Today’s meditation is, if you break a finger or two on your writing hand, just how will you get your writing done? With the hand that is free, you could peck out the sentences. Also you could record your voice and later have it transcribed, but it isn’t really as close to the natural process. You have to do whatever you can, though, to get your thoughts out.

today, my knuckles banged up
in the door frames and
exposed the best parts of
themselves to the world.
can you help this one
along
carrying books

I don’t have a problem
staring at the ground
close the door and let
me do my work.
mistaken.
the sting of things
the painful ache
and this morning
the sun showering in
through the blinds
Rudra the happiest I’ve
seen him in a long time
laying there in bed
looking at him
I recognized this was
one of the highlights of my life

if you can write with the other hand
insist to get the work done
it will be a tribute to the other
down on your last dollar
who will have the honor?
oatmeal. yes, oatmeal for a week.
until the check comes

Why write all this poetry? What do you mean, poetry? These questions, these vague columns, these attempts. I don’t know; I go and write both. I want it to be all the same to me. If I type fast like I read fast then something may come up of value. I guess I was just thinking about that also, sincerity. None of it, what I say, the so called deepness coming out of the pen, should be pretend. Uplift yourself. And that means tearing the hinges off. Throw the hinges down the stair well. Last sip. Will I be included just the same if they find out I have been drinking orange juice the entire time? How can a man get drunk of orange juice? Can’t you tell, can’t you see, sometimes I am actually happy? Of course I don’t understand you, how you do it, get smashed after work, or before your big trip. Can’t put a thing like that to words. Don’t want to. Clone a man like this and you’ve got willing troops ready to lose it all.

this house produces insomnia

I’ve got that itching cough that reaches out and demands the next cough. Late, it continues on like this. A big apology to myself for not being able to sleep at a decent hours for so many days in a row. Somehow I’ll get back into shape, if that’s even possible any more. Winter kicks my ass up and down. I suppose I can lay down again and give sleep another shot.

the lengthening rope of life

The quietest time is often when I have insomnia and am up at some “ungodly” hour. We have this borrowed space heater, though. It’s making things a little easier. Not too many hours left in this old house. It didn’t treat us very well, because the landlord, for the most part, was indifferent to our basic requests, and therefore we suffered, along with other tenants here, through some serious cold, and some serious electric bills. This new place I think will be amazing.

Hard shoes knock on the floorboards overhead at 4 AM in the morning. My hours are strange too, but I just walk like a cat in these socks, and lately I haven’t been listening to much music. Probably the only time I get very loud is when I’m vocal – joking around, laughing. Ideas come to mind that just trip me out, and I start laughing really loud. Like if Judge Mathis, for instance, this TV courtroom judge, says something against a guy, and then adds, “What are you from Canada or something?” – this has Canadians in an uproar. I don’t know what it is, but I find stuff like that hilarious. Definitely when I’m watching TV, I’m most always laughing pretty hard.

I like to write. I like to write in a flow, and can usually tell when I’m in one. Writing in my notebook is a different experience because it’s with a pen and I usually don’t cross out words, replace them, and so on. It’s just a constant flow. I might write an article like that. At least the skeleton of it. Here on the Mac, it can be different; I can write out a sentence and second guess it, then delete it. It’s not a good way to be in the flow, but it’s the best place to be during a 2nd or 3rd draft, getting down to the end, finalizing, omitting unnecessary words. Laying in bed and not being able to sleep, I had this idea that I should think really hard about what I wanted to go into my dream with, and while doing that, slow down my breathing into counted breaths from 1 to 10. When that doesn’t work, when I’ve tried it for at least a half hour, then I know it’s time to get up and force myself to write.

The space heater can really dry out a room. You wake up with lips all chapped, wake up to another day without a job. Always that stress under your skin in the morning. Still, I like what Morrissey said back in The Smiths: “I was looking for a job and I found a job. Heaven knows I’m miserable now.” Jobs, books, writing – constant themes in my life. Behind that, under it all, is philosophy. Some aspects of philosophy I’ve stepped back from, more as some kind of emotional quirk than any solid reasons at the front that I could fire off into a bulleted list. I weave in and out of religious life like I’m making a basket. But there are no picnics, none that I can find.

