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.
It is easier on their end,
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.
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.
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.
There is another reason that I have nobody and pretty much nothing except my thoughts and my poems. The real world does not seem real to me. All I pretty much see when I go outside is pavement and curbs and strip malls and gas prices and supermarkets and ugliness. This is the world in which I live and am asked to thrive. This is the world that asks me to be a part and to keep a smile on my face. How is this supposed to work? I live in such an ugly world. People too are ugly and don’t trust each other. Everybody is segregated, the young from the old, the ethnicities from one another, class differentiation everywhere. It feels as though I must batter down these walls by force somehow if I am to simply find someone to talk to. I don’t have the energy or the will. So I stay to myself. My only substantial relationship is with Maggie and we rarely talk anymore. Our sporadic almost accidental conversations are ghosts of conversations already passed. They are no longer memorable. They are streams of thought which pressed us further and further to the edge and away from one another until finally we split and the river continued, non-remembered dialogues turned into sickly colored streams of emotion, mostly of pain, but fueled by love at least. Not that love is present anymore. Love was betrayed long ago, but the force for caring about these streams of memory is love, love gone, but love that once was, and still, in some way, exerting a powerful force. Backward looking hope is what it is, as though you could turn back time, suffer through the dialogues forgotten over and over in your head, colorless streams, the paltry remnants of real dialogues. You can peel nothing away. All history is forever and unchangeable, but the invisible me does not know this. The invisible me hopes for the unattainable because anything seems possible in the world of the void in which we are placed at consciousness. An open slate from the beginning and through to the end, thoughts unreal. How fact when swirling inside the mind of the past that lives within my present mind? World within world within world.
And it is that complex. Still, people that I do bump into accidentally in this world expect to know me by asking about my place in this world. They consider the world in which they also walk to be the real world and I cannot even begin to understand how to explain to them that this world is the least important of the worlds there are to inhabit. So conversation always goes directly to the world least important, but most obvious, which is that of my state of being within it: I work at a sandwich shop. I live alone. I have no relationship. I am forty-six years old, much too old to start anew. And that’s where the conversations usually end. It’s pretty cut and dry as to what I am all about and it is usually enough to cut the conversation short. It always works this way. If only I could stress the inner world to them then perhaps they could understand, but everybody knows that to discuss the inner world as though it is of true importance is a ruse to cover up the meagerness of ones real real world. No children. No hope of children or love. Unhappiness because of the failure in this world. This is inferred through my sorry stats and I do not usually have the energy to go into a long treatise on the nature of things as they really are, to map out for them the psychological and spiritual landscape of me. It usually consists also of explaining how I got to my sorry state and this is considered complaining and nobody likes a complainer. It’s just that they would never believe me if I told them. I am invisible and it takes a good amount of my energy to function in a world where this is the case. I am not blind as they are to the fact. This makes all the difference. I guess this is what it means to be blind. You must be blind to your invisible state of being if you are to function as though you were not invisible. All of this in explanation would take much too long, would sound like complaining and wouldn’t be understood anyway. Even this explanation sounds like an excuse, but can I help the way that I was made, to believe that I am a spiritual being on a human journey? If this is true, and I always believed that it was, I must live with the consequence of the belief. As a spiritual being I have no real form. My outer form, one which I cannot see, holds little consequence in the grand scheme of things. Thus my weakness. Thus my failure in the world. If one looks at me they don’t see me. they just see the outer me. So much more than that. How does one carry on a conversation?
It would be so easy to simply stop the dialogue. I am not talking suicide. This is not in my nature. What would be the point? If I devised a quick stop to the way that I was made I would have nothing left. I would be a shell. I would fall down and not know how to get back up. The turning back from the inward trajectory is a long, long road. It is hazy and there is nothing to push you forward. Inward is the only way. Ever inward where words can meet you along the way. You gather them and put them in poems and you have a tangible essence for others to know, but like I said, there is no market for poetry. Only a select few want to follow you on your path and even if they did you wouldn’t have real communion. It might give you a feeling of existing, but you wouldn’t know. There would be no communication back to you, just you into them, the invisible world concocted into tangibility so that you can know that you are at least alive. I think therefore I am sort of thing. And then it would be gone. If they finished the poem they would know a little about me, but I would never know anything about them. They are fellow grand canyons in which the birds of thought also flit and flit and flit about. There is the spotted robin. There the blue jay. Interesting. Close the book. All of the aloners alone still. All the invisibles invisible still, for nobody believes in the unseen, or if they do believe, do not know how to know it. Feel only. Words to describe the feelings, clouds gray and ever-stretching, billow upon billow upon billow. No easy slots for categorization. No place for us to meet, for meteors never meet meteors. Thoughts, always on the move, cannot envelop completely, not nearly as well as a simple hunger pain or sexual itch. Better to bolster the real world. Prepare a world for fellow units to be bolstered, sharers of genes and noses. Success is in creating families and this is set in place by God. No thought required. Introduce thought into this plan and it will fall away, fetter away. An animal is a million times smarter than a thinking man. We are all animals. Here is another way of looking at the blindness question. We must be blind to the flitting thought of the inner world if we are to get down to real business. We must be blind, but how do I change the way that I am? How do I stop the need to be a poet? Truth is, I can’t. I must be a poet to the end or else I will disappear altogether. I must piece myself together with these images as though they are of what I truly consist. Perhaps I could one day be proud of the vessel like the successful of the world are. Success is truly built on the straightness of noses, the clarity of eyes, the flow of hair and the choice of dress. But I cannot strive for this which many critics would call shallow but I call animal blindness, survival technique, the only way to success in the world. Why would creation make a man like me so one sided?
I went back to work. I was feeling down when I got there. I was tired. Another day. It is my world, my real world so I feel I must come back to it if I am to keep credibility as a real human being. I went to work and made hundreds more sandwiches. There was a little drama among the managers. There was a little backstabbing among the employees. This is what passes as life, the interaction between beings, but nothing happened that could be said to matter. Nobody got closer to revealing truths about who they really are. Conversations were all concerned about the outer world. Getting more in the way of love and bolstering of physical self. Get big. That is what the job is really all about. People come in and eat our fat laden sandwiches and get big. They literally fill a hole. Of course they are also filling their souls. The holy act of digestion, a rite repeated daily. The holiest of holies. There is no escape from the depths of unconscious need. The need is so great that it would envelope us all if it could be given outer form. But it can’t. This is what Thoreau meant when he said men live lives of quiet desperation. The need is just too big to even give form in words. We are mute as we want what we don’t know that we need. The flow with Maggie was strong, and sad because strong, ever present it seems, for we never forget or stop wanting love. The memory of it after its loss sustains and tortures us at the same time.
Life is not a song, not really, although it has been compared to one. It is a monotone, one long line of different movements, but long and one and forever. Nothing ever breaks out. Break out of what? We are captured by our skulls and try to expand through other people and other things. We wish to infuse our inner world with an immaculate gas that will raise our cheeks and brighten our eyes. Then our bodies get in the way. Fall apart. Or other things happen. We lose faith. There is just too much meanness. We see it. Notice it for a first time. Then a second. After awhile we begin to believe it is our basic condition and we are ashamed of ourselves because we thought we weren’t animals and then we knew we were. This type of thought is illegal. It is the type of thought that will get you banished from the presence of normal society. What we are supposed to do is glean the essence, suck the juice from that which is before us. If we cannot see the good, then we are to look harder until we find, take it in, then move forward until we find a big stash of goodness and rightness, take that too, and if there is a lot there, make camp with it, be sustained by it, like bees in an especially fragrant field. But we must seek and this is the law.
