end of January

In the winter I shave at night, try to get everything done at night. Waking up is not an easy task.

Fearful winter mornings.

Bring your sleeping bag, and something soft to sleep on. This book is too large to hold comfortably in bed leaning back against the wall; it’s size intimidates, makes me want to return it to the library on time next month. As a reader, what kind of courage do I have? Well, how much time do I have? Can’t read everything.

Dryness. So much dryness! Sometimes we crack the windows just to get some cooler, moist air in here. Still, we can hardly complain for being kept so warm through this seasonal war. They want to keep me busy at work. I want to keep busy, too. It’s better that way. The time goes faster and when it’s over, without a doubt I can say I put everything I had into it. Then I have my own time, for what it’s worth these days. Maybe it really is about putting in the hard hours now so that you don’t have to later. I don’t want to have to retire in my 60s. To hell with that. Maybe I’ll find something I can do to make enough so I can retire in the next 10 years, I don’t know.

Next.

Thoughtful. Grateful.

Tired.

Restful. Peaceful. Listening to music in bed. Listening to music in my head.

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provide a service or be damned

A little stressful getting things set up at work, learning the new image setter, exactly what file I can and cannot send to it, the correct configurations – pretty much all on my own in this; at least it seems. Color laser guy moves over to four color film separations to be sent to the Heidelberg press. I call it “growing pains” and watch myself, how the worry sets in. I doubt if all the worrying is worth it, but it’s sometimes hard to tell when the worrying is justified.

Starting a new job is like moving into a new house in a new town. My shyness puts me in a terrible place. I really want to feel comfortable, otherwise I’m all acid on the inside, hating myself, hating away, hating something I’m unaware of, the depression once again falls over, the curtain comes down.

Working along these lines, trying to be aware. You grow into it, you get through it. I don’t want to make any broad sweeping statements. “This is going to get worse before it gets any easier,” they would say. They were the ones that would make it worse. But today, let me focus on myself.

Don’t like someone? Think you might not like them? Why not try your best, work creatively, to get things to fall into place? Try your very best to look through their flaws. And when you can’t, try to secure some space for yourself. Spend some time alone. Try to find peace.

So I’ve been busy. I hope to write more, and read more, but these next few months are going to be intense like a prepress shop in September, but it’s February, and it’s myself I’m up against as the challenges shoot into me like needles. Am I going to snap or play it cool? Am I going to overcome or am I just going to lose it?

*****

“I have to be honest,” he said, “I’m kind of intimidated by you.”
“Why? I’m like… a hundred pounds.”
“Well, it’s more… I mean… Your attitude…”
“Are you saying I have an attitude?”
“Oh no, no. It’s just that… [you could be a little bit nicer]”
“Because if you tell me I have an attitude, I swear… [I’ll kill you]”

*****

Cats here, here at home never having to go out and “earn a living.” That’s why mankind is cursed. Animals are born and they just live and go about their business. In the meantime, we enterprise. We have to go out and create business. Once we get somewhere we’re shooting for a whole lot more than just a living. The greed sets in.

Maybe I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. I can say for sure it is midnight and I have a new day ahead of me. And that this morning, my fourth day on the job, I woke up at 8:24 when I was supposed to be in at 8:00. I got on the phone apologizing like a madman. “I’ll be right in,” I said. And “I’ll make up the time.” I felt like I was cracking up for a bit there.

I also know that some women who don’t even like sex have to go out anyway and sell themselves – just to survive. And we’re so quick to judge as if we don’t sell ourselves every day at our jobs.

*****

On the other end of the spectrum, rich boys are seizing poverty and glorifying poverty. Big is the new small. Admin. privileges. Slum it. Go dumpster diving, if you will. Oh, how charming.

