The Numbers

The numbers are changing. And as they are changing we are aging. Sometimes we are scared by this. A significant date, such as a birthday, or New Year’s, comes along, and it scares us. We’re afraid of getting old. And others are celebrating. Happy Birthday! Happy New Year’s! Either they have pushed the getting old thing out of their minds, it’s just not an issue for them yet, or better, they just don’t care. They’re okay with it. My celebrating: I suppose I’m somewhere in the middle—not the kind to get drunk. The guy with the watchful eye. It is not a queer eye or a straight eye, but a watchful eye. The elation takes me by surprise. I’m not the type to make plans to celebrate, even for something like this. Celebration sweeps through unexpected at any given time in my life, really. My celebration is of a hermit’s, one of a meditator’s—at least right now. I’m not condemning other types, but that’s mine. So don’t feel threatened like I’m forcing a fruititarian diet on your conscience. I’m just sayin’.

The apartment is quiet without my wife here—she would, after all, have the TV playing a lot, and I just don’t do that—and the cats are done playing and are now sitting quietly with their eyes closed. They can curl up and get comfortable so easy. Later, I’ll hang out with a friend and do this and that, here and there, etc. The weather is fantastic for our last day of the year: 62º F. Amazing.

Around Five I walked out the door and decided to go into downtown, a twenty minute walk, just taking in the sights of this quiet city. Most of the shops were closed, and others were closed but getting ready to open for the evening and bring in party-goers from off the street. At the coffee shop I ran into a friend of mine, John, who is one of the nicest and most intelligent guys around these parts. He dropped me off back at the house on the way back. We spoke of opinions and how they can be bendable. Especially at a young age, you don’t want to form in your head all these absolutes. I did that when I was around 16 and on up, egotistically claiming I was on the path of the Absolute Truth. And I feel silly now, at 31, for thinking like that. John said, by 23, he has basically questioned himself out of existence.

So within a few more hours our 2004 will change into something else. That is a big deal to the mind that has been stamping 2004 on everything such a long period of time. This is our new millennium, a new age, new dawn, all of that. A new war. I think many of us were cynical enough about the powers that be to know that this sort of thing was coming. War is profitable for them—so they do it, and many of us buy it. America is unique in that way. On top of that, something like a Tsunami hits. As if War is not enough. It’s almost like a meteor hit the Earth. When you consider something like that, a Roanoke in its stillness is sometimes not such a bad place to be in. It’s a wealth to be alive at times. And as I’ve come to find, a wealth to be able to breathe, to not be short of breath. On top of that we have financial problems, relationship problems, addictions, and so on.

We are superheros for getting through all this shit. Good for us!

. . .

Earlier in the week
Concentration comes into major play here as I write this from a coffee shop table next to two chattering men. Hard to hear myself think. The men are homeless, eating chocolate, and arguing over the Bible. They are geared up to face the intense cold—boots, Carhartt overalls. Christ, Christ rising up from the grave. Man, man is limited. And so on.

I am concentrating a lot lately on Buddhist psychology and my own need to see what is really there. I see this as the path of facing everything in the world and in yourself.

I knew a Harley Davidson girl that used to work up at the Plasma Center with hellacious headlights. You’ll know her if you see her. Ain’t no missin’. She be all but 5’6, not very tall, but she’ll make Dolly Parton look like a school girl, I tell ya’.

Anyway, these notes go on as the sun starts thinking about setting this late afternoon. It sees me down here, and I can see it up there—we acknowledge each other and do what we have to do. My grandmother said yesterday at Christmas, “You remember the good times, but try not to dwell on the bad.” And I think in the zen notepad of my mind, “Why can’t we face it all?” Then I think, “It is the neutral that we find the most terrifying, the boring moment, the bland.” Of course she cannot hear what I am thinking. I don’t even display it in my glare. At 92, there’s not much you can say to her without her needing you to repeat it again. Even when she was “young” I could not say an utter word against all her set-in-stone opinions and impressions.

