Saturday, September 23, 2023


Nurse. . . Oh Nurse

It was 66 degrees at 5:45.  That's when I got up.  This is the first night in the 60s here since I don't know when.  It is the first day of autumn, too, the equinox, a day of equal daylight and darkness.  You know that, though.  I don't know why I remind you.  Everyone knows weather and heavens now.  It isn't anything mystical.  It is The Weather Channel.  

Me?  I'm hoping for a fresh new start.  My own home state, however, now leads the country in Covid cases racking up 12% of the nation's total.  I will get the vaccine soon, but there are no guarantees.  My conservative friends will not get the vaccine nor the Covid.  That is just how it works.  I am sure it is genetic.  A new study has found that Covid rates among CNN/MSNBC viewers is an incredible 2,000% higher than those among Fox viewers.  

It's just science.  

It is difficult to divide the populace into liberal/conservative categories anymore, though.  I'll probably explain that more thoroughly in a moment. 

As reported, I felt like hell yesterday morning after a horrific night before.  After writing, I decided to go to the gym.  I'd do a medium workout and not stress myself.  I got home in time to shower and head off for my beauty appointment.  I hadn't been hungry, but I forced myself to eat a yogurt.  I should have had some water, too, but I am pretty hydrophobic, to wit: I was feeling tired, weak, and dehydrated when I arrived.  

My pretty little Jewish Russian beautician had put on a lot of weight.  I am never sure how she will look as she is in prep half the time for some fitness competition.  When that is over, though, she puts on some pounds.  I had never seen her this heavy before though.  Well. . . she is getting older, you know.  She is 45 now.  Ho!  

We chatted about the usual things, my lack of a love life, her relationship with the Dominican cop she and her son live with.  He's a macho guy, and she likes that.  He is always busy, never stops working.  She is much the same.  Coming from Russia at a time when Jews were discriminated against, her family was poor and struggled.  And like many immigrants who come to America, they saw opportunity.  All they had to do was work hard and they would make money.  She's a hustler.  So, she says, her "man" and her are well suited.  Work, work, work.  He is building houses on his property that he rents out.  Lately, he has had to hire some workers.  She tells the same story as Tennessee.  Immigrants work.  White Boy Roy takes cigarette and phone breaks and does about half the work of the Mexicans, and he complains about that.  

Now here's the thing. You would think she is a "liberal, but her politics are not.  All her immigrant friends are conservative.  They work hard and they hustle and they believe in Freedom and The American Dream.  They will vote for Trump.  When Biden walks with the striking UAW workers this weekend, he is living under the false idea that they, the union workers, will vote for him.  I am certain he is wrong.  I am convinced that he will be marching with Trump supporters by and large.  

I may be wrong, but I am sure I am right about my beautician.  

When we finished and I was settling up, she gave me the news--she is pregnant.  

Holy smokes!  What?  I was stunned.  

"Are you going to get a ring?"

"That's not up to me," she said.  

Oh, buddy. . . why?  Why oh why?  I kept wondering.  She has a ten year old son.  The father has been a scumbag and a lot of trouble.  Now?  I was doing internal calisthenics when I said, "Well, congratulations, old mom."

"Oh, don't you worry. . . I'll get back into shape after the baby, just like last time.  I will do one final competition."

"No you won't.  You are going to get addicted to potatoes and butter.  Wait. . . what about my hair?!?"

"Don't worry. . . it will be like last time."

Of course. . . it is all about me. 

She's been doing my hair a long time now, long before she had her son.  Wow, I thought.  I never quit anybody or anything, but she is now my longest sustained relationship.  

I stopped by my mother's on the way home.  By now, though, I was very fatigued and famished.  

"You look tired," my mother said when I was leaving.  

"And here I thought I looked good."

Home, I stumbled into the kitchen and ate two pieces of leftover frozen pizza from the night before.  And then I fell into bed.  

When I woke up, I didn't, really.  It was five o'clock, and I was feeling like shit.  I didn't want to cook, so I made a drive to get takeout Greek salad and roasted chicken.  All I wanted to do was sit before the tv and eat.  I was beginning to ache all over.  My skin didn't like the feel of my shirt against it.  I had no fever, though.  Maybe it was just fatigue.  And dehydration.  A quart of coconut water sat on the counter.  I drank it with my dinner.  It was good.  Did I feel better?  Maybe.  

