Fine, Great – a short short story by Albert Jones

“(moneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneynmoneymoneymoneymoneymoney) Fine, great, thanks for asking. How are you?”

Published in: on March 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Creatures

Creatures

The snow fell in little snow cones, fluffy ones unlike any he had ever seen. They were the pancakes of holey snowflakes, the kind that you saw in memories. They layered themselves upon the earth along with rain water until they took hold and began to pile up and before he knew it the ground was white and he realized he might have to dig his car out again, another thing, just one more on his way to total financial destitution.

It didn’t matter. Just one more thing. The world was swirling up white, high and so wildly above him that there had to be some other way to think of the world than in terms of his own inevitable failure in some way that will send him off the playing field of life, and soon probably, with his head hung in shame. Boredom was the main thing he would have to continue to hold at bay, the very boredom of things that did not exist, but caused him boredom because he wished that they did: baseball games, women, restaurants, movies, bars and the ability to buy a beer inside of them. He spent five dollars the night before on a burrito because he received an extra day’s work at the shop and he figured that if you work twelve hours straight that you should be allowed a burrito now and then. Didn’t quite seem fair that you worked your life away and were not allowed to buy a burrito, which he knew was basically the way that things were.

He was stealing from himself as he ever marched in chase of that ever in front of him ten dollars per hour. He was mostly a loser in the hunt. At times he had made eleven or twelve. Once he made fourteen, but when he thought about it he was mostly under that ten dollar mark. He was one of the ever unworthy and so he would always be. He knew it now after receiving a notice in the mail by his new medicaid provided doctor that warned him that besides high blood pressure he also had high cholesterol and high blood sugar. And to think he did it all for Jesus. Hardly seemed fair.

But he didn’t really mind anymore. It didn’t really matter. Sometimes he thought it didn’t matter because he himself no longer mattered and he had to accept that just so that he could believe that the little things didn’t really matter. All of the tricks of the mind over the years had become convoluted until he could look in the mirror and see someone who even he didn’t quite believe was very worthwhile to be around. Fat, old. At least he wasn’t strikingly ugly. No friends. The only thing that he had going for him was that he could afford his room and that hs car continued to work even though he now had to climb out of the passenger side window to get out since the passenger door finally broke, the last of his doors to succumb, until he was left without a single working door. Such was life. Oh well. he could climb out of the window. He looked at his calendar and counted down the time when he might be able afford to have someone look at it. One week, two weeks. Two weeks. He would have to climb out of the window for two weeks. A forty nine year old man. Oh well. It didn’t matter.

He had a feeling though that some things did matter but he didn’t know how to put a finger on it. All that mattered had something to do with others who had others. If you had nobody, absolutely nobody then nothing could ever really matter, not really, and you’ve got to think that things matter to change your situation, but you can only to do that, well…it is a cycle, mattering not mattering. It gets confusing after awhile as to what is needed to change and soon only the image in the mirror is important, the memory of it, the way that you saw yourself as fat, but slightly handsome, but fat, fatter than you actually saw yourself, you knew, or were coming to know.

He was starting to realize that he was a fat man. He had always considered himself thin, had one of those strange minds that could look into a mirror and see a thin, svelt, young buck when in fact it was the total opposite. This mask was being pulled from his eyes though and he was beginning to see himself the way that other people saw him. In this way he could understand why he had no friends. He wouldn’t want to be his friend either. Too old, ugly, fat, well, not ugly, just fat and tall and old and nothing. Nothing left really to consider viable. A ten dollar par hour forty nine year old man who climbs out of his car window wherever he goes.

He places himself out head first, bends himself at the waist and pushes out and places his hands on the ground. his feet hook on the top of the door itself and he pushes. He was pleased to know that he would not have to roll whenever he got out, that he could just put his hands on the ground and then put his feet through the window and then get out with only his hands and feet ever touching the world. Not too bad. He could do his two to three weeks. Oh well.

Outside, it was a saturday night. He had 84 dollars in the bank and in two weeks he would have to pay rent of 550. He would get paid before then and he would be able to do it. He was glad of this. He also got financial assistance, food stamps, and they saved his life. He would otherwise have to move back to the family property where he destroyed his life for Jesus and he couldn’t do that. Being in exile in a strange new eastern land of Boston was much better. He had found a copy of the New Yorker and read three quarters of an article of an artist who sold toilets for $100,000 and helped fix up the ghetto. The artist admitted that he was a hustler and he seethed when he read that because he himself was a Christian and wanted to fix up the ghetto and always thought that hustlers were what caused the ghetto to be horrible in the first place, but that he should have used that mentality to get what he wanted done.

Just the idea of being slick in order to achieve something irked him. Maybe its Robin Hood-like, but its anti- who he was. He didn’t want to be mean to save the world. he wanted to do it by being simple and simply good. Didn’t work. Everybody hated him in the end. He remembered reading a passage in a novel about a boy who was so good that a Mennonite principal fantasized about putting a meat hook through the child’s eye and dragging him through the city. This is what happens to the good. People want you gone. They can’t stand the good, the nice, the thing that Jesus wanted everybody to be.

