Tuesday, March 23, 2010

end of blog

i hereby drive the final nail into the coffin lid of this blog. and so it joins the vast dead letter office of abandoned blogs on the internet---burst blog bubble!

i'll probably start another one for fun since doing this one has given me the blog-bug...

from pixels you were made...to pixels you shall return...


Monday, March 15, 2010

end of days, nj

last saturday, i get a call from a friend in nearby larchmont, ny, inviting me over. i figured that i'd stay overnight and packed accordingly: single changes of socks and underwear, with not much else...during the afternoon drive, the rain and wind really started to pound. branches, and in some cases, whole trees, were starting to blow down; roads started to flood. other than having to swerve to avoid some minor road obstructions, i made the trip 'swimmingly'...

all day, the weather continued undiminished---winds up to 80mph and 4 inches of rain! that night, the power went out at my parents' house [and surrounding neighborhood] for 9 hours. their phones were dead and i only got busy signals on the other end. the basement where i now call home, flooded. but i wasn't there...

rain and winds continued the following day, but slightly less so...here in larchmont, hugh grace and i took a post-apocalyptic stroll around the block to find generator pumps bailing out every other house. most backyards were ponds with trees sticking out of them. sewers regurgitated water. i tried to call my family-----still busy....little did i know....

two trees fell and blocked off their street---one to the north, one to the south! the local grammar school that i attended had its roof blown off! two towns to the south, two people were killed by a falling tree!

somehow, i missed it or it missed me...

see for yourself:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

hey, daddy-o...i don't wanna go...down...to the basement...

both flights were as smooth as they get...yesterday, i landed on terra firma, back to my hometown; i haven't lived here in almost 20 years! it amazes me that i can say the phrase 'in almost 20 years' pertaining to anything in my life ;-)

yes, it's surreal...but better than the anticipated kafa-esque regression and existential terror [stop laughing, god ;-) for i'm retaining an up-to-date sense of my mature myself despite living in my parents' basement [hence the title of this post based on the ramones song]. towards the end of my norwich stay, i tried hard to prepare for this very situation in order to frame it in the most positive, productive way possible to my psyche. my psyche answered that i needed to work actively with my parents to heal our strained relationship and many mutual misunderstandings; no blame, no finger pointing...just as much compassion as we can conjure up...may the patience last!

plan so far: within the next few weeks, drive up to boston, visit whoever i can and empty my self-store unit. my cell phone is back on. get in touch if you like....

i look forward to seeing many of you in person for the first time in 6 months!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

so...a life sorted in 6 months?

i leave in 2 days. how do i see the 6 month experiment from this vantage? neat [cut into thirds], symmetrical, more lax than i would've thought and, essentially, an interpersonal failure...

neat? this relates to the interpersonal failure part. the trip featured three relationship failures: the first one with james' girlfriend, juliette [see post here], the second one with my friend, summer [which i didn't write about] and the unexpected row with the woman i was staying with in town as a result of failure number one. things do come in threes, no?

thirds? each failure marked, almost to the day, a two month milestone; slicing the six-month pie into three parts.

latest failure: as i was leaving her place for the last time, after a two-month stay of weekends, she rather passive-aggressively ran down the stairs saying, 'no, forget it...' after she dropped the bomb of how displeased she'd been with my stay there! i had to chase after her and plead for the privilege of hearing how i'd failed to read her mind about what she was expecting from me, none of which was ever discussed. i was supposed to have known that i needed to clean the house every week, take the dog out more than i had done [though i walked the dog each afternoon i was there, as agreed upon---always asking if he needed more], feed her [owner, not the dog] at least as much as she'd offered food to me, pay more than our agreed-upon price since her bills were 'really huge'! [implying that my being there on weekends had made them that way] she claimed that 'adults just know these things'...this is when i realized that i wasn't dealing with an adult...

despite being greatly disheartened by these failures [especially the last one, as, in my head, it was supposed to 'redeem' the first two] i'm still going to press ahead with the visa application. i try not to imagine this social dynamic between me and british women as being an insurmountable, universally repeatable law. though, i do wonder what i'm not seeing...what am i missing?

i've been consistently surprised during the six months about just how much american and british cultures differ. so much gets lost in translation, in both directions. however, the difference would be difficult to quantify. it would take a lifetime to understand fully...and my life is half over...

thanks to everyone for reading and commenting! i plan to post an epilogue, my landing in nj and whatever happens in my unsure, itinerant existence. then this blog will probably join the massive scrapheap of dead blogs...having served its purpose...

a punchline from the universe: james and i drove over to where i was staying in town with the woman of blowout number three in order to pick up my computer. guess who was sitting at the table with blowout number three?

blowout number two!