Let me thank you. You’ve taught me a lot so far. Real poverty is poverty of the spirit. Empty your heart out of all the false hope and hope on something real. Cheers to that, they would say. And cling their glasses. Let’s make a toast to poverty of spirit. That’s why I’m so quiet. Why throw to them a good idea just so they can drop it at their feet and walk across it?

today, right now, tonight, tomorrow, and on, right here

this
today
saturday
tonight
night
here
right here
sitting
this
yes
in the
chair
you
over there
yes
I’m
here,
right here
can you
hear me
yes
loud
and
clear
good
then
let us
begin

my word
son
what is
up
with
you
you talk
like
branded
cattle

no no
sorry
this
is
just the
way
I talk
this
here
is
exported
from
dark
factories
today
fast
this
oiled
slickness
first
this
next
the next thing
look
listen
feel what
is happening

okay
fashion yourself
prepare
weather
stabs
your
cartoon
eyes
small
bird pecking
your vision out

today
is
so
over
lost
gone
poof
poor
almost
poverty
past passed
your
hobby is
pottery

we have
more guns
and fear more
check under
this pillow
you will find one
here
just my iPod
kitten tries
to eat
the cord
two pairs
gone to
the graveyard
just like
that

back in the day
we spent money
like we ate
popcorn
now we dig
deep in our
plastic pumpkins
look here
look at this
fifty bucks worth
from the years
end of the day
pocket emptyings
savor life’s memories
create more
say the blunt things
say the gentle
be yourself
honk the horn
sometimes don’t

find a balance
you can’t
be the same
every day
accept of yourself
what profits cannot
promise
what your budget
cannot fix

in the box
the oven
the stove
on the burner
on the table
the milk crate
book shelf
table made
into a desk
the lampshade
cat on her lap
with sharp claws
stretching not
meaning harm
Dostoevsky
before a
mock firing squad
shoes quiet
a maddening
sentence
confinement

may days
be like clear mirrors
reflecting
ugly pretty selves
I know
what I’m
working with

does it
make a
difference
trying now
to make
up
for
consciously
painfully
aware
lost
time
“I
could be
reading
now”

My body is like a UPS sore, but of a happiness like I can’t remember b/c I think it is something new. Not a pipe dream or a hockey game, but today and tonight and tomorrow and the next day into next week until pay day and then the rainy days on to spring, sunshiny days, can you imagine, what God has in store for us with Him or without Him in the picture what is unfolding for us, these so-called terrorist days in the way of real living, breathing days, just what we could be accomplishing with our guns put away? Real work, real relaxation, true realization. Revelation. Revolution. What’s the difference? If it will do any good, I will communicate until I’m blue in the face, till the lot of you show the fruit of it. Save the cereal from the soggies. Can you do it? Save yourself like you put on armor and go off with right and left arms swinging. One limb sent to Boston, the other the sunshine state. I can congratulate. And you, yourself, I ask nothing. Karma tears pocket holes and the coins ping the ground. Do you wanna see this? It’s what happens to you. Best be true. Vegetarianism is not about you. That’s the best part. It’s not about you. It’s not for you. It’s for someone else.

hey
you
stranger
some
one
else
you
mr.
un-
name-
ed
say
why
not
tell
me
your
story

what’s
to say
you
don’t
fancy
talking
I don’t
know
I’ve
just
been
wandering
this
Twilight
Zone
town
with no
people
in it
going
mad
talking
to myself
and
failing
miserably

There’s this girl here I’ve been thinking about mustering up some steam over, if maybe one day, I could say, I could say to her, maybe you’d like to marry me. I mean me. I just said that. I know you’d like to get married, but I mean, me? What the hell do you think? I mean, I’m sorry. I’m a little worked up. I mean, what do you think about that, what do you think? You and me, getting married? I mean, as a marriage, a marriage thing? You think that shit would work out? Oh, I’m sorry – boy, where is my head tonight? Holy Star of David, listen to what I’m saying. I know, I’m talking craziness, missy. Would you listen to that? I can stir up the worst of it, can’t I? Well, in case I ask you some time for real one day, I’d like an honest answer. You don’t have to love me, I could settle for just looking at your face every day. I’m capable of taking in a good bashing to the skull, if you want. If you’ve got aggressions you want to let out, my face can be your open invitation. I can take what you got. Trust me, I can be crazy about you. I got crazy before I even met you, just to get prepared for you. What do you think we marry the first time and do it again, for the hell of it, while the fire falls? It’s all flowers to me, you know that, right?

latest job info

Landed this job today; very excited and in sort of a state of shock. This is usually the case with this sort of thing. Time is going by and soon, because I start early Thursday morning, my vacation will be over. It’ll be good to get into the ambitious mode again. Thanks to everyone so far who has offered their support!