Maggie has run off with Mike. She finally found her guy. Mike works in the medical field and it took him a long time to work the relationship into something sexual because he is as much a foreigner to intimacy as I used to be before I met Maggie. Now he is on a nightly foray into the worlds that I had known and I can’t hate him for it. I pushed Maggie away. I. As if there were an I. This thing, this space that I feel breathing, this dull unpolished orb seeking glean that could not allow me to keep Maggie inside with me. Two invisibles are better than one, but I could not trust myself anymore, this ever present need to go further. It left me weak when the real world did call, another bright light and I would seek escape and I would have done it again to Maggie, would have left her again, felt restless, left her alone. But this ever inward trek has left me nowhere. I can feel now enough to trust that it is singling me out by eliminating that which would take my attention away from it. It is the ultimate selfishness really, this inward journey, a prize never given, a prize praised early in life with titles like spirituality and mysticism, but a shabby prize in reality, for to collect it you must be completely and utterly alone. I don’t want it anymore. I want to give up my career. I made the wrong choice, to step from world to world and then write about what I saw. This big mirror that I try and hold up to my face, a face that I could not read even if I saw it, a face that others can read at the first second of contact. It hasn’t paid off. They said that it would pay off. It hasn’t. They never gave you the numbers. All of the great poets were successful. Every one in the book and the book was very thick. So many successes. I would be one of them. My thoughts would be remembered long after I was gone and this was much greater than any day to day existence I may have had while here on this feeble planet. History would remember me. I would have actually have had a face, a quite memorable one, and the face wouldn’t have been the face, but the depths of thought and spirit roiling, sailing, living, flying free beneath that face. My face would become a symbol for truth, a fine previously unveiled truth lithely exposed through my talent which was the base matter of Me. Was I really so insecure? I think so for I have held on to this dream my entire life. It makes me feel like a child now. The superhero that I thought I would become was never recognized as the dream of a child. Upon a man it lays clumsily like a suit too small. And here I stand, walking day to day in this suit. The comic was hastily and unprofessionally drawn. The audience had better things to do.
But it wasn’t always like this. By no means. This is the end result, although I am “only” forty-six, at a set point during a whole lifetime of encountered dreamworlds. It’s true what they say about youth. It keeps you insulated. Youth and dreams go hand in hand and until about the age of maybe even 40 you live in a dreamworld bubble of protection called “potential.” Maybe potential…nah. A ruse. This whole line of thought. Potential is just another way of saying that you think that hope, much better than despair, is still kicking inside of you. But if you don’t do something about it, do something tangibly about it, conservatively even, take the hit, be a nerd, do the time, relinquish the reins to others, bow down…that’s it. Bow down. Always hated doing it and yet here I am, standing day to day on the line, liked but not a success by any means except on a very, very pared down scale. Reality is the death line on a hospital heart monitoring machine. I know that sounds bleak, but it is true. It tells of the fact of the story of our most basic fear. Death or Death Without Meaning. Might as well just jump right to it. Death. Many people say that they are not afraid of death, but that is because they are insulated by youth. Those afraid of death aren’t really afraid of death as much as they are afraid of the slow nothingness that turns you away from life. They are afraid of the living death that comes from having “failed” to stand up in life, point to death and say “meh.” It’s all for looks. If you couldn’t even thrive in life, if you failed financially, then it’s obvious that you couldn’t even put up a good fight and your fellow biological creatures are somewhat disgusted with you. You failed to provide a good example of strength while alive to give the idea of death for them a good twitch on the nose. You were a symbolic failure. You made it seem for them like death could really get its claws into us poor mortals and drag us down slow and if it could do it to you, than egad, why couldn’t it do it to them? We are all supposed to keep a stiff upper lip about the whole prospect of life and death. We are supposed to be strong, to ever propagate the species, and gain wealth so that we may ever soar over the world, strong and brave and free. Of course, one day, our wings will weary and we will sail downward to our required final perch, but only to be raised back up again by a higher power which took note of how we maneuvered this life and, because proud of us, lift us right on back up again. We are to never stop soaring but for only a moment. That’s how we are supposed to live and if we don’t then we are a bad example, a scary fact that must be ignored. We bring bad hoojoo to the air around the heads of everyone around us, and what we find is that this has the actual ability to make of us who fail to inspire quite literally alone. People peel off one by one as lost realization of potential becomes more and more apparent.
If you look into the literature you will see that on a social level all this talk about death is a major faux pas. But if you look into the literature, the psychological, literary and philosophical literature, it is all over the place. There are obviously two distinct ways to go about thinking of the world, the electric, dynamic and hopeful and the flat. The talk about death is of the flat world, like I said, the line on the heart monitor, the meaning of the line on the screen. To even talk about it you risk losing the hearer forever. It’s that strong a subject. But as you get older you can’t really even talk about the weather anymore either. You can’t talk at all with adults about anything. We all become too smart. We’ve all heard all the lines, wrapped our minds around all the tricks others can pull since everybody is vying for power in some way. Speech just seems like complaining, even to yourself. The decay of your social status, the loss of your potential, poisons the holy everyday air of immortality belief that must be held sacred by all who still hold breath. To open your mouth is to release seemingly harmless tidbits about life, but each tidbit has a corner of mold which disgusts, the beginnings of a rip. Age equals smarts. We avoid decay both spiritual and physical like the plague. You see it in the pop culture. Everybody must be beautiful, but if you look at the movie star magazines you can see how even the most beautiful of the beautiful are somewhat faded in some aspects. The middle aged have targets on them so you feel sorry for them. They too are on the continuum. Even they. And behind them are the young, the absolutely flawless, a new champ given their own try to show the world that death does not really have to take hold. That’s why we have children because there is no way that death is lurking around there, but even there, even there… even I once was a child.
It is grim, but something that must be addressed, gotten out of the way to continue. Of course I don’t think about death all of the time, but if there is a story to be told death must be allowed into the room, given a wave at least. It doesn’t need to be invited to the table. Who would invite death to the table? But it must be given a nod so that its last laugh is not too uproarious, perhaps only a chuckle. And there is a story to be told here. Of course the only good story to be told is a love story, but a love story is really only a good love story after the love is gone. This is a sad truth. Otherwise you lack plot. I hope nothing more than to be totally wrong about this. We have all lost love in our lives. Love is the promise of not being alone on that road to death. There is a great belief that love can override death. It is the only thing that can. But stories must come from things that happened in the past and things such as love do not remain intact forever. That is why it is a story, because it is no longer there and the story-teller wants to remember when it was. It feels good to remember when there was hope against death, and to remember love is one of the best ways. You could think about death all of the time, I guess, but it wouldn’t really make a difference in your life. It would hinder your life actually. You would be a Gloomy Gus. So it is true that you must fight against the negative pull of the thought of death. Fool yourself if you must, but first you must doff your cap and then you can go about the business of flaunting life in the face of death until it is your time and you don’t mind because you have lived.