It was six.  I turned on the news.  Then the tv went blank in the middle of the first story about that dirty fucker Clarence Thomas.  WTF?  The cable had gone out.  Terrific.  The night I needed t.v. most.  

I decided at bedtime that I would not take a sleep aid once again.  I was tired.  I was sure I would sleep.  

I was wrong.  I slept fitfully all night long, or so I thought.  When I looked at the clock, it was midnight.  Holy shit!  It went on like this.  At least, I thought, I am not having those despairing thoughts and nightmares.  I'm just tossing and turning.  

Hence, I got up long before sunrise.  

I don't know.  Maybe I should get a dog.  

Today will be gorgeous, and I will take a long limp.  I will buy more coconut water.  I'm a mess, though.  I need some care.  

I think I need a nurse.  

Friday, September 22, 2023


The horror took hold of me last night.  I couldn't stand the night, the inside of my head. . . none of it.  There was pain in my body and despair in my heart.  It was a horrendous and savage night.  

But let's back up a bit.  The day had been fine.  I went to the gym and felt good and strong.  Indeed, my shoulder strength, if I can still call it a shoulder, continues to return now long after the accident.  There are still movements I cannot make, but I am surprised by what I can now do.  

My ribs are another story.  They get worse all the time.  Arthritis, I assume.  But that's another matter.  

After a shower and some Whole Foods sushi (not so good), I headed out for the Cafe Strange to get some green tea.  When I stepped in line, I was behind four kids, two boys and two girls, who were ordering some very complicated drinks.  They seemed like nice kids, but this was going to take awhile.  Something was weird, though.  It was the music.  They were playing an '80s Country Music CD.  I thought to myself (for to whom else would I think?) that the kids in front of me would hate it, but as Ronnie Milsap sang, the girl immediately before me began to wiggle her shoulders in a sexy, country girl way.  I was stunned.  It was more than funny.  

As I waited, I looked around the room as I usually do, and my eyes lit upon a free poetry zine.  This both broke me up and delighted me.  I hadn't seen anything like this for decades, it seemed.  It reminded me of something far away.  I reached back and took one out of the rack. 

Look at that, I thought--Issue 6.  Somebody was dedicated.  I opened the zine to the table of contents.  Well, now. . . this was a throwback.  

W.B., I thought, has been reading Bukowski.  

The kids in front of me got their orders, and I told the woman behind the counter that I would like a hot green tea.  

"Do you want the Premium Blend?" she asked as she pointed to a box.  

"You don't have any of the mediocre stuff?" I laughed.  

"No, no. . . you wouldn't want that now, would you?"  She was grinning and moving a little to the music.  

When I got to my table and settled in, I pulled out my phone.  I wanted to look up the song the girl was dancing to.  I was sure it was James Taylor.  When Ronnie Milsap popped up, I kept scrolling sure that Taylor had done the song.  I was wrong.  I don't remember ever listening to Ronnie Milsap, but I guess I must have.  The 80s was a long time ago, back when people had their hair cut like that.  

While I was looking at my phone, the kids began to line up in the little alcoves to pose for pictures.  It was cute.  They were completely comfortable with it.  I could see the phone as they took pictures.  I watched how they framed up their shots.  Many shots.  They held the button for continuous shooting.  I never do that, but I thought that it would make a good little gif.  

In a few moments, they were finished and then they were gone.  I made some notes in my journal, but I was kind of digging the music myself.  A song came on I had never heard.  The lyrics were funny and made me think of a woman I know.  I jotted down the words and then looked it up.  

Yup.  I knew her.  The girl can't help it.  Ha!  I was tearing up.  

Just then, the room went dark.  I thought the electricity went off, but the music was still playing.  I turned around to look out the plate glass window and saw a black sky and a tremendous storm.  

The room was lit by lantern light. I thought this was going to go on for awhile, and it was almost time for me to head out to see my mother. "I'm not going in this," I thought. I would call her and tell her so. Then, like the snapping of a finger, it stopped. And that was it. The sun came out and things got steamy.

And so I rolled.  

I'm worried about my mother.  She has not been doing well lately, and of course, I can't fix it.  I try to keep things normal.  We talk about our day, our meals, her relatives, my friends.  It is the same every day.  We talk about the garden and the work I need to do in it soon.  She has a big lavender bush that is beginning to bloom, and so we marvel at that.  

"I was thinking about getting ice cream," she said.  