He sat and thought about the fact that Jesus wanted him dead and was doing it by making him suffer. That was the jist of christianity. Turn the other cheek. Always be good until everybody slaps you down until you are dead. You are only a successful Christian if you have a rock for your pillow and rocks for pillows is pretty much what he got. They took him apart eventually, the property, made him remove every stick of lumber on the grounds. Sometimes he thought he had started a church, but his idea of Jesus was not like that. His idea of Jesus was one of invisibility. Jesus was spirit and spirit was good and good could change lives and putting a name on spirit and goodness in the world was wrong because some people had different cultures. All cultures should be celebrated, all respected. Even the idea that there is no good should be acknowledged and illustrated through the growth of ideas that he helped to foster at his establishment. Love was more powerful than any ideology and should not be afraid to stand up against all comers. Love can handle everything.

But the reality was that the goody goody thing made people hate him. They couldn’t stand him until his partner destroyed him and took everything away which sent him into a tailspin and he had to move away to escape sheer depression and knowledge of hopelessness. He was tired as he sat there and looked out at the pancake snowflakes falling in front of his window, tired of thinking about it, wondered when this failure thing would end, when he would just fail once and for all now that he had nothing left to give to anybody, had nobody to give the rewards to and had changed everything about himself in a land that didn’t belong to him and didn’t care about him and never would. Oh well. It didn’t really matter.

He waited for the subject to die out in his head. The perpetual crying over spilt milk. Years gone by, fifteen, done, failures everywhere and still chasing that ten dollars and failing miserably. No change. No change ever. Other people changed, grew, made money, but he didn’t. All things stayed the same on that front. Nothing ever changed. He was as he was when he was sixteen years old working at Taco Bell, back when they fried the tacos on the premises. His legs had gone out from working at a standing job too long in the summer and he had that against him too. There was no more upward projection of his hopes and dreams, only a rumination on the ever moving downward crawl. And it was a crawl. It wasn’t even a spiral. it was the slow crawl down the backside of the mountain. Just down. End of story. Oh well. He would be dead soon.

This thought frightened him. When he read about his blood sugar he feared the worst and couldnt think of it. He liked to eat fat and sugar, basically, and stayed away from vegetables and he figured that he would eventually have to pay for this, but the poor eat this type of food to fill holes in their souls as well as their bellies. It was okay. He could start exercising and eat better if he wanted to, but he would just have to find the will, which was the hardest thing to find. The will was never there anymore. There was no will to do anything at all, but he did everything he needed to do, but why? There was no reason to know why. He didn’t care anymore about any of it. He openly admitted that everything he did, everything he aspired to was for the dollar. Was open about it to himself and he knew because of it that nothing truly mattered. He would exchange one dream for another if he could just have enough money to live without worry. He was tired of the whole game. He would never be considered special no matter what he chose to do. Any success he had wouldn’t matter, not really. He just wanted money now. Screw the fame. He didn’t need it because he knew he would never get it. Oh well.

Then one day an alien came down and took him away. He looked up and the sky was black but he was moving forward in it. Beside him was a strange beast, naked unlike anything he had ever seen before, and it was sitting in front of a console of lights like on a tv spaceship. He was inside of a ufo he knew and he didn’t really care about the fact that he might die because at least he wouldn’t have to worry about the mundane reality of chasing after ten dollars per hour anymore. The alien talked to him in a strange voice but he could tell it was english. The alien spoke english.

You are an alien species to my planet and you are going home with me. do you understand? it said.
Yes, I said….I had become the alien.
You were taken away from your world because you are a standard specimen. You are the only one taken and you will be tested upon although you will not be harmed. Do you understand?
Yes. I think so.
He thought about the idea of the tests and spoke up.
What kind of tests?
Mental tests, physical tests. you will not be bisected. You will be allowed to live and eventually we will assimilate you into our society.
Society?
We have a thriving society. My planet is outside of the range of your universe, but our atmospheres are similar, oxygen. You will need a breathing tube for awhile until we can alter your blood properly and then you will be fine.
He went silent. The universe wizzed by and he saw planets off to his right and left, or they were moons or, well, he admitted, he didn’t know what they were. The sky was mostly just black with stars around just like you could see on a clear night on earth. The beast did not speak after that but then he spoke up.
What is your planet like?
Oh, we have various things to do. We have water. Our architecture is different. We have the elements, four seasons, actually, two suns. Like I said we’re pretty advanced in a lot of ways. We have been around about four million years longer than you technologically so we’ve learned quite a bit.
Are you and us the only species?
Oh no. There are millions of inhabited planets around the multiverses. Weve been to many of them, like I said we are very advanced. We can learn languages quite easily, an average one of us knows millions of languages so you will have no problem talking to any of us on the planet.
So you are probably pretty advanced morally too, I mean, you don’t eat people like me or anything, right?
Oh no. weve learned how to gather our sustenance in proper fashion. None of us are hungry as you would say.
Do you work?
Oh no, nobody works as you understand it, but we stay busy experiencing new things. This is just one of the things that I do because I want to. We can all go to other planets and I grew fond of earth long ago as a young being. I would watch the planet and its inhabitants and was fascinated with the way things are. There are many fans of earth and its people, but it is an acquired taste really. There are many more fascinating planets, but few have creatures that are as complex, how do you say, emotionally as earth creatures.