These are lazy days in the chair in front of the television, reading some, but not doing much of anything else. I suppose it’s all okay, for now.

somehow manage the anger

I read through old
notebooks slowly

my hip cries in seven languages.
have I fallen down the stairs
in the middle of the night?

interview today –
the second one
wondering what will
be the outcome
will know by Friday.
butterflies.

the cats sleep
curled up together

I haven’t been
writing much either
which means
I’ve been
shooting myself
in the foot

good to hear from old friends
good to make new ones

it is a good idea to venture
out more, if possible
visit churches and temples
meet nice people
in the area

thought of MLK
throughout the day
Roanoke newscasters
say stupid things like
“What will Roanoke
do to celebrate?”
and it is
already 11 o’clock
I guess they’ll have
to wait till next year.

hum of computer fans
at home we make up
silly songs out of
just being happy I guess
and I’m always trying
to think how I can
simplify meaning
to it makes it there on time

the elec. company threatens
termination so we
may play it by candlelight
for awhile

more projects

Craned over these old notebooks with the sorest neck of the year, remembering the old times. In the next few days, the fruits of this project will appear. I can definitely see how I’ve progressed as a writer, if I wish to be deemed as one. She said to me, “I’m glad you’re not going to those poetry readings any more – they sound like such assholes.”

Such sloppy writing! Sooner or later I’m going to stumble across something I actually like, then I’ll begin with the first entry. “Hey, check out 1992! I was such a young man trying to do what was right, confused over the young ladies, but still trying to read the sacred books and be involved in japaism.”

it’s been awhile since I’ve had green tea; it’s amazing

Time slips by. Now these projects will have to be pushed ahead, piecing together old writings and making them available again. As explained, now that I have more free time, I must assign myself some new hobbies and . . . produce. That’s the best word I can think of. Produce new material, and pull forward from the archives.

All this and late night tea.
Pray for more rest and thank each set of heavens for the ability to – lean forward. To sleep, to sleep at all. To wake up, clear the throat, and as someone said, “Debed and prepare for battle.” Make ready all the small bodily movements. And if you cannot move, think with your mind so storms come up the coast and make themselves known. Love so that objects about the room lose hold of the surface and float in front of eyes. You’ll be seen as a ghost. Lives will change.

I am guilty of not knowing, therefore not loving, the land.

What is mysticism? We’re guilty of despising, not making most of our present, running from it to the future, bragging about, hiding from, the past. Buddha bless this asthmatic breath and tonight’s green tea (no caffeine).

Each thing, I guess I can say it, can be mystical in your eye, if you want it to be. Our automatic responses can be slowed down, everything can be slowed down.

Are we out of our minds? Are we out of our souls? Which do we even possess? God either pulls on me, calls me, or my inadequacies have me running 70 year errands.

actions and thoughts
spill out into
the air
birth new dreams

what I read
shapes me
even if I
can’t see
it happening

water boils
mouth with
winter sores
tenderness

peeling the layers

I’ve been so sick, and angry from being constantly sick, sick has kept me from doing much of anything. Sunlight paints a steadiness onto my face. The lungs picket out in front of the White House for more air. More air doesn’t come. What, as citizens, are they supposed to think of their vast country now? Stragglers straggling. Up late, back up early – sleep a few hours at a time as nature will allow. Nature is becoming like the government to me.

What is on TV? I do not wish to peer inside right now. “Deep down he’s a really good guy, despite his making everything so difficult for himself.”

Wishes are worth believing, but bread is real, too.

Back in reality, they want for you to put more ammunition in your gun. They’ll bring a full draft back, but I’ve already crossed the line and regardless, my breath span at this point is terrible. The news is terrible. The news always makes it here. A cop a state down from me pulls over a family on the road and shoots their dog. Such stories challenge my humanity and make me want to pull aside a man like that and with these hands rip him apart an irreversible disassembly. But here are my torn up moments, like I said, one state north, where I can watch the seldom car crashes, the cops we assume in this state, wouldn’t do such a thing.