The time before work is pretty uneventful for me. I do a lot of reading since I am a literary type. Sometimes I go see movies. My brother and sister live in town, but they don’t really like me, not really, and I am getting to the age where I’m pretty sure that I’ve taken on all the attributes of that crazy uncle that your friend had when you were a kid, the one who died or actually went crazy. I guess they think I’m close to that since I have absolutely nothing and nobody anymore. So they stay away. That death thing again. But I’m not close to going crazy. I still write my poems, every day usually. Some pretty good stuff, but there is no market for poetry and it’s hard to explain it to them. They just don’t understand why I don’t just try and do something else. Because it is my career, I try to tell them, but they don’t get it. It’s like they are staring into the mouth of the abyss and the abyss is me. At least I have my college degree to give them some sense that perhaps I am not crazy. At least that holds back total pity from their non-understanding eyes. Maybe that’s why they let me be and don’t dig in too hard. They’re letting me be a failed poet even though they believe it is a lie and that I am lazy and the baby and I’ve gone into all that. I puttered around the studio for awhile. Listened to the neighbors make love, made some ham and eggs and then walked down to the coffee house and tapped on my computer and read NYTimes.com. I then went back to my studio and slept. I woke up and wrote a poem about the fuzziness of the sound of the silence that is sometimes thought. It made me feel pretty good to do that and it is a major theme, the sound of intangibles, the feel of esoterica, the look of the invisible. I guess I always sought a challenge. But like I said. I am invisible. I really am, and I have to devise a way of seeing and understanding myself if I am to have a sense of who I am in the world. Maybe other people can just go about their days as though they too are not invisible, but I don’t see how they can do it. It seems that everybody should be spending their days concentrating on such things, but apparently they are not. They are too busy. Are they busy forgetting? This seems to be the standard interpretation of the malaise of the modern person, that they are busy forgetting who they are so as to make a living and thrive in this world. Striving after blindness in a way, but it sounds very negative and I can’t see how blindness and forgetting yourself is the same thing. How can you forget yourself? You are there all the time even though you can’t see yourself. If you forgot yourself you would simply be unconscious and that’s not what I want. I want the opposite. I want sight that leads to a higher awareness of life. I would want to forget my pain and I would want to be blind to the interruptions that would cause me to have less a sense of higher life, but to consider forgetting oneself and blindness the same thing… I’ll have to think about that.
I wrote another poem about a blind cat. Why I chose a cat I don’t know, although I do remember once coming upon a blind stray in a junkyard. I walked into the yard and maybe seven cats scattered at the sight of me including this one, a mangy tomcat who sensed me, but didn’t quite know where to run or how fast. I could have easily caught him. I had such an overwhelming sense of pity for him. I didn’t know how he could survive. I didn’t know how life could be so unfair. But he apparently could and it apparently can be. If you don’t doff the hat to death then you keep it as a dangerous stranger instead of what it is, a major part of life, maybe even a tool of God, although you hate to think that your own demise could be the way that God wanted it. Such a thought hurts the immortality fantasy, makes us feel that life is cruel. Rosy turns to bleak for a moment and then must be returned to rosy, but as you age people become aware of the fantasy and stay to themselves more. They don’t want any more guff in the direction that death is not also for us. Such things as blind stray cats bring these things back to us. Everything comes back to us. We are perpetually pushing the same story away from ourselves. It is mostly unacknowledged. I think Freud called it repression. So, yes, a good chunk of our day is used on repression. It’s real. It’s scientific. I wish I could make my family understand that there is a world like this out there, in there really, but they would never believe it. They’ve got their God tool and their fantasies and their bulwarks against defeat. If they need to defeat negativity they will do what others do, blame others, me included, the government, liberals, the economy, sin. My brother and sister bought into the whole Jesus thing even though they were raised Christian by a real Christian. Nobody told them that the Christ of this new age of Christianity is a lie, that Christ was co-opted by conservatives to further their political (economic) well-being. It’s sad, but the bridge cannot be crossed. We are now a nation of true believers. We just haven’t begun killing each other outright yet, although we are doing our best to kill each other with un-Christian rules. Take food from babies, abandon the old, but do not touch the billionaires’ money. They never acknowledge that the richest among us own, I hear, 95 percent of all the wealth in the country. Instead, they see a shining example of worthy people on to whom God’s light was purposefully shone. If only they could be so blessed. A racket. They will never see the racket. More death. More death. Little tinges of it that aggravate me and keep me from joining them. In two hours I go back to work. Work staves off death by keeping me alive. I just have to work on having a more positive attitude, but I’m not sure how to do that when I see death maneuvering ever closer to my family and my country. I do the equivalent of shaking my head to get the bad thoughts out. Don’t be a Gloomy Gus. Don’t call wolf. Get a real job. But I’m paralyzed in the headlights. Don’t they see how going against love kills? I stand on the side of love even at the expense of having love, of having anything, really. I just must not lose hope and I must also seriously consider finding a better way to survive, even while understanding that I am invisible. I must go through the world blind to the fact that I am invisible. I must make believe that I can see me and I am good and strong and free.
I give up. It’s true. I have been running around trying to figure out life for some 46 years now and I’ve come to the conclusion of what my problem is: I’m invisible. You are too. Imagine it. Really think about it. You have the ability to look at people and have a general idea about their states of well-being. You can almost figure them out at first sight. Perhaps their eyes are sad or they’re old or they’re young and sprightly. Whatever it is you can get a general sense of who they are just by looking at them. You can’t know everything of course, but you needn’t really give them much more thought than a glance provides to prescribe a host of possible cures. Fat? Exercise. Poor? Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. But you yourself? You look out and what do you see? Everyone but yourself. In a roomful of people, you are the invisible person in the room. You. And there is nothing that you can do about it. Yet they are invisible to themselves too. We walk around invisible yet act as though we are not simply because we can be seen by others. But what clues are we given about the most important person to us in the room? Nothing, memories of what we have thought ourselves to be, something that changes every single minute it seems.
I suppose that you then have to guess about who and what you are, but your theories are as vast as the world’s seas. Now that I see this way I am free to let me be me. Hell, I might be a Unicorn-like beast to the world. Thoughts are definitely flitty. They fly. Vroom. Whisk. Go by me like a meteor. What was that thought? What did it have to do with me? Should I grab it by the tail, squint my eyes and pretend that this thought is what I look like to others? Anything goes. A lot of people say they don’t care what other people think about them. What they are saying is that they have accepted that they are invisible to themselves. The thoughts and feelings are strong enough inside of them that they never question their ability to be surrogate to the them they cannot see. They rely on the million-winged thing inside of themselves as though it is who they are on the outside too. This is a leap of pure faith, but it seems to pay dividends. People who do not question reality can charge through the world as though they are the stronger more positive thoughts that they carry within them day to day. Us questioners, which is a good many of us, are left with the images and the stubbornness of the thoughts which we believe must be connected to something else which must be connected to something else… The more that we educate ourselves, the more that we see how intertwined the world is. We want to be fair, moral, right. We don’t want to accept the flitty world as who we are for fear that if everybody acted this way then the world would be chaos. Guess what? The world is chaos, but figuring out how others can act without a sense of morality and justice is just another vast plain which we float into and away from knowing ourselves through pure faith. We think into spheres of thought that take us higher and higher, lower and lower, out and around until we have to accept a spiritual view of who we are. All because we can’t see ourselves, can’t take a cue from our expressions as to which way we should go.
I guess I’ve been a bit of a stone-face lately. I gather this because of my thoughts, which have been anything but hopeful lately. I have been going into myself deep, trying to find the bottom, in a way. I thought that I had it the other day. I was lying in bed looking up at the bunkbed above me, the top of which I use as a desk, envisioning emptiness (a spiritual state) without considering it that. I had simply come to the place where I had lost all faith in the flitty world inside of my head to bring me to a conclusive answer as to who I am. It would go on forever, I surmised. I could follow threads of thought until the end of time, but without a sense of the whole, enough to fill my very limbs, I would never be able to gather sustenance from the world of thought. I often think about what it is that I need to know, that I’ve forgotten and have to go back and relearn to get somewhere that I was years ago. That ever turning wheel, like a hamster wheel, that gets you absolutely nowhere, is like a false promise by everybody who has ever tried to teach me in my lifetime. Remember this, they say, and let it sink into you and you will rise until your soul will be level with your eyes and you will be able to look out proud as though you could actually see what you look like in a crowded room, as though you could not only see everybody else, but you could see yourself. And it wouldn’t be through ego either, which is a false sense of yourself to make up for the fact that you are invisible. It would be true. You would know that you are what you are supposed to be by the reactions of others around you and there wouldn’t be any danger of falling or being whisked away into the “truth” of another thought that you must first address in order to be “true.” I guess being true is what it is all about. You don’t want to be false, but that is what being lost in the whirlwind of thought and resultant emotion portrays to others. So often the idiots win. You find that you envy the idiots, the ones who never listened to those who told you things about the world that sounded true and that you therefore wanted to integrate into your being so that you could be true.