We think a lot.
Yes you do. I was always intrigued by that notion, a creature that thinks and feels deeply. I always compared that to us where we think and we feel, but we do not pine, and we do not do as you do, lament while still functioning in your society. To me it was always like hearing a somber tune and it registered to me as quite beautiful. Earth music, classical works, are some of the most treasured items to all of us. The earth is well known for its musical interludes and for this alone you will be popular. There are a few of you there, but not many. We don’t like to upset the system, but we were watching you and you were on a downward spiral and we knew that you would not mind, and besides, you’re good. I liked that.
You liked that I was good?
Yes. To me that is what matters. Someone who does not have to be bad in order to get what they want in life even if it means that they slowly wither away and die. Thats where you were headed anyway so i thought I would just step in and stop the progression. You’ll see. You’ll be thankful for what I did and maybe you’ll decide to go back. Of course you will be allowed if you choose, but, you wont want to, most likely, unless, but what I can tell, you really don’t have anybody left in your life.
No.
No.
I’m sorry. I know. You are a lonely and confused man with very few good years left before him. Well, you have been rescued. We’ll help you out. You won the lottery.

The creature made a sound like laughter and he smiled. Should he believe the creature? He hoped so. The fact was that he really didn’t much care. The creature was right. He had nothing to really live for on earth and anything was better than waiting around to die while working your fingers to the bone for ten dollars an hour. Nobody cared if he was there or not. Not really. He watched the black sky and stars move slowly by him. The creature and he sat inside of the capsule and he enjoyed the creature’s company although he did not know how to read the beast. He just sensed that the creature liked him, that he was special to the creature and it made him feel proud, proud enough to sit up in his chair and for the first time in a long time hold his chin out and turn his head in just such a way that told him that he was alive again.

Published in: on February 15, 2014 at 1:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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to give again

Maybe
you’ve got to
sit down
and take -
now and then -
Maybe if you give and give
and give
and get so little
back
then you are not giving
at all.
You are just taking
from yourself.
What then is left of you?
Do you feel the daze?
The object of your vision
should be left solely
for you,
at times,
sometimes,
not that you needn’t
have to give,
sometimes,
or want to give,
sometimes,
but, sometimes,
your original line
of vision
should go
unbroken
and what is taken
will be for your eyes,
your soul, heart.
then you can give
again,
have the smile
that is required
to give
again.

Published in: on February 3, 2014 at 7:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Poem – Albert

Needing to know beyond what knowledge,
needing not me,
lays down like rags before me
I feel again instead of see.

Having always seen, always supposedly known,
knowledge anew tells me I’ve not but been tethered
to a big brown ball lowing groans and smoking,
rounding the linelessness of what-might-be illumination,
sun gowned, maybe, real perhaps, or just mimicking
the word beyond the word where the word supposedly lay

at which destination I cannot see anyway so I don’t
instead deeming it right to feel only
watching not watching while the gazeless codes enrich me,
and feed my blindness something of something
at least to the point of wanting hence feeling.

so I smile at the absurdity of longing
to know the meaning of to know

Published in: on February 2, 2014 at 11:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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new

hello,
this is the world of the new. there is old and there is new and new is you and you are you and

welcome,
there isn’t much point in being here today,
but you are
and I am
and we
together,
although we don’t see
each other
we do exist you know
do we?
oh yeah
we do.
you?
me?
yes,
we do.
all in all and all in all
the world is alright today
so you say
and we all must learn
to love it.

There was a girl who touched my heart
but lived very far away
it wasn’t that she lived for me
she hardly knew my way
but she lived for something
a little something
something far and wee and her
nothing more than what she was
and that was enough for me

Published in: on January 20, 2014 at 9:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Cars — Short Story (unpublished) – Albert