My paragraphs get a good view from here and tell you, the reader, the hawk, the kid listening to Godflesh albums… the street is mostly empty as people are hidden away trying to get in as many hours as possible at their jobs. The wind is blowing the flags. My attention flits about like a little bird from wire to wire. This annoys and relaxes a reader somewhere. Sometime today someone hits Random and their eyes stumble upon this entry. I bow to you, randomhead. You’ve caught me random-minded, too. It’s because people are so talkative today. It’s mentally windy inside this room. I face away from them, but the sound bounces around.

Jack Kornfield, a meditation teacher, emphasizes the need of balancing deep inner searching with the ability to relate with others outside yourself. That’s the best I can express it at the moment, but it sounds beautiful how he puts it. I had his talk on the headphones as I was eating Indian food at lunch.

okay okay
a new “poem”
from the burning
funeral pyre hill
the death is
your blazing
blazing
blazing
past
gone
gone in
is your
last
moment
encased
inside
all
your belongings
you
leave
everything
behind

all around you
metaphors
tests of
patience
students
become
teachers
overnight
trying to sound deep
before
turning twenty-one
the needy
hovering over
newspapers

I’ve been practicing writing short stories and have come some distance, in my own estimation. I can now sit down and write out a story at gun point, or at least a few jokes, and read them before an audience. These are weird, quirky times filled with a lot of muck coming up that I discover in quiet bouts of meditation in the chair. Face it. Face it or be sorry later. I suffer in all kinds of problems now because of what I’ve suppressed down in me already. And I’m free in all kinds of ways now for all the things I have faced.

Mine is a very choppy remembrance of a Buddhist monk who refused to bow to a prince… In this sort of song-writing capacity, I think of him, that he was staring down this prince. He said nothing, but kept thinking: “I am wiser. Who the hell is this guy? Why should I bow to him?” Once the young prince began to feel this, he was humbled and bowed down before the monk. Thus by the power of his thoughts, the underdog became the victor. I’ll have to go back and listen again. And write it again.

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rice and dal…

ki,

can you email me or put it down here, the recipe for making rice and dal, along with the type of dal to buy at that small asian store up on williamson road that we go to?

what type of rice to buy, also. and where?

note

ki,

I can’t wait for you to come back and put the fear of god into these cats! goddamn has rudra fucking irked my last nerve this morning with the knocking of shit down. so now I am up, cranky as a motherfucker, writing you this fiery note. and when he doesn’t get his way, he shits on the bathroom floor. it’s all about food and the outdoors. if he’s jonesing for either one, he misbehaves.

anyway, all for now.

dreams

So I had
a nice soothing
dream where
I was lying on
the beach
looking out
at the ocean

in the next moment
I look up
and am
about to be
engulfed
in a tidal wave

it was the most
horrific sight

a wave 300-400 feet
up there in the sky
ready to drop
down on me

I fell onto my back
and waited

. . .

In another, I developed my telekinesis. I was with a family and my brothers and sisters, being that they could do it too, really helped me. My little brother kept offering me advice, that you start with things made of metal, then move on to others. How fantastic it felt making a metal pipe float around the front yard in circles, like I was throwing a boomerang.

. . .

Tomorrow the next issue of Astonishing X-Men comes out.

notes on asthma

miss my medicine
find I
miss my breath
missing my
breath has
me waking
up in
the night’s
very middle
to
which I
retrieve a
red
pen
in anger
and
mark the
void
my own

while
many
others are
sleeping
I present
to you
my icy
wheeze
and
low temperature
cough

today
I forgot
to take
my meds
(missed)

this morning
these
lungs are
reminding me

asthma,
dear scourge
of my being
please…
back-the-fuck-up-a-bit
why don’t you?

short letter

Ki,

Just a short little letter to you, sitting here in the coffee shop. I was so incredibly happy to hear from you the other day on the phone.

As I was telling you, I had an appointment setup to see an acupuncturist in Grandin. Later I went and it was awesome. We talked for the first hour about all of my physical problems in this lifetime. It was great. She was very thorough. The spots on my hands that crop up from time to time, turn out to be lung related. As I suspected, my lungs are basically the source of most of my problems. And she says, so is orange juice. Damn. She says OJ is causing a lot of mucus in my system. So I gave the rest away to Mario which he received graciously.

Anyway, to make a long story short, it was very cool, and the fam is paying for all of it.