I didn't want her driving, so I asked if she wanted me to get some for her.  I had to go to the grocery store anyway, I said.  

"What flavor do you want?"

She changed her mind several times before she ended on Neapolitan.  

When I got home, the buzz I had earlier was gone.  I made a Campari and soda and sat out on the deck.  I internalize my mother's condition.  My body ached.  I could feel myself fading.  I remembered, however, a text I had earlier, just as I pulled into mom's, and it made me laugh.  

"The girl can't help it." 

I didn't feel like cooking much, so I cut up an avocado and some garlic and put an Amy's frozen organic pizza in the oven.  I fried up a couple of eggs to put on top.  I sat in the t.v. room and turned on YouTube.  Some of my younger friends laugh at me when I say that I watch YouTube.  

"My father used to watch YouTube all the time."

I don't care.  Sometimes, as I eat, I will have it read a short story to me.  The night before, I had watched a marvelous documentary on Georgia O'Keefe (link).  New Mexico was a Mecca for strong, independent women, especially artists, and it is one of my favorite places.  Ili fell in love with it and wanted to move there.  I had never, really, seen her as happy as she was there.  


Last night, I watched a documentary on Dashiell Hammett (link).  When it finished, the YouTube algorithm suggested this (link).  O.K.  I let it play.  James Elroy is the first thing on the screen.  He defines Film Noir.  Kaboom!  I was hooked.  

I had switched to drinking water long before bed and was determined to try to sleep naturally.  That, in hindsight, seems to have been a mistake.  Thinking back, maybe it was watching all the hard boiled noir stuff that did it.  It could be.  That and worrying about my mother.  But, as Elroy says in the opening sequence, there is one message--you are fucked.  Yes, yes. . . that must be to blame, because that was my night.  I was fucked, and I was to blame.  Everyone creates their fate, I thought, and I have created mine.  I wanted someone, anyone, even a femme fatale, to hold me.  I would open my eyes, look at the clock, get up to pee, drink some water. . . rinse, spin, repeat. . . .  

And now I feel like death.  I have a beauty appointment at noon.  What to do?  I could go back to bed and get up later and go, or I could go to the gym now, come back and shower and go.  What I'd like to do is check into a clinic for awhile.  Maybe I've been wrong. . . you know?  About the therapy thing.  I am feeling overwhelmed.  Crises are piling up.  I don't want to deal with them.  I don't think I can cope.  

I guess it might be best to go to the gym.  I can't just lie around and think.  I will be beat, but when I get home later, after the gym, after the beauty appointment, and after stopping at my mother's, I can crash.  It is Friday night.  Tomorrow is the first day of autumn.  I need to be ready.  

For what?  I don't know, man. . . I don't  know.  

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

I can't wake up this morning.  One Advil PM and a Tylenol put me into a coma.  I've become too dependent on sleep aids.  I need to quit cold turkey.  Quit everything, really.  I should go on a three day fast and just clean out the system.  I won't.  It is not appealing to me right now.  But I should.  There should be affordable clinics for such things, places with walled gardens and shade trees and people in white who stroll around and bring you lemon water and ask you if you would like a massage.  AFFORDABLE, I say, and not just for the one percenters.  

I just read that Biden will give status to nearly 500,000 illegal immigrants from Venezuela.  That's JUST from ONE country.  Holy shit!  But we can't have affordable resorts for fat drunks and drug addicts?  

Something's gone wrong.  Terribly, terribly wrong.  

Trump has increased his lead as a presidential nominee.  Why do you think that is?  Who created Trump?  It wasn't real estate.  It wasn't some goofy t.v. show.  It wasn't even a mentally crippled populace.  No.  He was cobbled together in the Laboratory of the Woke.  He is the Liberal's Frankenstein.  

We must look to the words written on the Statue of Liberty.  

"Truth, Justice, and the American Way."

Wait. . . no, that was the opening of "Superman."

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

So much for that.  

I'll tell you a secret, though.  You know who wants immigrants in this country?  Capitalists.  The ones who make the most money off of other people's labor.  Yup.  They need them.  They love immigrants because they will work.  Natural born citizens won't.  At least that is what my builder buddies say.  If you pay them, they work.  White Boy Rodney?  He won't show up half the time.  They can't depend on him.  And when he does come, he spends most of his time scrolling on his phone.  