There are no hills really in Las Vegas just a lot of crazy people. The crazies go there from other places. Plius, short for Pliusen, a name given to him by a father who had discovered mushrooms in the 1960s in Denver, had a thing now against cars.
In Las Vegas there is no real society. There are just people in cars. The famous Las Vegas strip is not a society. It is a tourist destination. It is not walkable. It is there for tourists only. A local would never go unless for some special occasion. A native Las Vegan like Plius was left with the society of automobiles.
He himself drove a Chevy nova, 1988, just enough air conditioning, just enough new paint sensibility but shitty enough to evoke a sense of dread in girls who might look Plius’s way accidentally. Vegas girls are famous in Vegas for being slow, dim-witted whores who live for the big bucks. Everybody knows this in Vegas. Plius himself knew it not to be true having grown up there, but it may as well have been for all the interaction with the fairer sex that he had.
Plius lived in East Las Vegas. This is close to Henderson, old Henderson which became Green Valley and suddenly lost it’s reputation for being the trailer trash capital of the world. Green Valley was like Summerlin only older; new stucco, neon shopping malls. Wonderfully new apartments and condos and houses that only those who move here from elsewhere can afford. It is a wonderful world if you can get it, but Plius couldn’t get it, working at the institute that he worked at. The institute was quite silly. The Institute for Furthering of Consciousness also known as the farm. At the farm, a unique situation for Las Vegas, he was the guy who dumpster dove at the health food superstore to feed the retarded men and women who made didgeredoo’s for sale all over the nation. The farm had flowers, corn, pumpkins, beets, squash, peas, tomatoes and lettuce. It’s owner was a fat cow of a man named Rumply, Jude Rumply, of Michigan, whose father Tom had once killed a man with a butcher knife while working at a butcher shop. Accidentally, of course. He made seven dollars an hour, but didn’t know what else to do with his life. This was good enough. The world was a world of cars.
Plius pulled into Michaels, a craft store, because he had to make Jesus out of a sock for a friend’s play about nonsense. He got what he came for, a white pipe cleaner that he would turn into a halo. He would cut a little of his hair off and make the beard and glue blue glitter on for eyes. At the counter an old woman rang him up as he stared at a nicely shaped woman looking at baskets one aisle over. All of these women were married or if they weren’t were taken by someone or if not taken by someone reserved for someone destinywise who would definitely not be Plius. Because he knew this he never initiated conversation. But they were there. The tall vixen at the thrift store who dressed like a whore, but perused alone 25 cent novels in the middle of the day, the girl who ate at the college coffee house, old enough to be considered a woman, but more still a teenager. The only difference was that older men like Plius, 32, could stare and she couldn’t totally dismiss him as a pervert. By that age she’s supposed to know how to deal with it. The pair of budding young nightclub vixens who walked nose to back almost in fear of their sexuality which had grown way beyond any turning back point. All these women disappeared back into their cars, first exiting through store doors to disappear forever, only to be replaced by another. At this breakneck speed Plius felt he would drown in possibilities that weren’t possible. Something would have to change. He would have to stop being shy or something.
The sun blinded his eyes as he exited Michaels so he put on the sunglasses he had hanging from his shirt. He walked across the driving path to his Nova. The car stank of old car stink and he threw the little bag on to the seat next to him. He cranked her over and pulled back, turning down the radio that he had left blaring when he’d gotten out of the car. The Cars were playing. Candy-O. A treat, a rarity for this particular Cars to be playing, almost as good as if All Mixed Up had been playing which was an obscure cut from that record. This put him out there, which was really in there which was nowhere really, back into traffic, back into the endless line of cars in the budding heat. Then the drive.
There was no desire to go anywhere, but go somewhere he must, back to the farm where the workers were all working and he had a little room and a day off where he could make Jesus. When he got there nobody was around. He parked the car in the parking lot. The gate latch was unlocked and he opened it and went to his bungalow, a four walled room with a window and an air conditioner. Good, nobody had seen him. He went inside, turned on the light and lay on the bed and looked up. What was it for? Leaves played upon the wall, sunlight moving around, form. Life wasn’t all about anything that he could do. It was all about all that he could not do. He did not like living like this, but it was all that he had. He could not help thinking that his solitude, his silence, his existential predicament were lost inside of these exteriors of the moving leaf and light on a wall. There was nothing anywhere. His mother had died. His brother hated his guts. His dad was there for him, but was involved in his own senior citizen world. Kay had left him for a guy with a boat. Brenda loved him, but wasn’t willing to take any more chances on his changing ass. Ally just lived off in some far away land holding a baby and a real live Jewish husband, which is astounding seeing how Greek she was.
Underneath these memories lived real silent void, air, black then blue then deeper blue then air again and nothing, never, to stand upon again, a lifting of the hope and then a realization that it would return downward into him, leaves again, light again, this solitary room, cars.

Published in: on December 16, 2013 at 4:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Lady on the Floor

It is easier on their end,
making the rules that we must abide by
to pay our obligations.
I am an American. I was born to abide by the rules.
Because the rules worked, in other words,
I’m not telling you what rules or whose rules.
You assume that I mean “America.” I don’t.
I obey the rules of the heart
taught to me by parents who abided by the rules
of America back when it was easier to do that.
We were raised to be honest and to pay our bills.
When the bills became difficult to pay
some of us became stressed
and continued to stay stressed only to develop illness,
nurture hatred in our hearts, coming to fear those rules
by which we were raised to abide by,
and for good reason.
It’s easier on their end, for sure.
We call them Executives, but they are you and me.
They are every person who chooses to believe that they too
can have the American dream and go for it.
We are those people, too. All of us mostly.
But some of us don’t watch. Some of us grab.
There are the takers. The bitter whose victory will kill.
While they don’t watch.
Sometimes I think that it is better not to pay your bills.
Because to not pay your bills means
that you will soon have to end the system,
for yourself anymore, of relying on the system
that would keep you in the same type of home
as those of your neighbors.
You fear losing “home.”
Sometimes I think that it is easier
for that man in that office
to send that letter, not even having to lick a stamp,
to me who must then work 800 hours
to fulfill the obligation.
That’s the only little thing that some of us pained ones are currently griping about.
Physically pained ones because, in their calculations,
we don’t deserve medical/vacation philosophy.
They are thinking of their Chateau Lullabies where the brie is so good and of course, later, gosh, life is hard, helping all those people…
Work work work work work work work work work work
I once picked a beautiful lady up off of a floor. She had worked for eight hours on her feet. She was overweight and in her late fifties. She sat in the middle of the marble hallway of a luxurious hotel/casino and cried.