Land your helicopter in jail.

A small man considers. Considers titles. Considers what the sun is so bright on his face, young growing old with exposed lines on his face the unfair map of time tugging strings against life. In the dream, the two couples had caused each other hardships in the apartment building and the one moved out, somehow forcing the other into the old, battered up space under the ground. An entire wall was crumbled down and exposed the earth. Sleeping there the new tenants would sleep a half sleep just to keep surveillance of whatever might crawl out of that wall in the dead hours. A pleading like a pleading stomach, a kneading of the dough. I don’t know how their science goes. This is best yet of the worst days to trudge through. Sharpen these mental knives, the spirit for a prayerful, humble attitude. Knock these message board kids off their smartest platforms.

History takes its sweet time coming full circle but I have patiently awaited for the good news to roll around, too – if you want to call it that. The mean spirited and cold hearted constantly dug away at their own foundations over the years until the news came back that those who fired me were turned out with their own luggage, turned up like turtles on their backs. You think partnership is something else, don’t you? A sledgehammer comes down heavy upon the diary locket. This is what I have to give to you, for all who might listen, so take heart. The justice you yearn for is well worth it, and it may come without your hand in it. That’s the humble part of just watching, just hearing. Yes, the world news goes up and down while you are once more packing up your belongings and hauling off to the next place. The world doesn’t seem to revolve even for one single person, except maybe only for God who is invisible to the ravaged eye.

Our violence upon each other in just small sentences, or the lack of them – how could we think it’s so subtle? How is that we overlook each other’s feelings? People begin to read well into the underlying intentions. Why are they there in the first place?

This man protects his daughter by turning the boys away with threats and folded bills. She, all the while, sits at the vanity and preps herself for the night. He never showed up, her father tells her. He bides his time. A slow coming wake up call. Dust rises from the floor, the small things. Germs, the right germs, can kill a strong man. They told me that in temples. That’s the reality, you can’t fight gravity.

troubles

Bust my neck up on the wall, my hands up all against it. What can you notice? He hides himself indoors with the boxes, inside with his television, off to the side of his books, seeming to call out to him and his soreness. The objects absorb the sadness like a sponge, he wonders if it’s right of him to burden anyone else with his troubles. If it would be right of him to burden God with them. Where should he put those troubles? What’s the solution? Some say suicide would put an end to all of it. Others say there isn’t one, perhaps that you just solve just a few at a time at best, and learn to live with the rest. I think I agree with that.

Things are to a point where when I say “God” my lips feel foreign. I suppose I have become that distant.

both storms

the food falls
onto my shirt
it’s official –
I’m ill
for the long haul
and the animals
look at me
strange
with round
glass eyes
all beautiful

let’s see what
I can come up
with while
the storm
rages up the
trashcans outside
the windows

I look at it that
sleep is
split
right down the middle
there seems nothing
I can do about it now
why not listen to
some music
and complain
a little less?

notes

What concerns me is that my health has diminished over the years; it only seems to be getting worse, despite my best efforts. Probably my efforts are not the best, because I seem to be missing something, and I’m cursing under my breath for it. Too many nights I find myself waking up fully congested full of phlegm hacking and coughing, nose running constantly. How is a person to get through such a thing? It’s hell on earth, to me. Endless skyscrapers of torment.

I have to admit that I have genuine anger, the kind that will not go away if I choose to ignore it in the name of being peaceful. The price to have it removed I doubt I can pay, nor do I know what currency is acceptable.

time to
get up and
pace

I’m sorry
cannot
give more

at least
my thoughts
are there

sick like this
I feel like
punching myself
in the chest
until I’m dead

it always has me
thinking
just how close
am I?
how close to death?

early saturday morning

The girl behind the counter carried on a full conversation with what appeared to be her friend and carried out her quarter-hearted transaction with me. Doughnuts remain an occasional indulgence. Breakfast to pacify any trace of grumbling.

Incredibly bright sunlight spikes in as I write this. Pretty amazing how it works like that, as if a hand flipped the switch. I cannot think to get up and turn the blinds on it – seems somehow rude. The bill of my baseball hat pulled down somewhat protects these precious eyes of mine. Nature and I, for now, choose to co-exist.