[no, they don't know each other]

ha ha...fuckin' ha!

Friday, March 5, 2010


the current was roaring and i tried in vain to capture it in this photo...

some great, old trees in richmond park----like entities unto themselves:

hyde park

my first afternoon in london i spent wandering around hyde park since i was staying nearby. the weather was about as good as it gets at this time of the year in london, as you can see in the pictures.

i followed the route recommended in my lonely planet guidebook to london: following the serpentine water course and making a loop.

lots of waterfowl feeding, jogging, rollerblading, tourists [including myself]...what you'd expect in an urban park...in fact, this looks like a stock photo, but is not.

by the time i made it to the southwest part of the park, i found the hugely overdone prince albert monument glistening in the waning afternoon sun:

thinking of the word association between prince albert the person and the male genital piercing by the same name, made me chuckle inwardly at how different this monument could've been ;-)

appropriate credit crunch juxtaposition

couldn't resist this! all in one: the royal bank of scotland, the demolished devil tavern and 'fleet street', the home of sweeney todd, the demon barber ;-)


did a trip down to london-town, based around two concerts that i wanted to see/hear: matthais goerne at wigmore hall and sophie daneman with ian bostridge at the amazing middle temple hall. in each case, the venue was as remarkable as the musicians; together, they made for an outstanding sonic experience.

matthais goerne performed a program of exclusively schubert leider. before the show, i attended an erudite lecture about a few of the songs to be performed, which deepened my appreciation later in the evening. i believe i experienced the acoustic phenomenon called the 'singer's formant' at this concert. my perception of pitch was totally scrambled---whereas it's usually pretty alert and accurate---for he consistently sounded low and high at the same time [overtones], lending tremendous warmth to his baritone. goerne seemed to arrange his set so that the loud and low passages were to be sung towards the end---to powerful, almost jarring, effect!! what an emotionally true performer!

second show: sophie daneman and ian bostridge...an interesting mix of french and german solo songs and duets. ian bostridge started solo with a set of 6 schubert leider. i only noticed how gothic [as in tall, thin and saturnine...eyeliner and black nailpolish wouldn't look out of place on him...though he'd most likely disagree] and delicate his demeanor was until sophie daneman took to the stage for her 6 mendelssohn songs. she was light to his darkness, extroversion to his introversion, earth to his air, smiles to his furrowed brow. i began to appreciate the contours of their deliberate musical pairing. it added contrast and drama. for the last two songs of the first half, ian and sophie teamed up for duets.

during intermission, the audience was treated to free [and very good] wine, water and juice. i felt like i was a welcome guest at the sprawling residence of a very wealthy host.

the second half followed a similar contour as the first, but was french instead of german. it is here that i regret the mutual antipathy between my culture and the french which keeps much of french language and culture shrouded in mist and mystery. i wish i could understand the set poetry first hand [ear]. sonically and aesthetically the french songs were the highlight for me, especially the ones composed by gabriel faure and especially his 'clair de lune', sung angelically by mr. bostridge.

have to say that julius drake, the accompanist and curator of the concert deserves mention for how seamless and supportive he was. his playing and presence reminded me of a description of the best acting as the acting you don't notice.

sorry---didn't mean for this to be a critical musical review ;-)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

pre-equinox homesick blues

mother earth
is dirty,

she made a pass
and grabbed my ass;

but...no worries,
because on i'll pass
her sensual act
to the women
walking on her...