It all gets pretty complicated, I guess. Back to reality. In the few minutes it’s taken to think these thoughts, abbreviated in my mind, of course, I’ve made sixteen sandwiches. Six of them have been Porky Porkins. Four of them have been the Garden of Eden. Two of them were Royal Cluckers with cheese, three The Mountain and one Ruben’s Reuben. Mario is to the left of me, 19, Diane to the right, 18. My boss is Sheila, 28. She’s nice. Three more on the line include Adolpho (cutting), Roberto (condiments) and then the assistant manager, Dave, 23, putting the order over to the new girl, pretty, about 20, charging people their money and giving them their cups. Oh yeah, Natalie, in her fifties and from Australia, is taking the orders behind me, punching them into the computer where they show up on my computer screen. Her husband is an American trucker and she prefers Australia.
I went to college. I’m pretty much the cautionary tale that everybody’s father tells them not to be when they say they want to become a musician or artist or, God forbid, poet, like I told my father. He ranted and raved, slung his jowels this way and that, but there was nothing I could do about it. School had been telling me that being a member of the literary class was one of the finest things that you could do with your time here on earth. I spent my late teen years with my poetry books and notebook sitting under trees in parks, my station wagon parked in the parking lot, looking up into the limbs, through the trees at the passing clouds and wondering, hoping, dreaming and believing that if I could just translate it into words that I would be accepted and loved by others with the same belief in the value of the loftier of thoughts. Of course I learned over time that it was all tied to concepts such as soul and spirit. This sealed it for me. There was another world up there. Out there? In there? Hmm. Where was this other world? The questions, I admit, inhabit me today, although this new wrinkle about our being invisible because we can’t see ourselves is interesting. I guess it may be the closest I’ve ever gotten to being able to be the dream promised me by the teachers and the mystics over the years. Or maybe I just think so. I figure this too shall pass. I’ll forget that I’m invisible eventually and go back to hour after hour of looking up at my bunkbed/desk wondering what the hell it’s all about. But if I can’t see myself or have mock faith in myself like others can, as though they actually can see themselves, then I can’t be all bad. I’m flying blind. Somehow this feels good. Blind is somehow good. I know that I don’t know who I am to those around me who ultimately dictate the kind of life that I am to have in the “outer” world. I won’t have to pull thoughts out of those unremembered lessons “learned” to present my best “face” so as to advance. Where is there to advance to? What happens to the faces that I present? General belief is that if it is a smile then you are doing okay in the world. So you try to smile as much as possible around here. Laughter is good. But what am I doing here? Why am I making sandwiches at the Sandwich King at forty-six years of age?
Very good question. It seizes all urges to make my cheeks tense in a positive manner so as to be relieved that at least I am not ugly. Non-smiles make one ugly and unpopular. I know this even though I can’t see my smile. I’m not stupid. But I can’t smile all the time and in the times I am not smiling I go so far down? Up? Around? Through? the world that…
“Put mayo on that one, dear,” Natalie is next to me now. I’m the lead. The best there is around here. When we first opened, the place was brand new and I wanted to be a dishwasher. They told me that I would be better on the sandwich line. I got a promotion right away. I learned that little Mexican men would always be destined to be the official dishwashers at the King, but I did it anyway before this precedent was set. If there were any dirty dishes I would wash them which put me inside of a halo for the bosses. At one point they wanted me to join them, but I never fancied myself a lifer in the sandwich game and said no. It felt good though that they approved of me, that I did not have to prove myself, that I wanted to wash dishes in the first place so taking what they perceived as the extra step played in my favor. It feels good when your bosses actually like you. I’m a good worker. Simply put, that’s the way it is. I’m a team leader, although not officially. It’s just my age. I don’t get caught up in the webs of adolescent drama during the eight hours I’m on the job each day like others. You got the lazies, the haters, the aloof, the innocent, the “biding their time” people, the quiet grateful Mexicans. You’ve got the guy who is good at cooking the sides of beef and says he owns eight houses which he plans to sell soon. Too much time in the upkeep.
“Just the one or both?” I ask, for clarification.
“Just the first.”
“A clucker with Mayo,” I say clearly. They use mustard on the Clucker, a special sauce and people dig it, but now and then you’ll get the mayo people a little upset.
Could Natalie see me? Obviously, she could see me. She squeezed my bicep, the one I damaged by trying to hold up a house once. Long story, not worth going into. I sometimes forget whether people can see me if I can’t see myself. Of course, they can see me. They can’t see themselves, that’s all. Each of us alone are the invisible ones. Everybody other than we ourselves are as visible as day. I’m doing it again. Trying to hold on to something that I thought that I learned in order to end thought once and for all. It just takes up way too much of my time. Do I regret that I went into the sensitivity to all thought game? You bet. Regret it with all of my being. Regret that I had a mother who believed that I “am a spiritual being on a human journey.” I was a good student and a good kid. Moral as hell. Very important to be moral if you are to make a difference in the world. Never thought of joining the dark side. Always honed my metaphorical moral light saber skills throughout my life for the day when I would slice away evil forever and ever amen. I’m still waiting for that day. In the meantime, everybody else has families, money and true laughter. They go home to nice abodes whose lights I contemplate as I drive home each night at eleven o’clock. I imagine them in only one way: happy. Their living rooms are warm. Their children curl up into their laps. The couples smile at each other and coo and the next day they do their routines warm with the knowledge that this loving scene would once again be played out behind their solid doors and glowing windows once again and then again and then again. Forever.
Yet I find it difficult to trade it all in. Of course my logic is askew. I have avoided corporate responsibility my entire life so that I could be alone with my esoteric meanderings of mind in search of the true other place in the spiritual realm. If I had done what my father had suggested, and their had been a lot of suggestions: advertising, publishing, writing (as if I hadn’t written enough poems to last several people several lifetimes), business (in general. Do Something!), I would be happy right now, especially now that the charm is just about worn off. To be Thoreau now would classify me as a bum. To be Emerson I would have to play a much more complicated game, one that I didn’t have the social skills (the invisible overcoming inclination of faking it) to accomplish. Everything other than what I have done, contemplated, seemed like a waste of my talent and my talent itself was not even a talent. It was more a proclivity, a willingness to bend into the silence to capture a flitting dream, one of beauty, but one that I found as I aged loses its luster as my body loses its luster until I am just another ugly middle aged man with no kids and very little hope of “making it.” Obviously, I should have put myself into a monastery at a very young age so as to have had a framework that was respected for what I was trying to do with my inner world, the only world that I had come to respect. But I didn’t. I ended up at the Sandwich King.
I can feel it. It’s here now. The dark place. It’s back. Concentrate. Concentrate. Sandwich after sandwich. Pile it on. More, more. Pile it higher. Cost the King a few extra pennies, but just pile it on. Keep them coming back. Save the company by giving the people a filling sandwich, not like most of the others who stayed close to the company guidelines and made sandwiches that I would not buy twice. More meat, more lettuce. More sauce. A better sandwich. More. Once again, filling up the world with the stuff of the world as though recognition that the world existed in plenty would remind me that I was not invisible and at the mercy of the thoughts in my head which had, as of late especially, been pressing down on me. What tool for good was I when I was scattered in a million directions? Only the focused made a difference in the world. Those of us who entertained thoughts were too spread out to make much of a difference. Who cares if we wanted to be right so that the right thing could be done instead of the expedient which often led to chaos and disaster when played out on a grand scale. Look at the world. Wars, famine, cheating, lying for gain. An honest perusal of the inner world would provide the world with an honest answer that would guide it into a place where that spiritual world promised by my mother would then be able to step forward and all would be well. That was my job, to push the world a little closer to that other world where it would then be able to simply step into place, into Holy place, I guess, and, like I said, all would be well. But then I would look around me and realize that it was all taking place inside of me. It was imprisoned inside of me rather. Not even the actuality, but the thought of a better world. I could tell that nothing I actually did mattered. The sandwiches mattered. I would have to get through that to get to the other. I would have to make the best damned sandwich in the world for a little of the dream imprisoned inside to be released into the world. If I spoke all would be lost. If I wrote it would not be read (nothing of mine has ever been published except in a college literary review). All was pretty much lost to the whirlwind inside which, I imagined, may have been guessed at by others through my eyes at times or my silence among different circles than work. Nobody told me how hard it would actually be to be heard when your choice of “career” was to be heard.