How did this happen?  Well. . . I'll speculate.  I have some authority in this, but it could be total bullshit.  Let me run it out for you and see.  I think it started with my generation.  We were told that if we went to college, we wouldn't have to work those manual labor jobs.  We could be White Collar boys and girls, Pencil Pushers in the common lingo.  That sounded great, so a bunch of us thought we would go.  So many of us, in fact, that they built about a million more colleges.  Then they gave away grants so that the poor kids could go, too.  Nice idea, equity and equality.  And pretty soon, kids were going to college and using grant money to live instead of working.  You didn't even need to go to school, just sign up and get the money.  When the government got wind of this, though, they saw that they weren't getting a good return on their investment so they made some rules.  They saw that not so many kids who started college ever got a degree, so they decided that they would fund schools based on completion rates.  Of course, college profs refused to pass more students until they realized they weren't going to get raises.  At that point, they resigned themselves and pass rates went way up.  Yay!  More kids were getting degrees.  A lot more.  So many, in fact, that they needed to increase the number of graduate degrees so they could distinguish between those boneheads who skated through a four year degree and those who were actually. . . well, that didn't work.  The same thing happened there.  Colleges began creating grad degrees with the strangest sounding of names.  In essence, colleges became trade schools without a trade.  When the tech industry blew up, you didn't need a degree, just skills.  But colleges began offering more degrees in tech, too.  Kids getting out of school were making more than their parents did in their best years.  Then Covid came and nobody went to work any longer.  Tech REALLY mattered at this point.  And when it came time to go back to work?  Nobody went.  Businesses tried recruiting, but were told, "I didn't spend six years at the community college to work like this."  No ma'am, no siree.  They saw the tech "campuses" with their climbing walls and latte machines and everyone in stretch pants and flip flops instead of loafers, and they read about the hundreds of thousands of dollars one could make as a TikTok influencer.  

So what's a capitalist to do?  Immigrants.  That's who they hire now.  Meanwhile, White Boy Rodney is collecting his disability check or getting some of the Biden Welfare Money.  

That's what the capitalists say.  You know. . . the ones with the big houses and the beach house and the mountain house and the expensive cars.  They hire immigrants.  

"But they are catching on," they say.  "They all want $25/hr. now.  They know they can get it." 

I'm caught between all of this.  I know who is enrolling in colleges now.  I know who the better students are, the ones who actually study, the ones who want the American Dream.  And as I've been saying for many years now. . . they are not the liberals that dems think they are.  They didn't vote for Hillary which was a big surprise for some.  Nope.  

All of that to pose the question. . . who created Trump?  

Or maybe it was the Russian propaganda machine.  What the fuck do I know?  

I hate opinion pieces and editorials, by and large, but here I have written one.  I'd erase it all but I am still too blurry this morning from the Advil PM.  That is all simply drug-addled talk up there.  That's the only possible explanation.  

I was actually going to write about the cat.  She stopped by last night looking a lot thinner than when she came twice a day for feedings.  She was also much friendlier, sticking close by me while I was out.  She's a wild thing, but nature is cruel.  Don't believe in a benign or benevolent order in nature.  It is, as has been said, red in tooth and nail.  All those nature shows I watched as a kid were lying.  Life in the wild is not what anyone but a dolt would desire.  Hell. . . ask those illegal immigrants.  A day's work, a belly full of food, clean water, a toilet, a television, school for the kids. . . 

There I go again.  

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Happy Birthday Boys

Oops!  I'm not good with birthdays.  I get anxious about my own every year.  Perhaps it is because I had only one birthday party as a child, and somehow invitations got the dates wrong and everyone showed up when my parents and I were gone.  That, at least, is the thinking of my Life Coach who talked a lot about "trauma."  Maybe.  But I don't think my parents grew up with big birthday parties in their lives.  I don't think there was much celebrating at all.  My mother doesn't have any childhood photos of herself.  She said there was never a camera in the house.  Consequently, she never thought much about taking my photograph when I was a child, either.  Hereditary sins, I guess.  

Yesterday was Tennessee's birthday.  I had already given him a present, one of the big prints he wanted, but early last night a small group of gymroids met up at the Irish pub to celebrate.  The four of us sat at a small table.  When Tennessee showed up, he said, "nice shirt."  It was one I had ordered from a company he had suggested.  Then he looked down.  "Let's see if you are wearing cargo shorts."  WTF?  I guess I will have to burn all those fuckers so that I am never tempted.  But I wasn't.  No, ma'am, no sir.  I was wearing a new pair of linen shorts cut just above the knee, not too baggy, not too tight.  But I didn't get a chance to crow as the last of our party was just showing up.  