When I came to Roanoke I dived into to the poetry readings, at least for a couple nights. Besides the fact that I was smoked out of the place (everyone down here seems to smoke), I couldn’t stick to it. Everyone just seemed too damn silly. They were living in these imaginary picnic baskets, mocking any serious word that might have escaped someone’s mouth.

an old girlfriend
with mono
my friends said to me
maybe she was going
around kissing other boys
and that’s how it happened
I never said anything
a month later she was
drinking with some guy
laughing over the phone
as I was talking to her
I started asking her
what is going on
started getting mad
she dumped me
on the spot
that was the end of that

life took me to different places
even wound up in India
for almost three months
I’d learn more of the
dialect as I walked around there
what I could not speak with
my mouth
I could speak with my hands
I started to feel that the world
brought me up well teaching me how
to communicate honestly and
to the point
a gentleman asked that
I learn Hindi and stay
and preach to the Indians
in his country that had
gone wayward

that was too hard for an 18
year old boy who just
escaped nearly losing his mind
I would go back to the states
again make more mistakes
pine over a few more girls
and be thrown into the grinding
mill of terrible jobs
what if’s always plague me
I can’t help it
what if I would have stayed
in Potomac that day?
instead of going back and living
with my grandmother for a while, I could have gotten rid of the saffron, put on white and learned a trade right there. Yeah, all of course in theory. Only a few of us went that path. Some even went back into the Navy, because it was the only way to pay their bills. The armed forces, the ghetto, it’s all bloodshed to me, in one way or another. Losing bits of soul. Crying your goddamn head off. Some of us went off to New York or Boston or California. The whole thing has been a big struggle, a zig zag, trying to figure out what we can accept, what we have to admit about ourselves, struggling to find a path for ourselves that is real. Getting into Krsna was a kid’s thing. Living the life years on into it we discovered was an adult thing. Everything is heavier as an adult for some reason.

Doing what I did, moving around so much, changing up, I have to tell myself that there was some bravery in it, and that I did the right thing, that some choices were the best choices. Compared to everyone else around me, I felt I was a pretty intelligent kid. Whatever I had to do, I had to blast through my family’s negativism to do it.

I wonder if one day I’ll wind up writing a book of memoirs. Is my life all that interesting? I suppose at least half of it is in the delivery. The other important thing is, who would read it? Here’s a Live Journal observation. Please, no one take this the wrong way. The attractive girls on Live Journal always get the comments, like 10-15 each entry practically, no matter what. Myself, I could sit down here for a long ass time, write up a 2000+ word entry, and just maybe I’d get one or two people’s thoughts from it. Still, a girl might get plagued with all kinds of attention, but it’s not always sincere. People have all sorts of ulterior motives when a pretty girl is in the room, there’s no way they can be themselves completely. Writing this with an affectionate smile on my face, sympathizing with the plight LJ girls are in across the data streams.

desk cluttered
with necessary junk
“necessito” is
“I need” in Spanish
one day
I’ll learn the
whole language
how can I
cut corners
and learn it
without going
to school?
wife is stubborn
and won’t teach me
so I will do things
to get back at her
like hide
hairpins and
jam the bathroom
doorknob with toothpicks
I had met this kid who did the Amok anarchist zine in D.C. when I was a kid. Didn’t know him for very long, but picked up on a few tips like that, the best way to jam locks, to sabotage a big operation. He had a big effect on me even though I only hung out with him two or three times. Getting into straightedge I think shook that destructiveness out of me, at least to an extent. It wasn’t until KC that I became a little more peaceful. But I swear I came out of the womb peaceful, I didn’t have any grudges to speak of. It was the world that chopped trees down on top of me and took the worst words out of its pocket for me and slashed them at my throat. There was something about me that had me ruled out from day one. At least that’s what it seems. What a surreal event, getting through preschool and graduating on to Elementary school. Those of us who were terrified of going forward were separated by an invisible line from the others. That’s the way it was. So many fights and name calling. One kid cried so much I’m surprised he didn’t burst into bits. It was a spiritual experience for everyone. I wish someone could have been our martyr to show us that! If Greg just would have exploded out on the field from hurt feelings we would have known right there from that day on that there is something more to walking around in these bodies as if they are completely empty.

weaving quiet
and weaving loud

None of this is easy any more. The bones creak and do an awful job. Winter doesn’t help. I think it’s the main season that puts years on a face, puts the wrinkles there. Really, a guy just wakes up on one particular day in his life and notices that his face is not what it used to be.