what awaits me in reply
is even greater,
for randy earth mother
has also groped
her venusian sisters:

pining and lupine,
rolled-over and supine;

baying for blood,
covered in mud;

seeking a wrestle,
receiving a grapple;

straddling serpent,
eating an apple;

tumbling runs,
rumbling tums;

fruitful yields,
in farmers' fields;

skin so soft,
hard in the hayloft;

start with a flirt,
end up under skirt;

seeds are watered in,
the fluids we're covered in;

two-backed beast has burrowed
deeply into her furrow;

our sweet, sweating mess
will insure a good harvest.

homo technologicus autisticus

mr. and mrs. gadget:
are you harried
or just married?

sitting at a table for two together
alone by yourselves
along with thousands
of your closest e-friends
with whom you maintain
friendl-e relations...
or is it business?
or just busyness...

are you numb?
out of your minds
since they've dropped out
and down, down
and out, to your thumbs,
which dance deftly
over digital displays,
while your eyes---
sole windows to your souls---
glaze over?

game over.
'can i take your order?'
time for you
to face the face facing you
at that table for two.

not carved in stone

without harm, i witnessed,
on my arm, a mole
be subsumed whole,
as if my body knew what it were doing.

no need for training
or scientific stamp of approval.
no post-grad program in mole-removal.

with this consumption, i thought,
went some assumptions i'd been taught:

that our mortal and mental coils
were more like foibles---
happy/sad accidents not our own,
though they were etched in necklace millstones;

that living is a superfluous luxury
though we more resemble static statuary.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

new logo look

what do you think of the new look? comments welcome. i've done a package design to match and i'm 'well-chuffed' about it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

james' talk about soil remineralization

apologies for the utter crap picture [and the utterly british style of the previous]...

james did a 90 min. presentation to the 'norfolk organic group' last night---informative and interesting. as you can see, he was equipped with powerpoint, laptop and projector. it was well-attended, with about 40-50 eager gardeners present. all of the rock dust samples we brought were sold---an auspicious start!

mom's gunna be jazzed when she sees this

puerile, i know...but puerility plus self-consciousness of said puerility equals charm somehow in my inner calculus...ask mom...

Monday, February 22, 2010

artiste: two-point-zero

the idea
the big idea
[what's the big idea?]:

that an auteur,
a single author,
[one who inspires awe]

can make,
can make anything,
can make a single thing

worth our while,
worth our wily
hive mind's attention

anymore clever,
any more than the
computing cloud's
worldwide brain.

kiss it goodbye--
[a good buy for the globalistas]

the propriety,
the private property,
the proprietary prosperity,

deeds that are titled,
deeds that are entitled,
the greedy intellectual title-deed,

'cause, as a corollary,
the coroner comes
to the coronary

of the

souled-out [sic],
seemingly selfish,
single-celled self---

dead of a broken art.

move over,

'cause here comes everybody!
even coffins won't
be single occupancy...

and all new virtues
will be virtual.

sutton hoo

sutton who? 'hoo' is an anglo-saxon word for 'ridge'...

at the suggestion of my friend, hugh, i [finally] visited this site---named sutton hoo---of a very significant, recent anglo-saxon treasure find in neighboring suffolk. this past weekend, james and i had access to julliette's car...the weather didn't suck...why not?

i must admit that i felt like i did months ago while visiting the 'conceptual ruin' of caister st. edmund. [post here]---that the site was all in your mind, not in front of your eyes. the story, mind you, was brought vividly to life by the exhibition at the visitor's center and even more by the wonderful national trust guide, with whom we booked a tour. but, in front of your eyes were a couple of grass mounds; some were surrounded by gravel rectangles, marking known burial sites---a leader ringed by his family/subjects. one gravel rectangle represented a prince [equipped with a satchel of lamb chops to fuel his journey in death] buried with his horse [who had oats to keep him galloping on]!

however, i did think this signage was unwittingly funny:

the sunset that day was something to see:

gloomy dartmoor

about an hour's drive from james' mom's place lies dartmoor: a large, hilly plateau of misty bogs and tors that sticks out---literally---from the surrounding, relatively friendly devon landscape. small wonder that people have been drawn to it for millennia. those people placed stones there. we searched for some on a day trip.