Banter.  Always banter.  After awhile, though, one of Tennessee's buddies happened to walk in and was invited to join us.  And then another.  Now our table was too small so we moved, and as we did, yet another friend of Tennessee's walked in the door.  I was now the only hippie sitting with the Billionaire Boy's Club.  The last fellow to show up was a buck of 39, a known bad boy from a family who owns a very popular national restaurant chain.  Slim, handsome, and confident, if not cocky, he garnered attention with his picaresque tales of. . . not quite romance.  He is a well-known "swordsman."  He is engaged, but the table was talking the over/under on his marriage.  I am such a wank, I don't know a thing about betting and was trying to figure out what was "over" and what was "under."  I am not part of this world though I've brushed shoulders with it for a very long time.  Still, it makes me uneasy the way not doing your homework makes you hope the teacher does not call on you in a math class.  I mean, what could be my defense against their jibes--throwing back smart literary quotes?  

But I am quick witted and can jab and parry, and so it went.  Two Black and Tans, several orders of fried Reuben rolls, and plates of bbq chicken wings later, and I was back home.  The sun was just setting.  

I hadn't taken my phone into the bar, so when I got home, I checked my messages.  Just then, the phone messaged me that it was Q's birthday.  WTF?  Had I put this in my phone at some point?  Maybe.  I keep thinking I should do that for the people I know.  Quickly, I texted Q.  

"Is it your birthday?"


I felt terribly.  I felt guilty.  What could I do.  I sent him happy birthday wishes and dumb electronic birthday cards.  I sent him his horoscope for the day.  But he was off celebrating, I reckoned, and I didn't hear back.  I sent a final message.  

"Today is my Tennessee buddy’s b’day, too.  I gave him a big nude print.  Want one?  Boy or girl?" 

Yeah, I know, but I had been out with smart ass republican brohemes and was still thinking like a decadent party boy.  

Then another message popped up on my phone saying that it was C.C.'s birthday today.  WTF?  Really?  I texted him.  In a bit he wrote back and said no, his birthday was in November.  O.K.  So now I was wondering if it truly was Q's birthday.  Did he just reply "Yes" sardonically?  

I have no idea.  I'm going to have to begin putting friends birthdates in my calendar.  

I got in trouble a long time ago for saying my girlfriend's birthday was a day before or after the actual date.  I think she hated me after that.  She did at the moment, I know.  I believe that was the beginning of the end of the relationship, though.  My old, dead, ex-friend Brando always said that a woman's birthday was more important to her than Christmas.  I guess he was right on this one.  But I have to say I was goddamned proud to even be close.  Hell, my own mother never remembers which date my birthday falls on.  She gets in the general vicinity.  Again, maybe it is an inherited trait.  

When I was foreman at the factory, I hated going to work on my birthday because I knew there would be "a thing."  Sometimes I would take the day off, but when I next came in, there was "the thing."  So I decided that we would put everyone in my department's birthday on the department e-calendar so that we'd all know it was coming up and I would buy a cake and we would all sing songs and celebrate.  Cool idea, right?  Ho!  Two people complained to HR and I was told to take their birthday's down.  When I called IT to see how to do it, they told me it was not possible, that the best we could do was put "Cancelled" on the meeting date.  So that is what we did.  When their birthday's came up, it said "Cancelled."  

I'm telling you, birthdays and I are not friends.  I hate them.  

So. . . Happy Birthday, Q. . . I think.  Maybe.  

I imagine somehow somewhere in all of this I have pissed him off.  Get in line, buddy. . . right behind my old girl.  This is something, apparently, that I am really good at.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Everything We've Known Is Wrong

The a.c. guys finished up in the afternoon.  Things went sideways for awhile.  Something else was broken that they weren't allowed to touch.  They were duct work techs, not a.c., so I had to call the office.  And call.  And call.  Finally, they got back in touch with me and sent to another technician.  