accept that new
maybe not so
wonderful face

get back to basics
quiet the
wild stirrings

When things are in the mode of goodness you can read. I plan to explain this one of these days. Other modes, too – passion, and the lower, the mode of ignorance. All three of these we live in and know and are dominated by. The best men, they are the only ones that can reach it to number four, or the liberated state of pure love and act within that as a transcendent being. In all my favorite movies I see traces of this, people breaking free from their chains, fighting back against all odds and fears, and sometimes outsmarting their life long oppressors. These days, too, are the ones that change your life and become engraved in your mind. That’s what I want when my last day comes and I go down in blood spattered chaos and the moments begin to spark in front of the mind’s eye.

wake up in
a better place

last days on albemarle ave.

It is simply too cold to write or do much of anything. The wind blows right through the windows and the walls and goes down to the bones. I’ll probably throw in a movie and bunker under three sets of blankets. This is insane, but this weekend we’ll be moving anyway. . .

holiday notes

When I was a kid we had this little tradition that I could open at least one present on Christmas Eve, and that would be the one tagged with my mom or dad’s name on it. The rest would arrive under the tree by morning, which would be from Santa. I was blown out of the water by the idea of Santa Claus, that there was this man coming down my goddamn chimney, this stranger who somehow knew me and wanted to give me presents. There was nothing better than that. Of course when I fell asleep, it was my parents down there maneuvering all the packages around, not anyone else. Even as I began to suspect it, I forced those suspicions out of my head for a long time.

In 1977, I woke up at 4 o’clock in the morning when everyone was asleep and went down and started opening everything up. Bet you don’t know this, but back then Spiderman had a helicopter. I had him in it and was flying that thing all over the place. They must have heard me, because my mom came down to see what all the commotion was about, and she was pretty upset she discovered I had opened so many presents without them.

When you’re a little kid everyone’s asking your name all the time – not so much to learn it, but to reinforce that you learned it. And how old are you? And school assignments back then were all about learning to tie your shoes, memorize your phone number, your address, and the emergency numbers – all before learning how to read and write.

The black tire swing in nursery school had a snake in it. We danced in a circle holding hands while the sirens went off next door at the fire house. I seemed to be the only one who was petrified by it. I believe that was the day when I actually dropped out. Yes, dropped out of nursery school.

I’m wishing for different things, now that I find myself all grown up. I don’t want toys any more; they’ve been replaced with books, music, and movies. I guess I just want to keep a roof over my head. It’s not really too much to ask for. (Some heat wouldn’t be too bad either.) Everyone should be able to have that. I hope the new year will be a little easier for me, and that I can concentrate better on these personal projects without feeling blasted to pieces by . . . outside influences.

long hours

She is on vacation and I miss her to the point of falling out sick. It feels like I am under the influence of some kind of alcohol that I’ve shot down for the very first time in my life, and it’s making me so ill that I don’t know what to do with myself. And I cannot shake the depression. I’m almost to the point of watching the clock like I’m on the job stocking shelves to the end of time, time standing still like that man you can picture in the great classics – his patience, all of his years of experience. They don’t hire men like that any more. They can’t find them. Anyway, my wife, she’ll be back before I know it, once I open my eyes.

little days waking up
in the middle of
the afternoon
I can’t tell you
how comforting
that is
they won’t last
forever
but you don’t
have to
remind me
it is actually
nagging me
at the back of
my mind
because I
have a
worrier’s way
about me
ask anyone
who really
knows me

the heat is up
and everything
out there
on the outside
is busy
during the day
with holiday
traffic they call it
holy traffic
if there
could be
such a thing
people running
other people over
a real holy Saturday
and Sunday Sale
down at the
department store

this guy gets hired
on for the length of it
it doesn’t last long
they turn him out
the second it’s over
or say
“actually, you can
leave early.”
“I will not forget
to go home,” he tells them,
“and write some
poems about you.”

it is no sweat
the young man
sits in his chair and
writes a holy list
a wish list
a hit list
a to do list
and crosses off
crosses off with his
eyes closed
she has this kind of
air about her that
says “what could
you possibly be writing?
how do you think of
things to write about?
what is there to write about?”
if you practice
every day
then soon enough
it comes naturally
especially around
this time of year, you know
when things get all
stressful and high strung
there is much . . .