I sent a card to my dad for his b-day and xmas, saying I’m still out of work and I’m sorry that I can’t swing presents this year. He wrote me an email back saying it was cool, and besides, they gave up Xmas 2-3 years ago anyway. So it looks like no presents from them. Very cheap, you know, for people who can afford it and most definitely DO celebrate Xmas and just aren’t saying so. Yeah, disgusting when I think about it.

Somehow I’m mostly able to concentrate on what I’m doing down here at the coffee shop even with all these assholes looming all around. I suppose that’s a good thing. My tolerance is strengthened.

Well, write or call or do whatever you can to get back in touch with me and say hello. I love you.

ki+ki=small, small (hot wife)

Ki,

I will have to check into that about Rudra.

Yes, yes! Please do fly from NY to Roanoke, like you did before. That would simply things mucho.

I’ve actually been thinking about the whole silk screening thing. Funny that you have, too. I already have some resources, how-tos on it. Just a matter of digging deeper.

Talk to you soon. Cannot wait for you to sit firmly in my lap. 😉

P.S. I found your phone!

letter from a calm shouting man

Ki,

Thanks for your note, small small. Any personalized engraving from you helps me through my day that much more.

In the beginning I was sorta writing to you every day, and ravenously at that. After awhile I figured I couldn’t keep it up, and also it probably wasn’t going to help me mentally cope with your absence here. So it was best, I determined, to sort of “cut it out.”

Besides, after awhile, there’s not much to report. For example, as you wrote to me in this note about Rudra, he did in fact leave the dump to end all dumps flat out in the center of the bathroom floor. Why-o-why? Reporting “Rudra dropped another load today” is not really the kind of news I wanna send out daily.

Things form sort of as routines. I say “sort of” because it’s much different now that I’m out of work. New interests come to light, I feel somewhat lighter, kind of a new person, a healthier person, perhaps a better writer, books are getting read, and I’m starting to develop some good cleaning habits. But it all really pales in comparison with Spain and your big adventures. I feel like shit talking to you about anything related to home or Roanoke “night life.”

I went and got a free handout for my meds on Friday. It took forever, very similar to a Bradley Free Clinic type deal. It’s like they purposely try to make you feel like shit for being there. The woman started out by screaming at us in the lobby: “please put back my pens!” Yet, I managed to be nice to her, and she helped me out. But this is a one time thing. Next month I will have to go back to paying for these meds full price. They currently go for $107 for 30 pills. Fucking outrageous. Otherwise, I’ll have to figure out an alternative path. Both Pharmacists and Doctors concur that Singulair is really the best shit out there and nothing compares. Oh, and our VCR died last night. I’ll have to try and figure something out.

My mom recently took my grandmother to an acupuncturist in Grandin. I can’t fucking believe that, but it’s true. My grandmother has been ranting and raving about it and said that she’ll pay for me to go. I’ll soon set up an appointment for my hip and asthma condition (don’t know if acu can treat asthma…). But ultimately I need dental work in the worst way. Fucking capitalists.

Did you transfer those funds from your parents over to the credit card or something? They seemed to slip away quite fast. I super hope that amount takes care of everything as far as your travels go abroard and from NY to DC. As I said, we 99.9% have a secure spot with Derek up in the hood, at his new spot. John Perry may be a traveling partner, but I don’t know if I can arrange for him to stay at Derek’s or not.

Derek here in Roanoke is my new-ish friend, originally from the Hardcore scene. He is vegan and used to live in Richmond for a bit. His girlfriend is semi-friends with Chris Jordan. 🙂

Okay, bye for now. I love and miss you in many ways….

Alive and, well…

Hello World. Hello to all my fans, as Little Meow Meow would say (a fictional character on a poster I once created—see my Flickr photos). Hello to everyone. The stream of incense is on strong in the room with lights down low and I thought I’d reconnect with ya’ll once more. God only knows how much more is possible. By Tuesday, for example, I could be a dead man. And dead men don’t have Live Journal connections that I’m aware of. So a live journaler transmits another broadcast.

And that is to say, things are semi-well in the current moment. Beautiful Billy Holiday tunes in the background, both cats asleep, some books, some thoughts, ideas. You know, Fridays and Saturdays are for people going out and staying out. I go out and am somehow reeled back in, and it’s quiet once I get back. Quite quiet.