Otherwise, I was just sitting, waiting, so I decided to try to clean up/organize my computer and external hard drives.  I've said many times, I am the least organized person I know, but yesterday, as I weaved my way through jungles of files, I found out that I was getting help--being disorganized, I mean.  Apple.  They had stolen many of my files and put them in "The Cloud."  I don't want my stuff in "The Cloud."  They've decided that that is where my music files belong.  Also many of my photo files.  For a LONG TIME now, I have not been able to find many, many things.  Somehow, accidentally, I am sure, I was able to see into "The Cloud."  I don't know if I could navigate back there again on purpose.  When I got there, holy shit. . . there were things I've been missing forever.  I am clever, and I figured out that I could download them to one of my external drives.  This took a long time.  While all of that was downloading, the duct and a.c. technicians finished up and had me electronically sign confirming that they were stealing money out of my bank account.  I don't want to talk about that.  

When they were gone, I dressed and headed for the gym.  It was two.  When I finished, I went to my mother's house for a visit.  Travis had sent me the name of an attorney who could set up a trust for us, but now my mother had changed her mind.  She had other ideas.  I have no ideas at all when it comes to this sort of thing, so I just yawned and shook my head.  

I was home at the time I usually went to see my mother.  I sat down at the big computer to see if I had gotten all my files downloaded.  I had.  Then I started going through them.  I am overwhelmed.  I don't know how I will ever get them organized.  I am sure you are going to get random bits and pieces of them rather than anything approaching a chronological report.  Selavy.  What's new?  

I showered and poured a beer to take to the deck.  But I felt off.  By the time I had eaten a salad and some leftover soup from the night before, I knew something was wrong.  Belly bloated, I began to ache.  I've been fighting something for days, I think.  It was an early bed.  I took nothing to sleep, nor for the anxiety that I was feeling.  I was dead tired and thought I'd be fine.  I tried putting my head in a good space.  I did that over and over again all night.  

Finally, I woke up for good and still full of anxiety.  The maids come today.  I have to get the house ready.  The gymroids are taking Tennessee out for his birthday tonight.  I already know it is going to be a struggle for me to go.  If I could nap today, maybe, but I don't know when the Wrecking Crew will be here.  

My uncertain life.  I'm absolutely convinced that yours is perfect.  I have no doubts at all.  And I know you are glad to hear my petty trials and tribulations.  It is kind of you, really.  I love you.  

I read a new study today that says all we used to know about everything is wrong.  That's just the way science works, kids.  Don't worry your pretty little heads over it.  Look to the heavens.  Let the planets be your guide.  

Monday, September 18, 2023

Roller Coaster

I'm waiting on the a.c. repairmen to arrive somewhere between 8:00 and 9:00.  They are going to replace my plenum.  Sounds medical, doesn't it?  It is going to cost me a lot of money though it shouldn't.  It will take them quite some time because the a.c. has to be off for a couple hours so the mastic can dry.  Are you still with me?  It is an inconvenience at best and a robbery all around.  

But what can a fellow like me do?

This is one of the scans I have been making.  That's Gregory Hemingway, Ernest's son, in Paris, 1994.  But the story will have to wait.  Yesterday was a roller coaster and I didn't work on the project at all.  

It started with a late morning trip to the exercise course.  And I got high.  I mean really high.  I can't run the course as I have for many years, so I walk it and exercise at the stations.  I've only recently begun doing this again with any regularity, and I was psyched that my strength and endurance keep improving.  Then I walk up and down the pedestrian overpass that spans the highway below.  Yesterday, however, I thought I would try to do a bit of an old man shuffle for part of it.  There are three light posts on the ramp separated by what I approximated to be twenty yards.  I thought to run from one of them to the other.  It felt as though I would tear a hamstring on the first "run."  I mean, my friends, they are very short and tight.  But my knee felt ok.  So I did another.  And another.  And I was sweating and breathing and, dare I say, having fun.  And when I was done, I was high.  I mean I was really high, the old "runner's high" one gets from endorphins flowing.  I had "run" (shuffled) only about eighty yards, but having only limped for the past year, it was like I'd gone for miles.  My whole being felt stronger.  Oh, yea, baby. . . I was coming back.  

Gatorade, a hot Epsom soak, and a shower.  And a nap.  I had told my mother I was bringing dinner that night, but when I woke up, I hadn't started it and now it was going to be rushed.  It would be close.  Into the InstaPot I put six chicken breasts, a bag of mixed beans, then carrots, celery, potatoes, and onions, all chopped.  Salt, pepper, red pepper, and then 3/4s of a bottle of cheap wine I had bought for the purpose.  A little water.  I was still feeling good.  I don't think I was limping as much.  