over muddy hill and down squashy dale, we found this first formation---an alignment with a central standing stone. the central menhir seemed to mark the cistern of a well. or was that because water was copiously flowing down into it that day?

here's another view of the same alignment facing the opposite direction:

from this alignment we walked a straight path to another menhir surrounded by its own circle:

this is a landscape that makes it very logical and perfectly reasonable to believe in faries!

from there we spotted some interesting ridges off in the deceiving distance. one was particularly interesting: a huge earthwork! multiple piles of stones. what could it be? an ancient royal burying ground? the destination seemed popular enough. lines of people dotted the topmost ridge. off we went. as we closed in, we started to see strange anachronisms: a van, foundations of relatively modern buildings...mmm....climbing to a higher vantage, it started to make sense...those people? the army! this was an old quarry that the military used for training...the drill sergeant screamed the boys into repelling supplies and each other up and down the steep rock face. they took no notice of us. i would have taken a picture, but their camouflage blended in so well with the surroundings [like it should] that it was pointless. add another futile quarry to the journey...

we made it back to the car just in time. the sleet started to really hammer down!

a native summed up dartmoor to me pretty succinctly: clouds, mist, prison and the military. sounds about right...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

on exploring an out-of-the-way church and finding all life hiding in the local pub

james' mom sent us on a drive to a very small local town named south pool. a single road snaked through the center of an old village. an interesting church stood at the top of the road on a hill. as god's house is always open, we entered the gate...

inside this small-town church, which, from all outward appearances, could've been any other church, we found some surprises---a particularly well-preserved, painted and carved rood screen! to me, this seemed a rarity: an ornate catholic vestige that survived the reformation somehow with medieval painted panels still in tact. look:

the green man is clearly seen in every panel along with some mysterious twins, enacting biblical scenes----a marriage between paganism and christianity. my pet theory is that the twins are remus and romulus and that england was aspiring towards becoming the new roman empire....but my ignorance of history steps in and interrupts this train of thought...hey, i'm no scholar, ok? it was just a pretty freakin' cool church...if you like that kinda thing...

more carving [celtic knots and green men!]:

note the red and green polychrome on some of the wood in some of the shots.

from the church we made our way down to the local pub---a funny from-black-and-white-to-technicolor moment. the windows sweated with condensation. the room heaved with shoulders and hot human exhalation. a smooth jazz trio played on in the corner. this was where the entire village population was and had been since early in the afternoon...and things were getting pretty sloppy by the time we'd arrived.

two unfamiliar, obviously not local, young men---us--- sit at a corner table [the only one free]. unbeknownst to us, it was valentine's day. there were roses on the table. we paid no heed. the table next to us full of drunken over-50's did and removed the roses after a time. oh, they thought we were a couple! we didn't care...and maybe we should've pretended---it would've prevented a soused emissary for the middle-aged, baby-boomer second-youth movement from embarrassing herself in front of half of the pub! she was dressed like...an escort: skin-tight, almost painted-on pants, zippers running waist to cuff...mohair top barely buttoned; extra lipstick glazing her wine glass red!

'oh, finally, some single men!'...she'd been heckling the guys in the other corner who were more interested in the rugby game on the tv; so, she migrated to us. james and i goofed around with her for a time, mock-courting her with the table roses...funny for the first ten minutes; but she didn't leave...until an even drunker friend finally pulled her away...

the punchline? a bemused man leaned over to me, 'guess that woman's occupation...'





'recently-fired investment banker?'

chuckle. 'no, she's gp in london...' 'gp' is short for 'general practitioner'...a doctor!!

punchline #2? the next day, right outside our flat, we saw the same woman with what looked like her mother...she didn't recognize us...ah, merciful alcohol!

return to devon

with a few weeks to go here, i revisited devon----where i was a few weeks into my trip [see my post here]...this created a nice symmetrical set of bookends around the inner meat of the sabbatical. time reveled in its circularity. instantly the rush of who i was, what i was thinking and how i was feeling when i embarked on this adventure six months ago came back to me very vividly!

not that such a neat, novelistic device was fully intentional...james and i had set up a meeting with the quarry with whom we hope to do business. it was close to devon. the rest is, as they say, history.