I made another 200 sandwiches before I left. I first took off my apron. Semi-filthy. Stunk of food. I made my way out the back door. Nobody ever said goodbye. It was like we had relegated ourselves to being automatons. When the machines took over they would simply be switched off too. Entrance was the same way. You simply showed up on the line and you had to guess that they remembered who you were. A new pair of hands to pass a sandwich to. I made my way to the parking lot, into my car, which I won’t tell you about, and on to the road. Through ten, fifteen lights, never counted, into my studio apartment on the outskirts of town and into my bed and slept. I woke up and went to my coffee house where I read the paper and wrote into the computer that was still working after all these years after my father bought it for me. He’s been dead seven years now. Had it upgraded recently and lost roughly 200 poems. I stamped my foot in anger and hurt my heel and am still smarting from it. I have an extra heel pad for work, but it doesn’t totally alleviate the pain. Inner pain translates into outer pain. Pain is a network. The last poem I wrote there was a guy who looked like the lead singer of the Killers with his family at the next booth. I had to look twice and wasn’t sure if it was him or not. If it was I prided myself on being seen, as though that would make it so that I could actually see myself, that I existed in some way that was remarkable, but then I sifted back down into myself, into that soft twilight, that hazy gray of me and searched for thoughts that would explain everything that was and everything that would be, how I might get out of this thing alive, perhaps find love (ten years gone) and be “somebody” again, before the true lessons of my life took away the true mover of who I was, my younger, more naïve self. I guess back then I didn’t think too much about such things as being invisible to myself. I thought a lot, erratically, crazily, poetically, mystically, but self-identity and the back side of the track were not as pronounced. I guess I fear that as I decline the mysterious within me will decline also, that everything before was a result of my youth and not real truth, as though it was blood of nerve and brain that was the real commander of philosophy and spirit and therefore “God” would just one day fade away, or was perhaps already gone, just a joke of naivete.
At the coffee house, a truly suburban affair that would generally not host a rock star, but perhaps has, I saw a woman holding a toddler to her chest as though it were a bumper on a car, a group of old ladies who apparently meet every once in awhile, the manager in street clothes, a red golf shirt and golf cap, apparently on the links that day and just coming in to see how things were going, the regular help. A most unremarkable display that you are relegated to seeing day after day because you don’t live in New York or Boston or Paris or London or anywhere else that is remarkable. Because it is somewhat nice, although somewhat commercial, you wonder about the levels of success of the people. Then you tire of it. You want to write. You don’t. I don’t. I am the you of which I speak, but it is nice to consider myself a you. Makes me feel like I am there. Reminds me that I can be seen when I can’t, at least not by myself. I may represent an alien with three snouts to these people, but I wouldn’t know it, because nobody really looks at you. This is good I guess. I’m not an alien. Perhaps I look successful to others. I dress alright, white pants, cream really, although there are oil stains on the left pant leg.
What they can’t see is that I have absolutely nobody anymore. You can sometimes gauge a person’s aloneness just by looking at them and the people who work here have probably gauged me as pretty much alone, but you can fool everybody else, make them believe that you are substantial in some way. My computer helps, I guess. I look at the New York Times a lot. Write poems. I try not to look too hard at the news anymore, because it seems as though the country has abandoned its moral base in favor of making more money. After the Republicans took over Christianity it all just sort of went to hell. Now Christians believe in all sorts of non-Christian things like starving children in their own country, killing children of other countries, lying to put more and more money into the pockets of their employers who own just about 95 percent of the country already. Dishonesty is the name of the game anymore and it’s easy if you’re rich. You can get all sorts of “think tanks” to come up with scientific surveys that say that people prefer to be destitute and in the street as long as the richest one percent do not have to dip down into fifties of billions instead of the sixties of billions. It’s easy to fool us now. We are an easily fooled people. I thank Jesus for all of this, rather, his “followers” who aren’t really his followers, but paid public relations men posing as his followers. The real Jesus said “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven.” The new Jesus drives a benz. I try not to think about this. I try to push it away, but it’s hard.
I once wanted to write fiction, but found that I had no plots in my life. I know that people want plots in their fiction because they are also like me with no plots in their lives. Where would people get plots? All people do every day is arrange their day so as to avoid plots. Having no plot means having no drama and nobody wants drama, nobody wants plots, so they open books to get the excitement, the plots, that they don’t want in their real lives. So I used to sit there and try to imagine plots, or drama, that I could give to people so that they would read my work, buy my book, and I wouldn’t have to make sandwiches. But I always end up going back to my poetry which doesn’t require plots. The reader of poetry has come to terms with the fact that they have no plots in their lives and are willing to ruminate on what they do have, namely, existence. Good or bad, they have existence. To understand that existence is the one thing that they feel that they can do as they go about their days, their jobs, through the lives of their loved ones. Once you realize that you will most likely have very little real plots in your own life you can relax and consider what you do have which is the moment, now, expanding outward from inside for its base is inside of you. It starts the moment you open your eyes and realize that you are invisible, if you ever realize it, and then attempt to live life anyway. The world within is you and feelings that come from the images and thoughts make up your day so you have to make the best of it. You have to arrange things, make sure that things don’t get out of control. Those without plots live as I do, a totally insular existence. We feed on what we have and take sustenance from where it may come which is often spirituality, study, rumination through artistic endeavor. But there is no set rule as to what we are exactly doing. What are we doing? We are born alone and we die alone. In the middle we dance with the things within our minds.
A woman walked in and sat down at a table about three tables down. She was eating alone. She didn’t look at me, but she was old enough to do so. I went to the library to get a movie the other day and as I walked to the movie section I had to pass the internet section where people get free internet use. The oddest thing was taking place, every single person on the net was a middle aged man just like me. All were poor. You assume that when you use the internet at the library. I walked faster realizing that I was just another one of those poor middle aged men, no longer able to attract a woman and love, relegated to use the free library services. When I got into the movie room there were more of those men, all middle aged just like me, one reeking of alcohol. Of course, he would be. Why not? But he looked somewhat respectable as though the alcohol hadn’t wrecked his life, as though he fancied himself a poet just like I did me. The sameness of it all. The sameness of me. The woman never spoke to me and after awhile I went home and slept and the next day I was back at work making sandwiches, trying to stretch my face to smile and even laugh, but the laughter was becoming harder to conjure. Being invisible, alone and middle aged was becoming too hard to deny. Something would have to be done. But what was there to do anymore? Standing there I realized that it had been two months since Maggie had called. She always called even if it was to just chastise me for not being a success and having a no can do attitude about life which wasn’t really that, but rather a yes can poetize attitude that nobody could understand. I’m sure I have written as many poems as Wordsworth and he wasn’t considered a troubled failure like I am by those who know, knew me. It’s not really fair. I did my time in college studying a subject that the teachers claimed was the highest calling and yet when I got out I was told that I was a failure as a human being while the partiers who never contemplated a higher thought in their lives rose in the ranks of success simply because they chose their college major according to how much money it would provide them. Who cares that they would end up bilking their own fellow Americans. They were successful doing it and success was all that mattered ultimately. Monetary success. The other kinds were jokes and cover for basic infirmities of mind, heart and soul. I was a child who cared, a teen who cared, an adult who cared, but without monetary success all was a ruse. Now I am simply an un-ambitious lazy person who makes sandwiches at forty-six because he was actually quite “off” his whole life just as everybody suspected. He was going to fly high, was shooting for the stars, but in reality, he was just a dreamer, a bad kind, not even the romantic kind really. The lazy kind. The wrong kind. Had I been able to…which brings us to complaining.