It was after five when I got everything to my mother's.  I poured a glass of wine and my mother asked if I wanted to sit out for a bit before we ate.  She wanted to talk.  She's not been feeling well, and I can tell that she is struggling.  It is rotten.  There is absolutely nothing I can do.  She wanted to talk about her will.  And she wanted to know about setting up a trust.  I am going to need to find an attorney for this.  I guess I should set up one for myself, too.  Needless to say, I was losing my high, endorphins replaced by something else.  

The dinner was good, but my mother ate little.  By the time I got home, I just wanted a drink.  The sun was setting.  I took a whiskey to the deck.  

I got an email.  The girl who won't ask me out.  It was an obituary.  I couldn't figure it out for a minute.  I didn't know this guy.  Oh, wait. . . it was her father who has been in the hospital with cancer.  Oh, shit.  I needed to write something sympathetic.  Incredibly, Sky was with her father over the weekend making sure she understood his will.  

Shit and death, it seems, are everywhere.  

* * *

The a.c. guys are here now.  Two of them.  Two trucks.  There are already problems.  They told me to call the company.  I have, but had to leave a message.  It's going to be a dogfight, I'm afraid.  They used to be a great company, but like so many others, they have had to beg to get people to work.  Nobody wants to work anymore, just be a TikTok influencer.  After everyone stayed home during Covid, though, who can blame them?  Not even my old pals at the factory are happy anymore.  

Selavy.  Life sucks and then you die.  In between. . . . 

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Looking Back

I spent the day in the house.  I had plans to be a man about town, but that never transpired.  I have been bringing back boxes of prints from the storage unit and in the morning I opened one that had my ex-wife's name on it.  I haven't looked at those pictures for decades.  Once I started, I had to see them all.  It was o.k.  I am not bitter about my life.  I looked back and remembered things I'd not thought of for a very long time.  There were a lot of pictures, and after going through them all once, I decided I needed to scan them.  All I have are the 4x6 inch prints from wherever I took my film.  Most of the photos were taken with a little Olympus XA camera or some automatic thing, and since this was the age before scanners, I guess I didn't keep the negatives.  Weird, right, since I had been a Cracker Jack photographer in college and after?  Well, as happens sometimes, my wife, attracted to the crazy, creative guy, didn't want him to be quite as wild or creative, so I quit playing music, writing, and photographing for most of a decade.  It was the '90s, a time of bad films, "Seinfeld" and "Friends" and "ER".  People were "nesting."  Catalogs were of great interest and everyone was into cookware and home decorations.  Clinton was president and the middle class was urbane.  There were wine rooms and fancy dining, and there was travel.  We travelled a lot.  There were ski trips and hiking trips and much time in NYC where my wife's father had an upper east side apartment he was rarely in.  I had traded a filthy rich girl for a country club girl, marriage, and furthering my academic career.  

I took the box of photos into the office and began to scan.  That doesn't go quickly, of course, and once I had scanned ten or so photos, I would take them into Photoshop and cook them up as best I could.  Of course, some if not many of the prints are not ideal.  These were prints auto-adjusted by a machine and not a human trying for the best exposures.  Some took more time to fix than they are worth, but the music was playing and that always carries me through the hours.  And then it was mid-afternoon.  I hadn't even showered, and I still had to go to my mother's and get ready to go over to see Travis with my box of Cohibas.  

I was at my mother's by four and at Travis's just on time at five.  We sat outside with the Cohibas and some wine and told tales for a couple hours.  Most of them were travel tales.  Travis has been to 97 countries and is looking this year to round it up to 100.  I said I wasn't sure I had interest in going anywhere any more.  

I've been harangued for that a lot recently.  Q has a place for me to stay in Brooklyn next month and keeps telling me I need to come to California.  Sky, too, is adamant I need to go.  Maybe.  There are many factors, though, that go into the equation.  

When I got back from Travis's house, I thought about the box of pictures.  Where am I going to find the time to do all the things I think I need to do?  I am certain that no one is going to write a biography of me, and I thought that maybe I should do it myself.  I have hand written journals and letters and notes and cards that I have kept over the decades, and then there are all the digital files I've kept since the turn of the century.  There are not millions of words.  I'm sure there are billions.  And that takes into account the "Silent Decade" of the nineties.  

