not quite found the thing I am looking for. The story I want to tell.

Maybe this is the story, maybe not. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Conditional always. Never sure. I wrote recently that it is when I am sure that I run into trouble. How many times have I seen that since I started this. How many problems have I engineered for myself by thinking I have it all figured out? A number, that much is certain. It is these grey areas that are better for me. Where I can observe and smile and be idle. Only oftentimes I have trouble idling. Restlessness is a major issue for me. ADHD? Maybe. Maybe again, huh? My meds, certainly. There, a surety. Take it for what you will.

In the old days yesterday I would have gone and gotten blitz drunk. Even a year ago I probably would have had 4-6 and not been very much intoxicated. Because it is fun to party. It is fun to rage against the dying of the night. Dylan Thomas drank himself to death. I don’t want to do that. I have said before that when I go I want to go in my sleep holding the hand of someone that I love. I guess in this world that seems a lot to ask. I have had a lot of fears about what would happen to those I love after I die. Now it seems less relevant. That I can view the threshold with a peaceful release. That the continuing timelines of those around me are theirs and not extensions of mine. 

I guess that speaks to a deep seated self-obsession. That has certainly plagued me for a long time. The feeling that I had main character energy. That people cared what happened in my life, the spectating aliens for all intents and purposes, or God (though wouldn’t He know all of it, beginning end and postscript, from the beginning), and what happened after. Only I am small, I know this to be true. Sagan sunbeam small. I don’t think anymore that anyone is watching except maybe the few of you who follow this. And how many are committed to the long haul of watching me struggle as a ‘miner for truth and delusion’ as Floyd described their own resident wayward psychonaut.

Because my timeline is inseparable from LSD for a lot of reasons. It shaped the person that I am hugely. And not in entirely bad ways, but certainly some. Would I be mentally ill if I had never taken it? Yes, I was before I ever touched the stuff. Delusions, so powerful as to shake the foundations of my reality? Maybe not. And yet, and yet, the understanding of the smallness. The cosmic smallness. What would I be without that? Certainly not me. Certainly not the Richard the priest said people love. To say nothing of my interest in music, of my interest in art. I once wanted to be a mathematician, once wanted to be an engineer. I would have made more money so far doing the latter. But money is not everything. This is more rewarding work for me. To distill the perspective of one man who looks out at society and can’t comprehend it. How many have gone before and left us that trail of breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs (pebbles in the original Hansel and Gretel) that have led me to you here. To this moment on the wave of becoming where I can genuinely say I am fulfilled. What a difference a day makes.

On being a decent person, I would say that is a major priority. This time spent at the typer only makes me better able to be, in the general sense. Be, for myself, not for you. I remember a time when I sat in the conference room at Community Mental Health in Ingham county and all my friends and family held an intervention for me. Not a substance abuse intervention but a depression intervention. Because I was so low that I couldn’t see any value in myself. Couldn’t imagine a world in which anything I did mattered even in the slightest. And maybe it doesn’t matter all that much, from this moment. But maybe it does. Maybe to engage humans is enough. Is better than seeking pleasure and fostering vanity. Is better than flailing wounded through the void. Is better, is better.

I hope that you have no leprechauns and no cursed gold today. Try to get outside in the sunshine. Try to look into the face of one you love and show them a smile. And if you don’t have anyone you love, try to work on that. I know I am.


3.18.24 Beauty at the Doctor’s Office

It is a shame to be hauled out of bed and driven across a freezing wasteland to be told that your eyebrows and sideburns are scaly and your back is riddled with acne so severe that it must be painful to you. Only I guess I must have a higher tolerance for pain, because even when I pop the pustules and they do hurt and bleed it is not even close to my limit. I guess the limit is not the threshold for pain, but that is the way I tend to think of such things. I suppose my limits are greater and then lower in many senses than many others, but that’s not worth going into. Or maybe it is. I am the judge and I decide to recuse myself.

Anyways the blow is lessened slightly by the doctor being a grade-A looker. The kind of beauty that drives men to do irrational and truly insane things. Not that I am so driven. But still, it is nicer to have your chest scraped with a scalpel (scale again) by a woman whose face you would be happy to stare at should you ever be reduced to a vegetative state. That’s a good face as we used to say behind the bar. Inflection a little too heavy to be spoken in sanity. The endless pursuit of beauty not so much in chase as in appreciation. Is that better or worse?

I propose that it is better. That if you truly seek then that is the objectification. To appreciate does not preclude the fact that every person is, in fact, a person, with a whole world of thoughts and emotions and desires that have nothing to do with you. That is where many men go awry, I think, is in forgetting that women are people too and not just toys. Maybe that is too harsh, but misandry is alive and well in the world of young women. Just the other day I was hearing about it, but that is another story.

Anyways, the doctor is supremely competent, in addition to being beautiful. That is the more important thing. And yet attraction is primal. There is no way to turn it off when it truly strikes. Though I was reading that smell is a crucial component of sustaining it. I am way off course, though there is not a true course to these meanderings. These panderings. Whatever you want to call them.

I would call them a diary. And this year coming to a close. A whole 366 days of nonsense. Of brutal madness. Of mania, of depression. Of stress-induced fever. Of joblessness. Of exploitation. And now this calm semblance of normality. Of poetry and the ebbs and flows of pain. The weather of the mind, so to speak. Hurricanes come and gone in the fall. Now the springtime fervor of new life. Only it is frigid out there today. My fingers hurt from my walk. And here I am alone in the kitchen tapping away trying to find a way out of this same dead end life I alluded to in one of the first entries. The one I wanted someone like you to save me from. 

Maybe you will yet. I don’t know. I’m becoming of the opinion that salvation is not the answer. To be saved is to surrender yourself, and I am of the ilk that refuses to surrender. Even if I do give up booze. Even if I can quit smoking. Still I can’t accept that I have no control. We have the control we have, as someone told me just over a year ago. Then in the throes of another wayward affection. The string of which went on for a long time and ended my longest relationship to date. And now she’s seeing someone else while I am alone and living at home. But maybe I am happier? What is happiness, and why do I struggle so to sustain it? Or rather when it eludes me why do I just always jump to the end. Envy the ending right from the start, so to quote.

And now the year ending. Am I better off? Maybe. Maybe not. Certainly my life is different. I am less caught in a maddening cycle. Maybe I will even stave off madness for a few more years. And if I can put down all my vices maybe I can live a long and healthy and productive life. This project has made me write more, overall, I think. So that is good. If any of it is good, I guess. I can’t tell, being too close to the creation of the thing. So I will sign off for now. Call it a year.

There are two days left but who’s counting. Pisces season is over for me. And astrology has less bearing than it did a year ago. I want to greet the world on the terms it presents itself to me. Hopefully they continue to be congruent. As it is when they are not that I find myself delirious with delusion and fervent obstinacy. That is no way to live. There is no shortage of problems in this world, and I can’t, as I once imagined, solve them all. Who wants to be a savior. It is enough, isn’t it, just to be.

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