Everything is seen as a complaint. That’s how Maggie sees me too. I try to explain my lack of will to strive for the dollar, to make active plans to bank off my poetry, to try at least. It all seems like business to me. Business is okay, I guess. I would love to be able to thrive in business, but I can’t. I can’t muster the will to do it. I have no passion for it. So a lot of my time is spent contemplating ways to succeed in my own entrepreneurial endeavors, but once it comes time to put the “plans” into action I don’t want to move. I simply don’t care. I then write a poem or ten and feel like I am doing what I am supposed to do. This is outrageous in this day and age. But this is what all of the great poets ever did. They simply wrote and wrote and wrote. They sat under trees. They walked in the woods. They lived in their garrets. They thought and they wrote and they observed until they were one day recognized as actually having been doing something during all these times. But for every poet recognized there are a hundred thousand left unrecognized. What if the recognized ones had not been recognized? Would their work, which would have been the same work had they not been recognized, been any less great? This bothers me a lot. How do I know that what I do isn’t much more important than anything I could be doing in the realm of business? If I move off on a different course my unrecognized poems would perhaps not be written and although I may forever be unrecognized their merit would remain – unseen, silent and hidden away never to be seen again. But what if they are deserving of the same praise as those who had been recognized? If a tree falls in a forest…
So I try not to talk about my work. Nobody I know really thinks of me as a poet. When asked what I do I tell them that I work at the Sandwich King. Their eyes light up. Oh? They say, as though it were a proud thing to be working at the Sandwich King. They have to stifle a lot of negative thinking to keep their eyes bright and alive as they talk to me. It is instant non-credibility as a human being and I accept it, smile a little bit. Then I tell them that I also write poems. Of course, that’s wonderful. My point is that even I myself explain what I do first in the realm of business. Only then would my other interest be revealed, a pithy little hobby that most likely I took up because that is what you must do to make up for being such an unsuccessful person. You get used to things. It’s sad, but you do. Melancholy becomes just another emotion. It is the ending of pride.
At work that day there are a lot of customers. I’m good at what I do. I make a good sandwich. A good beefy concoction. I don’t skimp. It helps business. My heel hurt of course and I wondered about Maggie. She said she was going to have cheap sex with a friend if he didn’t want her for any other reason. I accepted it as I was supposed to do. I don’t know why she calls me. We had love many years before and held on to it for a long time even as we broke up and I went on to other relationships. I don’t know what she was doing while I was doing what I was doing. I figured we were broken up, but she was the only one of them that ever truly loved me and I couldn’t get over that. After awhile I gave up on the whole game and all I had left was the love that Maggie still held for me, but by this time I was too ashamed to go back. I was also afraid that I would hurt her again. Youth. When you get to a certain age you realize how stupid you really were, but then it is too late. You’ve made your bed as they say. Two months later I tried not to think of the bed that I made for her. Where Maggie was is simply a big sad hole now. Her disappearance represents our true split. I am now truly alone. My brother and sister don’t love me, well, if they love me they don’t really have much time to show it because they are off on their own middle class America raise the children fantasies. Poor Peter. It is in the margins of every communication I have with them. Poor Peter. The youngest who was so foolish. Of course he would fail. He was the baby. The baby is always supposed to fail. It is expected. I couldn’t disappoint. I think us babies fail because we are usually the dreamers of the family. All the important stuff is taken up by the elder children. They must learn to be responsible. The baby has a lot of help so spends more time in the dreamworld. He never really leaves. The poor baby who must play and play and play. Poor baby. Last born, most likely first to die. Sad. Sad. Sad. Sad. Sad.
I never bought into this, of course. Dreamworlds are praised by our educators by insisting on our studying art and literature and music. It’s all dreamworld and the babies are usually pretty good at it because of their practice being the baby. Freedom. This leads to higher aspirations, spiritual aspirations even, but don’t ask us to put a car together. Don’t ask us to figure out adult responsibility stuff. It’s not that we can’t do this. We can when we grow up, but the elder children will never believe it. Adulthood to elder grown up children for the baby is worthy of a chuckle only. A baby will always be the baby especially if he or she chooses a dreamworld profession like I did. Profession. The dreamworld doesn’t have professions. It has states of existence only, a fact that the others can’t then won’t understand. The baby is the baby. I’m the baby.
So I’m the baby and it shows. I’m forty-six and I make sandwiches at the Sandwich King. This is a good baby career. I wrapped up my shift at the Baby King, the oldest baby at the King, and made my way home. Through the lights again. Cold outside again at night, eleven-fifteen. Back to the old studio apartment that I can just barely afford and hit the bed hard. I dream almost as soon as I hit the pillow. My unconscious state has been like this lately. I seem to dream even when I am awake. I saw a movie on my day off, one I got from the library, where someone asked someone else in what language did they dream. This was odd for me because it never occurred to me that there were words in my dreams. I don’t remember the dream or the words, but I was aware for the first time that there were words in my dreams. Odd. My dreams have been very literate lately. Sometimes it is almost as if I am writing in my dreams. Words being formed as though I were writing a poem or even a book. Where do these stories come from? It makes no sense that I should dream people I have never met into situations I have never encountered. It makes me wonder about the nature of novels. These novelists write all these words and sometimes the sentences are put together so well and with such insight that it seems they are watching the words instead of thinking them. It seems like dictation. Perhaps it is. I can write in my dreams with a complete absence of conscious thought. So Shakespeare possibly just dictated his plays out of some powerful literary dreamforce in his own head. And he was called Shakespeare. The great Shakespeare. He could have been chomping walnuts, really getting into them while his other hand magically penned Hamlet. This seems to be true to me concerning the nature of great literature. There is a little brain inside of the brain of the named person’s brain that is really doing the writing and maybe it has to do with magnesium levels in the blood or lack of zinc or whatever. Life is life and it will pour forth from where it pours forth and just don’t get in its way if you want it to arrive. But you don’t believe in this because you are taught to believe that magic doesn’t exist. But it may just well exist. Maybe.
Which brings me to the idea that I think we should all go through life as though blind. I told this theory to a person I know. (I don’t know very many people anymore because relationships are decided on first tics anymore and they are plenty and deep and adults cannot talk to one another because they are too smart and feel pain too easily, but that’s another story.) I told this person that we should go through the world blind after he told me about a philosophy of someone he knew. Psychological theories are interesting to me, but it seems to me that you can’t keep them in your head, so you must go through the world blind. I wasn’t sure what this meant. I hate when I say something and then assume that I know what I mean by it after I say it. It may actually take years to come to a true understanding of something you proclaim. We are so wise when we are young, but when we get old we realize that we didn’t really understand. We could see the principle laid out before us, but it wasn’t truly within us. Only time can let certain truth infiltrate you. You only know what you know when you are ready to know it. Maybe this is what living blind is about. Forget about what you think that you know and live what you have at the moment. Use the thoughts that have infiltrated you. Let them be enough. Don’t try to fill your head up with knowledge that there is no way to access until it accesses you. Go blind. Even with this attempt at explanation I feel as though I don’t know what I mean by living blind. Keep things out. Don’t get caught up inside thoughts because there will always be another thought and then another and then another. In the meantime, breathe… Or something like that, I suppose. I really don’t know what I mean, but I feel what I mean and that means it is trying to enter me. Some higher truth is trying to invade me and this is what I want. Actually, this is what I have always lived for, to open myself up to these truths. In a way I threw away my life to keep myself open to this process. I went to the worlds of these truths and studied the words that at times symbolized them and gathered them up like a farmer gathers his crops. But truths don’t open up for you until they want to. In the meantime you should do what you should do. I should have married and had children. I believe these truths would open up and inhabit me not a moment sooner anyway. But I didn’t look at it this way. I had to be ready. In the meantime I wrote all the truths down. Poem after poem after poem. Gathered them close and sat with them. Not unlike a mother hen sitting on her eggs. Incubating dreamworlds.