Published in: on November 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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More Lost Words – Albert

I have lacked discipline.
I am 36 years old and have discovered that my life has passed me by.
I don’t really know what to do about this.
I fight the thought that I am a failure, but by all accounting methods that I can think of, I am.
I have written no published novel.
I have spent two years in college, gaining a writing degree, yet have not been able to find a way to make it pay off for me.
For this I am sure that I am truly not bright.
I live at my mom’s house and work at the supermarket.
Anything I have written sits either in a drawer or in shambles waiting for me to edit it, a task which I am hardly up to doing anymore.
What is this slow turning away from responsibilities of life?
It is like I am allowing everything to fall away beside me.
I am turning off the energy, not wanting to create anything anymore, but am simply letting it all fall, waiting for myself to die.
By doing this, by looking and knowing that this peripheral stuff which I thought was so important can and will fall away I feel cheated, like everything I have done has been for ego’s sake.
For this I feel even more lifeless because it presents to me the question of what I could have done instead or what will I do instead.
It seems to me now that everything is vanity.

Modern society pretends to have the answer.
It is a steady flow of excitement just above our heads like some golden ring that if we try hard enough we are sure to snag.
I do not want the ring or the flow.
It seems evil.
If it wasn’t there we wouldn’t be living in such desperation.
I am unfortunate that my family believes that this flow is God.
If I choose to live among my family then I must too believe this.
It is not up to questioning.
I must worship the material and ever strive to translate my inner world into monetary prominence for this is the fruit of the flow.
If not I should move away to another community that does not believe in this.
I feel in my heart that this is what I must do, but for now I must pay allegience to my family, for if they are to die in a wrong minded thinking I must also sacrifice myself, at least to some degree, until I know that they are alright.
But I will not stay forever.
There will come a time when I will despise the sounds of my fingers typing away rationalizations into the night and I will steal away, leaving behind the businesses, the schemes, the chains that ask me to stay until I find a way to a final bed, the proper, fitting place for me in their minds, anyway, since my getting away would mean that there had been an escape and they had never found it.
Should you deny your salvation for your own brother?
Your soul for your family?
Jesus said that he came to destroy families, to tear them apart.
I believe I am almost ready to be torn apart from my family.
I find I rarely have anything to say anymore.
What I do have to say comes out in bursts after days or weeks of churning inside of me.
What poetics I possess come from out of necessity.
There is always a need for poetics when writing of discontent.
Without poetics we would not know why we write.
Poetics allows us the freedom to discover the nuances inside of ourselves. Poetics does not seek the dollar for it’s first prize.
It seeks to uncover, to release, to expel and to relate.
Poetics demands that our words have substance just as our breaths demand that our lungs receive oxygen.
It has no brain to tally scores, to consider fames, to collect money.
Poetics uses just enough words to convince the writer that there is something happening inside of him when all seems lost, when all seems dead or dying.
The disadvantage of poetics is that sometimes we attempt to stretch its purpose. We don’t know when to stop.
We think that if we are in the flow of the words passing on to the page then we will stop some sort of existential predicament, we will transcend our troubles like escapees up into a balloon, only we fully don’t expect the balloon to ever return to the earth.
This is the trouble with poetics.
We write and write and write and it feels good to write so we write and write some more.
Once we are flying we notice how small the troubles seem to have become.
We write some more and relish in the fact.
We write some more and suddenly, we realize, we’re bored.
The balloon starts to come down.
We don’t want it to so we write obvious wisdoms, stupid sentences, philosophy that tilts.
Then we come down, we step out of the balloon.
We are still human.
We are still mortal.
We are still very much disappointed in these facts, and our problems are still there only we have the memory of those few moments when we believed that they were not.
One thing I would like to say is that the English teachers in school rarely talk about what you must sacrifice to be a writer.
This is not to say all writers pay a heavy toll to follow their “vocation.”
But it should not be denied that many of them do.
Modern studies have shown that writers tend to have higher rates of mental illness.
It should be shown to students that writing is often a place where those who need therapy go to in order to heal themselves.
Students should not be given the idea that writing is a vocation like any other. Few people will ever find that they can support a family either financially or emotionally with the temperament of a writing artist.
Storytellers are a different breed as are researchers.
I am talking about those who stay with their words, pain themselves over their creation, their meanings, why they should be putting them down at all.
Students need to know that writers live the inward journey.
This should be a warning.
Unfortunately, this will not scare away the introverts in the crowd.
We only find such warnings exciting, that is, until, like me, they are 36 years old, living at home, without anybody to love them, no real job or prospect of career, only pages and pages of philosophical rantings that will most likely disappear with their own dissolution.
That’s a heavy sentence and a good place to end.