A nap around 8 PM and I’m out for about 7 hours.

Felt my tooth loose in a dream and pulled it out fairly easily to the delight of the classroom. Does this look bad, I asked them, pulling down my bottom lip? There was a gap open in the middle. Damn! We were all laughing. It looks bad, doesn’t it? Everyone was glad not to be me. You’re gonna have to get that replaced, said a friend. It doesn’t cost much. I caught a reflection, but there wasn’t a gap. More closely I looked and pushed my finger back on that tooth and it flopped through, revealing all that was left was the skin of the tooth, a paperish flap that stood back up straight with the other teeth if I didn’t interfere. For a second I thought, well this is good enough, but realized I needed something more substantial.

It’s great to wake up and feel strong teeth in your mouth, firmly rooted.

this belongs to no one

Dim late night lighting with creeping hunger that rumbles and claws at the throat, reddens the eyes, draws a tired water from them. Move along while sitting still. Get out of your own head for a few pages at least. The time was dedicated fumbling for lost keys to the point of exhaustion, and at that point, not a second sooner, they fell out of the sky into his open palm. Providence will always have its way. God is both male and female. I’m hardly any of it.

A cinder is food for some; you should see it! Spectacles improve upon impaired vision and give hope to the weakened lungs. Brace for impact, breach in the hull, prepare for a very real war. Good honest hard working human beings hide behind blind nationalism and become eaten by cicadas. Learn your value then, of yourself, before what’s worse happens to you, they simple you down to below your worth and size, and put stripes on you and a jingle in your head.

They admit that compact discs are not so eternal after all – the sun or the cold can make them feebly unusable like used up vinyl and twisted, pulled out tape. On TV they told him, we know you did it, and your DNA will show up under her nails, so don’t leave town. We’ll be back for you. Panicked young man with a blown cover now bidding his time in the most scrambled mess he can think to wreck up to the delight of the housemates. Running to freedom in a zigzag.

Many small things were left behind for us and to our benefit – cleaning supplies, tools, and cereal in the cabinet. Don’t feel so bad, she said, an unemployment check is merely an act of you collecting back some of your own money you earned a while back. The irony, all be it, is that you could work six months and be laid off and collect the same amount as the next guy being laid off after ten years. I advanced like a man rich with time, cashed those figures, and continued to unpack.

man you contemplate
stabbing at snakes
like it’s a good idea
dig a fine grave
for yourself
early on
they’ll pull your
teeth before
they’re licensed

I can’t believe
watching what I
see having come here
these people falling
out of the building
that day
like out of a plane
my own tears
would drop
some sorrow for
them and their
terror before it
would be construed
terror-ism
put a cap on it
by flattening
the whole thing
city in dusty
holocaust
night falls and
newscasters have
their triumph

how can we
ruin things more
by remembering
them wrong?

our jocks and
dumb downs would
grow up in
larger and
more embarrassing
numbers
and frighten
yet more
trodden minorities
out of this
soon to be
police state

not enough tissue paper
to blow your nose in
blow it in the wind then
you’re speaking for
a whole community
of personalities
within your very self
diversity of character

poised to snap shots
of the beloved bookshelf
wishing he was really
as smart as the
photo projected
a 19th century sitting
by candle light
reading for the first time
Notes from Underground
by Dostoevsky
and the sky
would open up red
and clarify butter
why not become
a better reader if
it’s in
your power?

It’s not only in what you retain, but what you create, and if without bombastic ego, you can let it flow through you and not attach yourself, the spec of yourself from outer space so over concerned with all the issues and if you amount up or down or what. If you can let go of children’s building blocks, let them fall – will the suffering resound as terrible as these past years?

a body’s stillness

not much difference looking on
someone sleeping and someone
lying there dead in the box
with their arms folded stiff a certain way
hands crossed over the chest and dressed
formally for the
family’s last view

but what is this,
a breath coming,
a rising, falling chest?
what is going on
within that coma?
a dream?

eyes fluttering each
frame

the body can lay
so incredibly still

a
melancholy stare
into space

stillness may not
get you on TV
but who said
TV was
all that beautiful?