Welcome to the inner world. I used to think that I wanted to be an expert on the inner world, went to college for an esoteric inner world degree, wrote words, read books, did everything you’re supposed to do to come to know the inner world. But I can honestly say that I know absolutely nothing about the inner world. With this disclaimer, I will continue to be your guide.
You might ask me why I would want to write about something that I know nothing about. Well, there is really very little else that interests me. It is like fine music, you hear it, but you don’ t know why you love it. I always wanted to know what I was doing when I was dreaming, but it just didn’t work out. After all of the books and all the study, after all of the writing where I journeyed into the inner world, after all of it, I am no closer now to knowing what it is about than I was at the beginning of my trek and this is, well, actually a little embarrassing.
Yeah, embarrassing. Who do you know that spent $30,000 to learn about the inner world by studying mythology and depth psychology only to say these pitiful words about knowing? What is knowing? Sure this is a question that many philosophers have continually tackled and this could be advantageous to the rest of us if we could actually muck through their explanations. Who really has this question in the back of their mind?
Very few people. Not many people sit around wondering about the nature of knowing. When I tried to join the pros I always failed miserably. My questions were my questions and their answers never really did it for me. If I tried to memorize their answers then all I really had were memorized answers. They weren’t the answers to my own questions and my own questions were, I think, much more private, wordless, unconscious.
But like a good fisherman I tried to pull up out of the deep murk all of the answers that I could. I had the impression that the inner world was the same as the outer world. Big mistake. It is nothing like it at all. YOU, the all big YOU of YOU-dom (you know what you are and who), think these same thoughts all the time. You too find it hard to put any of it into words and if you’re like me you want your thought to be eloquent at least, perfect would be fine, like having the highest quality mental state which can only lead you to good things, easy answers, knowing the ineffable. Doesn’t happen. Once you learn something it is swallowed back up by unknowing until you don’t even know what the question was. After all is said and done the old pleasures and needs seem the most reliable. I should have had a family instead of dedicating myself to spiritual pursuits. No, I really should have.
But I can’t sit around and cry over spilt milk. I was taught that the inner world is important and I went down a winding and windy path only to discover, well, nothing. I don’t know anything more now than I knew at any other time of my life. This may be untrue if my mental stability is a sign of having conquered question after question. Knowing became for me a way to be strong and if strong now then I can take comfort in knowing that all of my attempts were not in vain. I am here because I ventured towards the inner world. Just because I cannot see anything of the inside world doesn’t mean that it is not there. It can only be seen through the outer world. Go figure.
If I am to know then I can only know through the reflection of what is in front of my very eyes, for the inner world is invisible, dodgy and unknowable. I think the inner world is what people are talking about when they talk about “God.” God is unknowable. Too vast. Too grand. Too fill in the blank. A flower. A feeling of love. An example of love. You can call God just about anything, choose any nice picture or feeling and you’ve got it. The inner world is the same way.
I could not begin to talk to you about it right now. I guess I could tell you about feelings. They are supposed to be the telltale signs of the inner world. You feel love and the inner world is “blooming,” a metaphor for a state of being using the image of a flower. There it is again. The inner world being described by the outer world.
Why does the outer world always have all the fun? Why can’t we just call the inner world “things” what they are? I suppose that is what poetry tries to do. Finagle words around feelings in the hope that you will show something that will prove that higher thought, an actual wonderful inner world,exists, that there is something under the feeling, the image, the thought, the poetry, and that something is either “you” or “God” or simply the inner world.
Fantasy. It is a need for fantasy I guess. I want to live with invisible toads in something something gardens. I want to mess stuff up, let errors reign so that the invisible world can be exposed as faulty. That’s okay just as long as it is exposed. There is something to that I think. Letting the real inner world poke through. You tend to think that this is the real thing. Just maybe you will find a reason to live. Not that I don’t want to live, but meaning is so important to everybody. Beauty in one’s own soul may just be a proof of meaning as a human being.
I get lost just surmising what the invisible world inside actually consists of. Perpetually the phony. Never have the full on conviction like the others that things are this way or that. Always have to use asterisks to explain everything, have to say, well, I don’t really know, but this seems like the way that it is. I know I want to try and pinpoint these things, but once you bust through and start to use poetry to do it then you are sort of lost. It’s sort of like giving up. But the poetic voice does seem like the truer voice when you are writing about this subject.
How can you know about the inner world unless it tells you about itself? This is assuming that there is a self to the inner world. If so, is it your self? My self? Is the inner world all of the swirling emotions and thoughts surrounding your very core which is just a swirling mass of unknowability? Probably. Sounds right. If so then what do I continue to write for? Seems inane to keep going. But if this were to be a book I would have to continue on and on. My publisher would demand it. So what would I say? The inner world is shown through metaphors from the outer world. Enough. Done. The inner world is a mass of thoughts and feeling which represent the moments of the real ineffable you. Or maybe God. Hmm. Back to being unknowable. So I will continue onward with the trek and find new things to write about. Poetry. Always falling back on poetry.
What is this thing poetry? Most people would say it’s purty words. Others would say it is hyper intellectualism. I guess it can be both of those things. It is definitely an exercise for the mind which is supposed to have importance to the soul. (I guess we’ll get to the soul later. I guess we’ll have to). Obviously we are not very pleased with things if we don’t have some way of registering understanding. Words do that for us.
When you discuss invisible things you of course must find words to express those invisible things so you say things like “the monkey face of the aqua worlds twirl grasses in the welknit of the mind…”you know, crazy things. Why? Because you don’t know! You don’t know what you are doing. You don’t really know of what you consist. The thrubbing and pounding of feeling but not knowing can be way too much for mortal man. The only way to throw off the coil is to face it and come to know it, but when you look, you guessed it, it’s not there. That’s what I mean about the inner world being dodgy. It dodges forever your attempts to throw a good beam of light on to it. Instead it releases little messages to you in code and your brain has to decode those little messages and sometimes it is “aqua worlds twirl grasses in the welknit of the mind.” No really. I really mean it. Then you must decipher that code with another line. Perhaps it can be done. All I know is that you don’t really have much of a choice. You’ve got to do something to come to an understanding of the whirlpool which is your “soul.”
So here we are where I promised you earlier. We’re at the notion of the soul. I could try to remember all of the people who had written about the meaning of the notion of the soul, but being a desperate member of the human race in need of understanding Now, I will not google those things. Instead I will tell you what I think.
The soul is the quicksand in which you drown when you are confused. The soul can be darkened like a burnt piece of toast. The soul can be drowned in all sorts of bad metaphorical liquids, the soul can be burnt up, can be on fire. I’m just guessing here really. But it seems like the soul can do just about anything. The soul is the center of the middle of all that is mysterious. It is where God has coffee with the invisible inner world which is you (but because can be considered a place where God has coffee is possibly a part of God Himheritself.)
Have you noticed that it’s really difficult to talk about the concept of “God?” Have you noticed that yet? Especially as somebody writing to an audience like I am right now. I know how people feel about “God.” But I hate having to do that dance. “God” is simply a part of the equation when it comes to soul and the inner world. Hesheitother is just there like an answer beyond an answer. It is the million trillion mile perspective. The notion that inner world is so inner that ever trying to get to the bottom of the notion with our peanut minds is absolutely ridiculous.