I’m sure somebody has used the title “notes on myself.”
I believe I have seen it somewhere before.
I am almost certain of it.
I woke up again today with a little inward sneeze that is either sleep apnea or some sort of allergy.
All I know is that it has been almost of week of the same thing.
I’m exhausted all of the time.
It’s amazing how hope is.
The nature of hope is that one day you have it, or know about it, and the next day it is gone.
The question about hope is whether or not to believe it when you have it and whether you should act at all when you feel that you don’t.
I am alternatively hopeful and not any given day.
Some days I look at what is on my plate and despair and other days I look at it and am happy that there is so much.
I hate the sound of the keyboard this morning.
It sounds like somebody chewing food, the food sloshing around between their tongue and teeth just before the wet, slurpy gulp.
I had a dream tonight of a librarian who said that the university has some sort of problem simply by virtue of it’s grand reputation worldwide as a learning institution.
Of course, I wondered what she meant, but then the crowd got too big, we were shuffled into it and by that time I’d seen my friend K.K. who had been doing some acting and I told him I was thinking of getting another part.
I was too busy networking, but K.K. didn’t care, didn’t really want to help.
I then got the realization (or I read it) that you should get your bit parts from the “hapless” stars of the production anyway, as if that is their responsibility which I know it isn’t.
A paragraph contains a single idea.
I have a lot of single ideas, but I think I have been rebelling against the paragraph for many years.
This is because I believed on some level that within every idea there are a thousand other ideas and I didn’t want to give the slightest impression that those invisible, unsaid ideas did not exist.
I think I want to use paragraphs correctly again.
If I do then I will be able to get to all of those ideas one by one.
Maybe it’s time for me to give myself a break.
Nobody is getting the inference of my rebellion anyway and by the time they do writing will have changed completely or the entire world will have been operating on the same conception in a different form, most likely technological in nature, for fifty years.
I will wake up an old dinosaur with an idea whose time had come fifty years before and scream “Eureka!”
I think the favored writers are the ones whose philosophy consists of adapting to their environment.
It is a pleasure to read the thoughts and musings of those whose day to day consists of wrestling demons and putting them in their place.
Twain was such a writer.

Published in: on September 30, 2013 at 9:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Power of Beauty Found

I remember the snow. I wasn’t brought up on snow back in the deserts of Las Vegas, but in Boston they had a lot of it and I remember it, sitting in the giant pushback tractor trailer, a 757 twenty feet in front of me. I was cocooned in a snow globe as the men sprayed the wings with de-icer which, with the help of the emptying sky, placed me inside of a little fluffy cloud, as I simply sat back and waited, in awesome bliss.

Few people, I believe, have had the opportunity to experience such a world of white as I did during those days. Some things make you forget life back on earth and this was one of those things. It spurred ethereal notions, made me elated there at Logan International Airport, not far from the place where Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote about being a transparent eyeball. I think it was in the silence, as well, as I watched the snow fall, the de-icers exploding mists placing me into another realm.

Flight is perhaps one of the greatest proofs of the existence of man’s spirituality, the pursuit of which is often neglected in favor of feeding and secure habitation. A solitary spiritual experience such as mine in the faux cloud, the result of seeing great beauty, then lives in memory. My snowy cocoon brought me in touch with meaning through associations: cloud and heaven, the end of physical trouble through the fairy tale idea of perpetual floating, the momentary ending of all travail.

The result of placing oneself in such a situation of great and unexpected beauty is that the memory lifts you, helps you then transcend your day to day, and sort of places you in a symbolic cloud forever. A few minutes of elation, a few minutes of being a transparent eyeball, presents to the inductee to true spirituality a wealth of energy to be used for future days.

Of course, we all have to come back down to the ground. The plane was pushed and safely dispatched into the soft, white, moving sky. The cold, the freezing, was then re-experienced by the parking of the tractor, the jumping down from the icy sides, your buttressing against the cold as you run into the torn-couch and staid-chair reality of the airline break room again, where cards are played, laughter provoked almost in a competitive way. Once again, you are on your toes, you enter the realm of the real world, although the soft white world recently abandoned was secretly much truer. You don’t have the words to tell anyone what you just went through. The spirituality again. The beauty again.

And you are bolstered so you smile and you talk and you are stronger for those moments until the world again encroaches upon you and your worry lines appear between your eyes and the transparent eyeball is nowhere to be found. You know you must soon be fed again by beauty and you will find a way.

More snows come through the winter. More planes depart. One plane a minute is what they say about Logan International, a good statistic that makes you feel safe flying. A tarmac is a pretty rough place. You have to constantly be on the alert. Everybody is in uniform and no guff is taken in regards to movement or actions. Safety is key and most everybody is a tough guy about staying safe. It’s a matter of life and death. But what many people don’t talk about when they describe the nitty and the gritty of serious places is that beauty is found in the cracks. The snowy white world of the de-icing is one such crack. Another is a a quick stop at the water’s edge at night to stare out at the Boston skyline.

More spiritual imagination infiltrates you through the transmission of the colored light sparkles of the night landscape. Cosmopolitan beauty is a notion of the beauty inside of people translated into outer, man-made form. Of course, in our overalls we weren’t really a part of that scene, but by allowing ourselves those moments of bliss, stolen moments mostly, we became as beautiful in our imaginations as these night-time people were in their fashions and the body language displayed to one another. They sat, wine glasses in their hands, within the structural embodiments imagined by others who also appreciated the power of beauty, those who designed the buildings and the rooms, placed the candles where they may, chose the music that would best allow one person to see and feel the beauty in another.