My inner motivational speaker wants to tell me to make use of all moments. Another thing, switch up your pace. Don’t always go at 90 mph. Sometimes you have to slow way down, slow down to the point where it appears you’re not moving at all. Take time to go within, he says. When you feel like throwing a knife at someone, turn it back around on yourself. Rip into yourself before you rip into them. This means, analyze your intentions, analyze the potential of your actions and retract them at times. You know how they say, “He wears his heart on his sleeve”? Don’t be that guy. You don’t have to rip all your guts out, rip out all your anger, put it all on your outsides and run around into people, force them to deal with it.

Wow, your motivational speaker is kinda insane.

Yeah, he’s a real hack. That’s what’s so good about him. He lives in a cave.

Hello out there to anyone picking up this signal.

we need
pushing along
inspiration
at times
we need
to spend
time alone
we need to
clean our areas up
create sanctuaries
become
autonomous
learn like
crazy
love one another

fly up
over the house
and perch
on the
telephone wires

When I was downtown, it was crowded and busy. By the time I got to the stage, it was too late to sign up to read poetry. Better to go home and rest up there. I had parked all the way back at the library. Walking through the park a little bit nervous in the dark like that, but all these trees were lit up along the path, and I made it to the car safe. I’ve learned that no matter what city you’re in, even small towns, you do not underestimate night. Day is hard enough, but night, trouble tends to come out at night.

Noting the reactionary: I believe, as the reactionary is one of revolt, protest, etc., there should be other times when he (or she) must be at peace with living in quiet moments, too. He should be—I dare say—spiritual, self actualized, in tune with several different realities (not living in a bubble). Downtown, I see all sorts of kids. Many of them are full of energy, misplaced energy. In my thoughts I’m telling them to gear up, spot your target, and fire away. If only when I was a young vandal I chose more worthy targets, I’d be a better man today. But they spend their time all drunk, pummeling each other, jumping in front of cars.

Had dinner the other night with my new friends Derek and Dana. Dana, it turns out, knows my old friend from Woodbridge, Chris Jordan. Funny how all that works out. Chris is a cool kid, and I miss him. Dinner would have went well if it weren’t for that pesky giant Portabello mushroom lying within my vegeburger. Still, it was fun. They’re some of the most sane people I’ve talked with in quite awhile.

Billy Holiday
singing
through rain or shine
and
Strange Fruit
bodies burnin’…

I wonder if there are effects to chanting whatever word. You choose your own mantra and take off with it. The beautiful thing I find is, I like to pace back and forth through the rooms on a quiet afternoon, repeating the mantra lightly to myself, pushing it out just a bit into the apartment, somehow feeling pious, studious, from the action. Is this needed? Removed from KC itself, I still feel the need to express this form of yoga for some reason. A friend wrote to me that I was a devotee of life. I really appreciated his insights. It wasn’t coming from this dogmatic tape recording or recruitment type of mentality.

Once when I left the temple, a devotee called me at home and said, “I was wondering if we could work up some kind of schedule for you, you know, so you can start coming back and serving more gradually.” I was turned off by the idea and wanted to be left alone. No thank you, I think I said. I’m comfortable. “Oh, you’re comfortable. You’re comfortable…” That was considered a big offense, presumably.

Yes, I’m comfortable.

Today I went to the homeless shelter where they’re also offering to help low income folk like myself with their pricey prescriptions. This woman came out and introduced herself to us in the waiting room. “Oh, and if you have any cell phones, you better hide them. If I even see that you have a cell phone, I’m instructed to have you leave. It’s considered a luxury.” Well, goddamn. One lady got up, walked out. I thought she was fed up, but she came back. Probably just chucked her cell inside her car. Are cars considered luxuries?

“I came on foot,” I should’ve said. “And it’s a bad foot, at that. I’m not even here about my foot, though. It’s my lungs, you see, they’re fucked up. Oh, um, pardon my language. Happy holidays and what not. Is that better?”

we make
it through
the years on
good advice
food and
shelter
the welfare
of others
sound
judgment
music
love
and
luck

I’m chugging along, chanting in patterns, creating my own patterns, heeding some advice here and there, interjecting my little entries, blog specks. It’s all I know to do, for now.