i needed to revisit the same beach i'd swum at six months ago, during warmer times. i took a picture of myself in front of the same rock:

the beach, this time during the winter, sported more human activity than when i had it to myself in the balmy, golden autumn. dogs happily ran, chasing anything thrown. families and their children cooked lunch over a bonfire. hikers trekked around the coastal footpath [which runs 420 miles west from that spot!] a lone, young teenage girl drew a heart on the sand [complete with keith harring lines] with her footsteps; presumably with her initials paired with those of a puppy-love beloved. i caught the scene on pixels before the incoming tide wiped it away. ahhhh, the existentialism of it all....

and, the much-anticipated meeting with the quarry? it didn't go as well as we'd, perhaps naively, hoped. we were expecting to hammer out a contract. in reality, the people we needed to talk to weren't there. the people who were there were rushing about answering the phones. a higher-up who wasn't very well-informed about who we were chatted to us about the road industry. plus we found out about a possible conflict of interest with some mystery man.

we reeled for about a day afterward from the disparity between our expectations and what had actually transpired. however, on a positive note, we learned that a handful of other quarries surround the one we visited. we need to keep digging!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ensemble Sreteniye Ancient Church Singing of Byzantine Georgia and Rus

this blows my mind [and ears!]...it cradles me back to earth when i feel nowhere [especially the 3rd track]:

Ancient Church Singing of Byzantine Georgia and Rus by Ensemble Sreteniye

Thursday, February 11, 2010

late in the long 6-month day

well, the sun [whatever that might be] sets on my trip as well as the british empire...i sit in the long shadows contemplating the long 6-month day of my sabbatical----i am different somehow...more willing to take a stand for myself...weathered, bloodied...but unbowed...much more work than i'd imagined!

in a few days, james and i leave for the southwest of england [cornwall/somerset] to visit the secret quarry, on whom our entire venture depends. when we proposed and scheduled this meeting i realized just how much of my anxiety was related to not knowing about this crucial piece of the puzzle. is it a deal i can depend on to return to this country? we'll soon find out...

this past week, i've designed the bag for our secret product...indulging in my love/hate relationship with doing computer graphics...brings back the rush of the caffeinated dot-com daze [sic]...of being young with a place in the world [though that place was a soap bubble, reflecting the economy it spawned---neither exists anymore anyway, except as scum around the drain of things past]. the files are very large [because the bag is too], but i'll see about posting copies here...i'd love some feedback!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

state of the art[s]

in all the
in which i've
wanted careers,
they now expect
one to volunteer;

and, hey,
why pay
do it for
free anyway,
for the love of it--

that's what 'amateur' means.

our culture
for richer
or poorer?
the question
but personally,
it's the latter---
objection sustained.

Friday, January 29, 2010

the plan [stan [and ollie]]

besides not wanting to kill myself, my near future according to me will look something like this [i hear god laughing somewhere]:

james and i are in the process of trying to get his company to be able to legally sponsor me as an employee. it's an obstacle course of checklists and requirements, but we're going through it check by check. what will we be doing? we've developed a soil remineralization product, called geo-gro, made from stones----remember the injunction for me to 'follow the stones'?

right now the 'climate' in the uk, political, environmental and social, is about as supportive as could be asked for such a business venture. an excerpt from this guardian article:

Benn promised £50m for research over the next five years. Much will go to find ways to reduce carbon emissions from soils and rotting waste food, as well as finding ways to grow food with less fertiliser, pesticides and fuel.

'benn' is hilary benn, uk environmental secretary. geo-gro can help with all of the above. we've applied for a startup grant and have a decent opportunity to be awarded up to £5,000 [$8,000].

this means that i'm intending not to return to my old life in boston as a massage therapist. there are many reasons why, but the best one is 'because i can't'. i'll miss very much all the friends and spiritual family i met there!

so how does it end? not sure. i could get the visa while i'm still here, in which case i wouldn't have to leave and return to the states. if no word from uk immigration, then i have to leave between march 9th and march 28th. i'd be landing in nj, somewhat in limbo, awaiting news of my status. this will be time for me to make a bit of money somehow and to visit friends and family [in boston, ny and nj]. if awarded a visa, then i drive up to boston, get my stuff out of storage in roslindale, say goodbye to friends and book my next flight.