It is this idea of human love that the solitary bayside nightwatch gives you as you sit there on the plastic seat of your cargo puller. The long shining arms of love given to the eye is beautiful. Even if you don’t have it in your life, its pull is undeniable, and it is through beauty that we imagine it. It is the gift that imagination gives us, the feeling of love even though we may yet be alone in our lives. We experience love anyway. Spirituality is love given to us through beauty. Simple as that.

I finally moved away from Boston to go to school in California. I traded the snow for the sea. It’s hard to say which is the better bet as far as the touch of spirituality is concerned. A lot of people would say that the sea is generally the better choice if you want to experience the higher feelings for a longer amount of time, but spirituality and its feeling of love is not about quantity. It is about moments and being open enough to experience them. Although I worked in a gas-smelly land of pavement, I found the beauty where it approached me and, perhaps starving in some way, I was molded by it, was infiltrated, was made to be a transparent eyeball. And like another great New England poet once said, that has made all the difference.

Published in: on August 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Only You Are Invisible (4.)

Truth be told, I wasn’t always just a sandwich maker. I had my own business or tried to have my own business for several years. This too was after Maggie, and after the dim lights that was everybody after Maggie, dim because without love; false hopes, bright packages that fed my exuberance for the ultra fast shooting star. The business was, lets just say, having to do with words. It was a business concerning the payment of monies for the delivery of words directly into the souls of human beings. My heart was in it. Going into it now is not about how I miss it. I don’t. I’m glad that it is gone. It is about my victimhood. This is the most taboo of subjects, the pain that remains when you have been a victim of a vicious human being. Maggie and I were even then reaching towards each other to perhaps find a way to come back together, but never finding it, and it is because of the pain inside of me after having been a victim of another. Details lie. My tormenter was someone close to me, my partner, actually, a man who it turns out was afraid of his own shadow. Our business fell to us, a long story, and we immediately went in opposite directions each believing that he had a right to his direction. His direction was down. Mine was up. Maggie and everybody else calls this simply the state of the game, but I didn’t see it that way. Were we not supposed to spread goodness upon the earth? Were we not supposed to sacrifice in at least little ways so that the world could be good? Isn’t this what we were meant to do in the social realm and if each of us did our part the world would become a better place? The details were simply ugly until, in the end, long after the business broke apart, the victory over goodness that my partner’s face represented stayed in me like a putrefying sore inside. I became listless. I smoked pot. I cut myself off from intimacy with everybody. And there was his face, always there, my new god that I didn’t know was my god, the god of the vanquished, kind in his own way, loving even, for he spared my very life. I paid homage to him every day after he took away my “other” dream of bringing wisdom into the public sphere. I accepted that I was a clown. I accepted that I was the stupid one. I accepted everything that he wanted me to accept in order for him to have his way so that the war would end. In the process I pulled myself down. I tied a tether to the symbol of his dour visage and allowed it to drag me to the bottom of the sea. I tried to explain this pain to Maggie, but she didn’t understand. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps! Be a man about it! She didn’t say these things, but she said these things and all we did was fight as we sought ways to re-love. Until she met Mike and one too many misunderstandings from too many miles away made something click one day. She said she had an odd feeling all day long, said it in an email. I was feeling anger, which was really just sadness at the hopelessness and reality that I was soon going to be completely and utterly alone. She never called again.
Off she went, another unsuccessful visitor to the planet Me, taking the last taxi out of the universe on a passing meteor. And I truly was left alone. I had pared down everything in my life. My family was gone. If you don’t talk to your family your family doesn’t talk to you. Same thing with your friends. Turn off the tap and the water ceases to flow. As I dried up, the flakes of me arose into the air and I would inspect them like a child would a spider web, collect them in poems and wait for more of me to disappear so that I could perhaps see of what it is that I truly consisted. I still awaited a prize. Always that damned prize for looking inward, for going inward, traveling coursing fleeing flying inward as the outer shell hardens then cracks and you are left standing there unable to move. Your thoughts sometimes go towards the release of death, but you never contemplate suicide. The other day I told myself that I was ready for the end of all ends. This is forty-four years earlier than my father who died at 90 a relatively unhappy old man. How can I say that anything I ever argued about with my father contained wisdom on my part? I was wrong and wrong and wrong again. The proof is in the pudding. All the little children would laugh at the broken man. So stupid. I hope I never grow up! Ha ha. And I can no longer expect Maggie to be there. She wasn’t there to donate her life to a man who could not simply offer his own. She was rescued by Mike. She would not allow my partner to take her soul as well. And I’m glad. My navel gazing was a disease from which she needed to protect herself. She had made a mistake with me and she would have to collect the pieces that were left and move on, which she did. But I am still left alone, a victim, an altogether too sensitive victim who was forced to see that the world is an ugly place, not a high-minded one, that people gravitate down, not up, that we are animals and if God is not dead, he or it or she even gives hard lessons, hard enough to never want to contemplate His being ever again. Leave it to the children to believe so as to stave off their recognition of human animality. But where have I been trying to go by going so low? I guess this is the evil question that perpetuates my pain. Nowhere. There is nowhere to go.