Different levels of concentration when reading, I’ve noticed – I mean, about myself. Some days I’m really there with the lines on the page. Other days I have to take more time to concentrate, I have to go back over the same thing more than once. I take it in whole chunks at a time. With Another Country, tomorrow I’ll at least get to the 200 mark. After that I’ll give myself a few days to get to 300, and from there I’ll have only about 50 pages left. I have to pace myself. The pacing doesn’t always work – I sometimes have to let up a little – but it’s something I can always return to. There are strict days and not so strict days. It is good to admit that there’s both. I can’t always be some kind of machine.

In fact, I may want to sleep a fourteen or fifteen hour stretch. Ah, dreams…

blue blood runs red

1. Wake up remembering where you are. 2. On his first day the kid makes a killing at his lemonade stand. 3. Send him warm thoughts.

I’ve decided on “nothing.” It’s the best way to describe what I’m doing here. A dead bird comes, and I want to talk about it, sailing in and through the window, new glass stabbing down in falls over the edge and to the bottom where there is floor. Everyone has to look up or look away while this business of nothing is going on. Who likes it, to be disturbed in the middle of their business? No one. Definitions, for me, only clot and road block. I could just be confused, but even the most confused have to breathe and win bread, earn their keep. If it’s in me to write, but you ask about what, I’d rather give no answer, because each day I’m struggling for one myself. Why give you an easy answer if the answers don’t come that easy?

Instead this paragraph can say it. One day I’ll have a big book to hand out – I’ll be practiced, I keep telling myself. I’ve learned I don’t want to be confined by one genre alone – such as fiction. I’m better off writing about this poor nothing world in limited, homely sentences. And on the side I can venture into those fictions.

he speaks for five minutes
exactly what he’s thinking.
there is no timidity in the
way he carries himself.
a little world of conversations
for his victims and by the end
they’re signing papers.
the others wear clothes old into the years and
desperation is a constant perspiration letting everyone know that they’re being driven beyond their natural means, that they’re willing to go to great lengths, cross lines, ruin other men, forsake the gods that had forsaken them, for a living.

There is just so much out there in terms of information. It can be really intimidating for a writer to think about that. Why would they read my stuff? In the next split second I have to obliterate that and move on. Otherwise it’s all through.

Perhaps we will be taken out into the back alley and have our fucking heads blown off by someone who broke into the house while we were gone. What if I were to survive it? What would I write about then? Christopher Reeve comes to mind, how he has since changed being forced into his paralysis, how he has communicated and reached out with new ideas. They closed their eyes and sent him good thoughts. We each speak from our own perspectives and beat downs. And again, our suffering may not be comparable to the suffering of others. Suffering is not a matter of pride. Let something else make you warm.

I think of myself as sophomore; not quite naïve as freshman, but on the lower rungs of what I need to know to get through to that next level. All the selfishness, jealousy, and fear. Some of it I feel the weight on me. Tonight I want to produce a fleet that will kill it off.

they misunderstood each other and
were not willing to repair what had been said
it was the end of all things in their long terms

meditation and a stillness
and a movement
in front of the closed eyes
trust the world one day
to come along
and pull out that flag security
blanket right from under you

I really like this. Coming here to write. If I were to be pulled away from it, I’d really miss it. There’s nothing else like writing that I feel so close to. It feels like the most natural thing in the world to do, even if I’m feeling quiet and think I don’t have that much to say. Often when I get in bed and plan to go to sleep for the night, I wind up pulling my notebook in with me, swiping across thick, black lines. Poems of my day, my job, or now no job, and no job in sight. The vacationer.

My destiny continues to unfold. I’m along for the ride. I’m under the truck getting my back scraped against the highway. In the air floating, eyeing the drama from a high place, laughing, light hearted and letting go, like I did with my job. They were letting go of me the same time I was letting go. Maybe it all works out way – in the very, very end.

failures

Strange hours. I’ve been writing so much, I’ve practically forgotten how. Relearning now, how to put one foot in front of the other – is this appropriate? Spell out in a whole sentence how freakin’ late at night it is. Send in then no phone calls. Expect no answer.

I’m drinking a tall glass of water. I don’t wonder what their beer tastes like. I wonder what life is like somewhere else, and read books, classics, try to educate myself, but still practically have no one to talk to, read out loud to – these sentences that catch me.