and what if i don't get a visa? i need to find a new way to make money, retrain---guitar repair is still on my mind as a potential new career. the school is in nj and lasts 6 months. after that i'd probably return to boston [remember me?] with a skill in demand there, enabling me to pay the steep entry fee for the game of being able to afford to live there!

comments/suggestions welcome.

poetry corner

who the hell reads poetry these days?

commitment is:

real currency;
precious metal;
all laws and contracts
on paper, papyrus and stone tablets;

three for one!

any relationship
[worth having];

the highest identity,
for when the first person [i]
knows itself [committed to living]
then second [you]
and third people [he, she, it]
are invited into the trinity.

three for one!

pure investment
guaranteed returns,
no heaven necessary.
dividends in your pocket---
love paid back treble...

three for one!

so, why can't i sign
the papyrus on the line?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

apologies to those who care

news bulletin: dan doesn't want to kill himself. repeat: dan does not want to kill himself.

yikes! i'm blushing...embarrassed about my capital-r romantic outpouring of the few previous posts! maybe i should cut down on the schubert leider...maybe some sunshine would help ;-)

seriously, i thank you, my friends, for reading, caring and writing to me very eloquently and skillfully...i always assume incorrectly that no one is watching...how glorious to know that i'm wrong!


Monday, January 25, 2010

when the oriental girl of my dreams finds me in my sleep...

....then i know that things are turning around in my psyche....

i mean, literally, in my dreams....it's a recurring dream [more meaningful than the 'i'm in my underwear and am late for a test' type---though they certainly have their use] in multiple forms that always signals a process of deep unification, not the typical western male fetish of going 'asian'----though i think the reasons behind both phenomena are similar: coming together [easy now] with the 'other', whether it be outwardly or inwardly foreign; she represents previously unrecognized parts of the self becoming recognized. in my case especially, the 'left' meets 'right' [east meets west] sides of the body, hemispheres of the brain, methods of dealing with the world, paradigms ring true.

so, i spent some quality rem-time with her...and i get the feeling that it is she that i will have to court before any non-disasterous courtship can happen in the 'real' world.

i wonder if asians dream of americans or africans [or any other, take your pick] when something in their psyches congeals?

the above 'dream-date' [sorry!] followed a day of heavy processing. i wrote frantically and honestly about my early musical miseducation [obliquely referred to in my previous depressing rant] and really felt the pain of the loss 25 years later.

a word about [my] depression: yes, there are people who can't function or who would destroy themselves without medication...but i'm not one of them, though i've been a friend of darkness for as long as i can remember. my depression is based on not feeling feelings that i need to feel to be able to move on; medication would prevent this process by killing the feelings with numbness and apathy. yesterday, i felt a neat parcel of them, personally addressed to me...

i hear a lot of 'but you have so much not to be depressed about' types of pep-talks. some i appreciate, some are patronizing, most miss the point. the point is this: my process [verb] is stuck on the inside. my outside [noun] experiences could be far worse...marauding hoards have not ransacked my village, making me watch them perform unsavory acts to those i love...etc. but then again, the same could be said of most people in the modern western world. this type of outdated thinking is a cognitive dead end and only leads to an insidious type of survivor's guilt. if we are ever going to step into a healthier framework, we have to find tools to deal with this guilt and its ilk, like being able not to feel bad about seriously considering or asking the question, 'what do i want to do with my life?' then, i think, we'd feel our abundance, actually feel it...then we can give it freely!

this is maslow-ian hierarchy of needs stuff:

we first world-ers have long since won the battle for things, material survival ['physiological' and 'safety' levels of the pyramid], but it is amazing that we still have the vestiges of the thinking ---a scarcity consciousness, if you will---that helped us to fight and win the battle. perhaps that is the real scar. the victory has become a trophy which has become a fetish we worship onanistically, a reflected exaggeration of our power---technology. how interesting that as soon as we nail down the bottom of the pyramid that the upper levels start to show cracks---the nature of our problems changes. they become more subtle, ethereal, abstract, not as gross and material. refined is the pompous, yet true, word. we need to develop a more refined technology of the upper three levels. not gadgets [things]. different ways of thinking. then we can help others build and repair their pyramids. the life of bill gates illustrates this process almost-novelistically well: from world's richest techno-capitalist to world's biggest philanthropist in 25 years....and what have i done in the past 25 years? ahem...