Another week went by and then another and then another and then another. My paycheck is a joke. I live barely. All of the weeks are the same. False hope is a norm, a pretty woman who I don’t talk to, Maggie living in my blood, the anchor weight of my partner’s victory over goodness and me, the corrosive spill at the center of me. I wish I could click my heels and make everything go away. I wish that I could regain my faith in mankind and make it alright and safe for Maggie to love me again, but I saw too much. Couple this with Bush’s war, the flagrant abuse of people’s will in a supposedly good country. Too many things stacking up. My partner was gone. So was Bush, but they both continued to form me. A victim is a victim for a long time. It’s not like you can be a victim and then suddenly be free. Those who haven’t been a victim are the ones quickest with the positive outlook remedies. They’ve never been beaten to the ground. You can never pride yourself on being strong. It may simply mean that you have never been victimized body and soul. You are lucky. Luck isn’t to be paraded around as a virtue.

We read books, but we don’t want to read books. We want to read ourselves. We make mistakes and afterwards we let go the fact that somebody may have been misrepresented forever, that we have been misrepresented forever. We/they scream to be released from the invisible shackles that we place on one another. Judgment is the name of the game in make it land. Poetry circles never forget where the honey is, but they must find it first and that is all the fun. Some of us shy away from it completely. We are in good company, especially in the poetry game. Lots of loners here. We are truly a society, averting our gazes, slinking off to be alone and forgotten, hoping that someday we will be seen and small smiles will be placed upon our faces and we will know that we existed, that contrary to everything we know, that we are not invisible. There are roses upon our cheeks. Here we do what we can by having a reading at the Starbucks on Thursday nights. The cars drive by outside the door and if you sit on the patio you watch and listen to them and try to imagine a world in which poetry mattered. After awhile the poets come out and we act like the cars aren’t there, that we don’t live in an ugly world (for most of us are poor). We sing deep, dark songs about our lives because we know that we have to matter at some point. Some of us are serious, on our way to higher and higher literary heights, forces to be reckoned with. Others realize that it is poetry and it will not be heard outside of the plastic faux wood paneling of the fast food franchise. It all depends on your age. We are all just circling ourselves, unaware that we are in the wrong place if we want to be a literary caricature someday. We should all be in New York smoking pot at parties for the Paris Review, rubbing elbows with Zadie Smith and projecting kindness through comedy like Gary Shteyngart. Poetry is a sideline for most. We are novelists and filmmakers (without money for a camera), photographers, vagabonds, students, workers and dealers, not drug dealers, but those who simply deal with life. I am a dealer mostly. My inability to market my work properly sends me back into my poetry giving me output but no ending in sight. The thought that this won’t end is too much for most poets who eventually seek out laughter, lots of laughter, to make up for the browned corridors of thought that they have alighted upon on their treks into themselves, the ever journey, laughter and escape and money the real things, and I’m not being sardonic, like I’m some real poet and they’re not. I would advise escape at as early an age as possible from the trek of the literary mind. Philosophy is, as they say, a walk on the slippery rocks. My remedy for everybody is to drop out of school at thirteen and go to work. Childish charm will put you in a position of authority by sixteen. By twenty you will be in management. At twenty-five you will be a millionaire telling recently graduated poetry scholars what to do, visiting them at their jobs of scrubbing or serving or caring. Go with the magic while you’ve got it. Education is just another sales pitch. You can get that later. You can always catch up, and when you are older you are actually a better student. Youth believes that it can become king or queen, and it is right. Education questions the notion of what success truly is. Blindness to thought, believing in your existence, knowing that you are not invisible from the very beginning, ego, lots of it, this is the way to succeed and be happy for the trek down the rabbit hole is forever and forever.

I guess a lot of people are waiting for the blowout. They touch me only very lightly, little smiles to the little left of me that they can understand. People from the world of my former business are gone, although I still keep their faces in my computer as does everybody else. Information, it seems, is the replacement for connection, said David Mamet, not in those exact words. It’s true. I can tell you everything you need to know about any number of people, but as to what they smell like, what their mannerisms are, I couldn’t say. They are my friends, but friendship is not what it used to be. As a rebel against social media I am left with very few options. I know I should live in nature, to get away from the ugliness of the totally uncivilized American city, but I never make the move. My real friends I do not talk to because I don’t know if I am the person that they used to know and they are probably somewhat worried about the same thing. And I realize that there is a torpor settling in over me the further down I go to try to form a being that is knowable. To have to move to a strange land and do a strange job among strange people seems like a call for me to live in the outer world, which seems like a deviation from my path. But sooner or later it will have to come to pass. I will have to enter the real world in a much more substantial way, suffer the inconveniences of having to be a part of this melee that we call life. But for now I will sit quietly here and make sandwiches, suffering quietly, desperately in a plotless world where what matters most cannot be seen, is as invisible as I am to myself.

Published in: on June 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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