I see in everyone occasional failures. A mature man let’s hatred die down and does not seek revenge, somehow controls his anger. He may feel wronged, but he doesn’t act immediately. I keep saying this, because I want to become him. Even as Mother Nature troths over, or they perchance tear themselves down, he feels saddened that it has to come to that. Beginnings and endings appear so different, but I wonder if we can’t see the outcome from the first day, if by giving someone the benefit of the doubt, we deliberately blind ourselves of the inevitable. If this is so, we’re taking the long way around, wasting time, failing to avoid the disasters that keep us annoying.

How differently should we speak to one another? Should we fear our honesty? How effective is our politeness? Like forgetting how to write, I also forget what it’s like to have friends close by – physical. I suppose I’m bitter, but have no one to blame. What a relief.

In the books I’m reading, I see an ongoing theme. Fear, hatred, and guilt – prevent us from having solid friendships. They can love us with blue faces, but it won’t matter. We start the ball rolling with these things and the abuse can end it. It’ll wear everything out until it’s too late, until it’s ruined. This man becomes a flooded old room of tears.

The hardest part about writing fiction in this case, is coming up with the actual story, and being able to tell it effectively, skillfully. The original idea, though, was not to worry about any of this, but only to crank out a quota of words each day. Reaching the grand total at the end of the month, then I could check it all out and edit it, if I decided it was worth it. I did not expect to have a good day in any of this. If I have a good day, where I actually like my stuff, and break through in the plot, or one of my characters surprises me, then my expectations are up. Those expectations can be hard to meet the very next day, especially when, everyday, I don’t feel exactly the same. Some days are worse than others.

I am meant to learn the value.

sleepy entry

days have floated down to a
greater calm and I’m
thankful for it

so long to the stress
behind computers

may this town
render something
better in life

I won’t mind
if I have to
change directions

first, second, and third drafts
I’m thinking in terms
of a writer now

afternoon
sleepiness

happy but cold

we will move soon
a few days after that I will
have my new novel finished

and from there
determine what I want
to do with it.

these are good projects
to keep me awake.

partial liberation

Lost my job yesterday. She called me into that make shift office and axed me with as much kindness as she could muster; after all, it was not her doing, but this order was coming from higher up, a moving of the chess pieces, nothing personal, I know this. Of course there is nothing personal in this business. This came as a great relief to me, to be out of there, and to get out before the roads got too worse for me to get home. I slid a few times, but made it. Still in my dreams last night I was shifting around items inside of Quark documents. I had to remind myself that all of that is over. I can sigh a big sigh and look ahead to something else, and hope not to work in such conditions ever again.

what crime is there?

The other morning when I got out of the shower, I began to shake so bad I couldn’t put my clothes on for at least two minutes; I practically went into convulsions, and I thought for a moment I was going to throw up in the sink.

Tonight I get in and the heater down in the basement is kicking it full force and I’m getting some boiling water out of this thing! Nice. I keep upping it. A section of my hip, without a doubt, is going to drop off the side of me. Everything in here will go through an enjoyable, painless process. I up it some more; it’s a little scary, like you’re breaking a law in the middle of the night in someone else’s country, committing the unforgivable. Here is relief from the cold, if just for a few minutes. What crime is there?

I start looking at the animals on the shower curtain – lions, jaguars, monkeys, cougars, elephants, and I’m thanking them in delirium – now it’s their turn to turn up the water just a little bit more. This is an important landmark, a well marked hospital I’ve come stumbling into; I get immediate treatment, and the cost is covered fully by some unknown benevolent force. This is as far as it gets and now I’m fused with mother nature and mother nature is telling me some good stories, and good stories, each of them, contain the best of all things, and all the competition, all of it, is stomped out. I’ve got the pedal to the floor on this thing. I’ve got showers at their best.

When I get out the heat will fall back off of my body like window sheets, panes of ice, trains and glades that hit the bottom and break through.

bottles

bottles pile up
empty
and sit around
for long whiles
old corpses
vessels
water carriers
they become
transformed
washed out
finding goodness
drinking all of it
these glass
containers
I have the right
to it
I bought
them when
I escaped
the womb
when you
weren’t looking
so you see
now
it’s different
and I get
up on higher
chairs
teach you some things
teach you soon
how to
raise your hand
all the vowels
the things you
should fight for
make a fist for defense
pray with hands
like this
contemplate
and resist
you’ve had
enough milk
now drink some water