back to my point: treating depression in a 'thing', noun, materialist way has become the norm via the technology of drugs, and, hey, if you're depressed because your nerves are deficient in certain neurotransmitters, then this is the appropriate solution. reach into the noun [your skull] and tweak the mechanism...bang. done. bill my insurance [ah, if i could afford it ;-) BUT, if you happen to be having upper pyramid issues, different tools are needed.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

bury me

been depressed for a number of weeks, pretty much constantly, with slightly lighter moments intervening occasionally; hence, the lack of posts. been amazed at how quickly my perhaps immature, naive faith can turn into despair! same coin, two sides....

the other night, james and i watched 'death of a salesman'. the last time i saw/read the play was high school, when such characters seemed distant and unlikely. now, however, i'm amazed at how much i've grown to resemble them...living in fantasy, in essence, not being there for pretty much my entire life...an absentee human...middle age welcomes me with stinky breath, poor memory and words.....that.......just..........seem..........to......................................

i almost laughed out loud, when, standing in front of a bookcase in the living room of my city-stay apartment, i spied a spine that sported the title: 'what do i want to do with my life?' by po bronson. it's very refreshing! even though it's billed as a 'self help' book, it lacks the annoying new age jargon which makes me want to buy and use an automatic weapon. it's people's stories of their quest to answer this very question, compassionately related by the author.

i've realized that i gave up taking that question seriously starting in 5th grade, completing the premature process in 9th grade. both times i let myself----but then again, does a young child have an actual choice?-----be talked out of special studies and playing musical instruments, the only things i've really cared to do with myself...i haven't found a replacement....and it's been 25 years!!!

even imagining that i have inoperable cancer can't shake me out of my stupor ;-) [in the visualization, i don't suddenly take that trip or meet my love or find sudden peace or forgiveness or walk to meet the dali lama or become anything...i just £%£^^£^%£ing die unglamorously, unceremoniously, silently, painfully and.....very ALONE!]


Friday, January 8, 2010

Go placidly amid the noise and haste

that's right...i've been dating myself---in the artist's way kinda way...as in indulgent-quality-time-on-one's-own. my versions of this have been meals out, films, music-ing, library, writing [aka 'journaling']; many of the usual suspects...sorry! no real adventures to report----i really do live my life on the inside...but you probably knew that...now i just have to start accepting the fact.

anyway, last night i headed to my favorite thai place downtown for quiet dining. sat down. ordered a house red. and was then assaulted by a gang, gaggle, brace, hoard-----whatever you call the roving bands of 20-somethings, which i've found to be a particular specialty of the uk, in general, and norwich [a college town] in particular. [actually called a 'generation gap' here and is an acknowledged split in society] the thirteen assembled for, what seemed to be, their last supper. they were extraordinarily proud of how well they could overtake the restaurant's small size and the also diminutive, quiet, courteous asian staff and showed it with a look-at-me pub/club crowd fervor. to be fair to the youngins, the 'adults' whom i assumed to be someone's parents---and, most likely, the sponsors of the evening on the town---were the worst offenders. [trying to regain a forever lost youth, one supposes]

i ate more quickly than i would have liked, though i did take my time with the wine as i shot the occasional, ineffectual acid glance over at the screamers of vulgarity. the noise they produced could have helped to solve the energy crisis, if only the black box existed to make the transformation of sound into power. it was literally painful to me. but what i found worse was the content of most of the decibel-age: yelling, asking if anyone had a condom so that they could 'have it off' in the bathroom, making fun of the asian staff, etc. look-at-me stuff...

on the way home, ears still ringing, i stopped in front of a storefront to find a calligraphy rendering of the following poem:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

(c) Max Ehrman 1926

...and it was then that my tragic evening alchemically transmogrified into comedy!