Maybe this is why I have such trouble with this whole inner world thing. I am faced with the idea that at the very end of the line itself is “God” Hesheitorother (according to the beliefs which might make you mad at me if I put it in too awkward a fashion). I don’t know. Even agnostics deal with this. Atheists don’t, but then again, why would they have to be atheists if they could not at least conceive of the notion? It must really drive them crazy, plus all the crap that has entered the world through saints and martyrs and prophets, the loons anyway. You get one good prophet for every twenty loons it seems so you wonder whether any of it is worth it. Atheists have a good point. Let’s just call the whole thing off. But if I am to go into this notion of the inner world I can’t do that. “God” may just be looking over his paper at me right now and I have to say the right thing.
So what to say about God? He lives in the soul. There I said it. If Hesheitorother actually lives then Hesheitorother is housed in the soul. That is the importance of the soul. The house is bigger than the self and the sky where “God” lives is bigger than the house and God can make himself really small and join you in your soul where your inner world lives, I mean self, where you live. You, soul, and the big ol’ Sky.
But of course all of this is invisible so you don’t know who you are in relation to the soul or God and after awhile, well, you guessed it, you try to figure it out poetically or you read book after book or you keep your nose in your holy book in hopes that it will keep you alive through osmosis. Invisible is invisible. “God” doesn’t send emails. Your soul house is a nice little idea and you, once again, are a swirl of emotions and thoughts that will only really let you know what they consist of if you beg them nicely by placing them into words, rather, allow them to be placed into words that sound like, you know, the grasses of the welknit thing.
Isn’t it funny how knowing becomes unknowing in a blink of an eye? We can say that we know something, but the next minute we realize we have no idea what we’re talking about. We might go around for awhile proclaiming that we learned something about ourselves, but then it doesn’t even matter. We’ve moved on. What was the question again?
After awhile, especially if you are losing on the regular playing fields of regular everyday life, it seems to be a nuisance. You wonder why you have to be cursed in thinking the way that you do. Nobody else seems to be that way. Of course, other people also seem to be able to handle the outside world, but you can’t. Your inside world is too vast, too important to you. So you begin to fail. You lose. You can’t join the fray and after awhile you realize that you are sleeping on the ground with a stone for your pillow. That was once claimed as likely to happen for playing this game. But is it really worth it?
Perhaps it is if you are the type of person who might go a little batty if living any other way. Sometimes we have to deal with who we are. Our attention is where it is because that is where it is. Because it is where it is doesn’t mean that we are bad or unworthy or losers, no, but it does mean that it is where it is at and you might just be a candidate for the role of starer into the void your entire life. That’s okay, but you’ve got to be aware that maybe it won’t be all peaches and cream for you. You’ll keep going for as long as you need to and one day you might wake up and realize that you have grown a long beard, have no money, no family and everybody else does and they’re all long long gone. Boo hoo. Navel gazers or star gazers. They don’t know which one you are and you don’t either. You are just who you are and you’d better accept it because at some point you are going to need to pull out of it and go back. Just like the Boddhisatvas in the Buddhist philosophy. Do it and then go home. Give yourself a break and be an all around good guy or gal. That’s your mission. It’s unfortunate in a way because you miss out on a whole lot of things, but some people just don’t have a choice. Often society will reward these people. Maybe it will be you. Most likely not, but maybe. Maybe you too can have love. Stranger things have happened.
Welcome to the world that I know. Am I alone in the world or just alone now? When every thought must ring of some philosophy then that philosopher is living wrongly. Although pleasure should not be the end all of existence, a pleasureable moment should be expected, a breeze, he sounds of birds chirping, the passing over head of an airplane. Too often these sounds make us sad if we are all alone. Loneliness is the biggest problem. That and misunderstanding.
I have spent all of my words. A word has become a dollar to me and I have spent them. And yet I have received no compensation. I have let go of these dollars and allowed the words to remain. Surely words must have some value inside of themselves, maybe even more value than if they were paid for which I no longer for them to be. So now that I have back the useless, monetanetary free word what do I do with them? I suppose they can bring back memory. If I feel that by writing them I can go back into memory and revisit feelings from my past then maybe I will bring back some of that to my life. Those words are valuable because they can present emotions and feelings that money couldn’t have bought anyway. I guess letting go of the hold of the dollar upon my words could have a lot of positive effects. I’m sure, though, that the next time I start to write” seriously” that money will grasp the throat of my words once more and I will lose all joy. I am a failed writer because I cannot help but want to turn the words into cash. I am impure. I am desperate. I am inauthentic. Inauthentic words do not sell.
Maybe some day I will be lucky and have somebody read my words and, although they won’t give me money, they will read them and get something out of them. I am not talking about what I have written in the past. All of that is tainted by my desire for success. I am talking about my future words. Maybe somebody will read them and feel something. Maybe somebody will even pay me for the words, but I won’t have received the money because I was writing for them, but because it was an accidental repercussion of having written honest words. By saying this I presuppose that I am capable of writing honest words. I would like to think that I am. I admit that I am a writer but I have very little to say. I write mostly of moments. I write of where I am at the moment. In society nothing changes. I have no interest in writing about the moments of society. I have no interest in writing about the hysteria of modern man and throwing my two cents in and acting like it matters. It is all a flurry of activity like a bees hive. When the uproar has passed the bees settle down. I don’t need to be a bee. I would rather contemplate on the state of my existence. I first recognized this when I was a young writer, sixteen, when I noticed the way of things. I noticed the breezes, the temper of an afternoon, the sounds of distant dogs, the squealing of children and the silence. That was when it seemed that the spiritual had more sway over who I am than this car manic perplexity we call society ever gained victory over my soul’s needs and fears. I was purer then. I had not given up. I had not transferred my words into slashed s’s, I had hope that the words that I created mattered.
Then I saw the way society takes ( or doesn’t take) our words. I looked at who the stars were, the sixteen year old sex-pots. The wise eyes of seventeen year old heart-throbs who pretend to be saving the world when all of those over thirty have dropped off the face of the earth or at least lost their significance because they could not give the impression any longer of being Barbie’s dream date. Back then I never hoped that I woulde be one of them as I do now, sitting here, realizing that the bee swarm dictates whether or not I am a fruitful member of society or not. This is especially hard knowing that I have a desire to produce a family, to continue my trek in the manner it is meant to go. Having failed to sell my great American tale of love, daring and angst all to be played out in the hip mind of a young American male I sit here and what I think of can be thought of in terms of others, others much different from those who rule the world now, those who the world forgets as soon as they are forced to stop thinking about them: Thoreau, Gandhi, even Christ. In a world where man is not living on bread alone but on every word that comes out of the network’s mouth I feel a readiness to pull back from the electronic words and re-enter the soft spaces, the quiet spaces, the spaces where I used to feel. Where I didn’t ask so many questions of my worth according to mhy profitability prowess or lack thereof. Words, failures of transmissions, emptiness, these are pulling points for those of us who need to be extricated out of the morass of mass communication, those of us who bought into the hype of selling words for fame and money. Those of us who sold out I say forgive yourselves. I’m going to. Now, maybe I will be able to write, be published, maybe even be paid someday, but never again will I strive for those dollar signs if I have to gut the integrity of the words that originally were held so sacred by my naive yet wiser younger self.
How so much this thing that we do. All. Sort of do, but not do, and all that there is left, after not doing. That which…
What next. When there seems to be nothing there still is is. Can we write of what IS when what is Not is not mentioned? Where is the real when…
Put words to what is, that is the the. No other words need apply. So simple this is. This know, this what is, but what isn’t known.
I praise these its, these knowns, for what they are. No words need more be mentioned, but those words that are, in real, more so than is, in that what is known is not real.
Yon precipice. I fall? Perhaps, all the way down to something. Born of something, this more. This fallow morn.