As I go through the photos, it strikes me that I am hardly there.  There have not been so many taken of me in my life.  My father, the great romantic traveller, took horrible pictures of the lands we travelled through but hardly any of my mother and I.  I was the photographer in college and have many pictures, but again, I am hardly there.  Then I travelled, and all the photos are of the places I went and the people I met.  Once in awhile, my girlfriend, the one from college and then the one that followed, each relationship of great length, would make a picture of me with a small automatic camera.  The film would go to some automat place and the prints would come back on that pebble textured paper they used to use for god knows what reason, and there I'd be, a tiny dot in the middle of a picture of land and sky.  On the other hand, however, their lives were well-documented.  

I can't write the biography after I die, of course, but, I wonder, should I write it in the third person?  Maybe I'll switch back and forth in a dialog with former iterations of myself as separate narrators.  That could be fun.  But the situation as it occurs right now is that I don't have anything in chronological order.  It won't be a typical biography, not the kind you might read about a famous writer or an old film star.  It would by necessity have to jump back and forth in time.  Hell, maybe even in hours of a single day.  I don't know.  This is just a bug I got up my ass yesterday looking at the box of prints.  

This, for instance, is a photograph of my wife on our trip to London in 1999 where we stayed in an apartment on the top floor of the Penguin Books building.  Her father was president of the company at the time.  The trip should have been ideal, but things were beginning to go off, and by summer we were in the process of divorcing.  I'd have much to say about this if I do begin writing.  I think the photo was taken in the coffee shop at the Tate, but I am not positive.  On the trip, I caught up with one of my good friends from grad school who was working for Sky TV at the time.  She had married an author of history books and was living on the banks of the Thames.  She took us to see Cate Blanchett in "Plenty" at the Albery Theater, built in 1903, then out to the country to look for bluebells.  But there is much scanning to do before we get to that.  It was a most magical time, though, for in the ten days we were there in March, there was never a cloud in the sky.  London, for me, is a bright and cheerful place where people never work but sit out in cafes laughing and drinking until the bars closed at eleven.  Yes. They closed at eleven and last call came at 10:45.  If for no other reason than that, I am an Anglophile.  Or was.  The ten o'clock closing hour is now of a bygone era.  To me, one who is early to bed, it was lovely.  

And here I am, 47 and soon to be divorced, drinking wine on one of those glorious sunny days.  This was the only photo of me in London in the entire box.  I think I was more handsome than this, of course, but I only had one shot, apparently, to prove it. . . 1/60th of a second.  No matter.  I always look like shit in photographs, anyway.  Maybe she was doing me a favor.  Looking back, though, I know that was not the reason.  

I was talking about the photos yesterday with my mother.  She does not watch all the 8mm films that I have scanned and put on a disk for her.  

"Looking back at all that is too disturbing, isn't it?"

I told her I didn't feel that way.  I know that other people do.  I've seen people throw away photos of their "former" lives.  I could never understand it, but maybe I am just too in love with myself.  Isn't there a name for that?  I'm pretty sure I've been called it before.  What was it?  Something to do with the boy who drowned looking at the reflection of himself in the water by moonlight.  

But Jesus Christ. . . how else would you ever know you were here? 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

This Way to the Egress

"Stop me if I've told you this one before."


Life is often repetitious.  The longer you live, the more reps you've done.  Eventually, all you can do is repeat yourself, I think, unless something big happens.  

Q called me last night.  

"Are you driving."


"Of course you are.  That's the only time you call."

When he calls me from his house, though, something bad usually happens.  This is because he puts me on FaceTime and listens to me over speakers.  He has a child and a would-be wife, and they might hear things I wouldn't say in their company.  Of course I wouldn't.  But I'm not talking to them. . . I'm talking to a broheme.  Like that former president once said, "it was just locker room talk."  So when I am screaming out obscenities unfit for delicate ears. . . . 

"You should be grateful I call you.  Nobody else calls you.  You never call me.  I always call to check up on you."

One of those four statements is true.  I even looked back through my phone log to verify what I already knew to be true.  I never call anybody.  There are people I can't call for various reasons.  The rest of humanity, I figure, has no desire to hear from me.  I don't know.  But it is true.  

Later, he FaceTimed me.  Why?  Why do we need to look at one another.  More to the point, I don't want to see myself in the corner of the screen.  I'm always slumped in a chair, phone held low shooting up from my crotch over my belly that is bigger because of the slump, under my chin and up my considerable nose with its deviated septum and god knows onto my half-closed eyes, the lamplight falling from some unflattering angle casting shadows beneath my eye bags.  I don't look at him.  I look upon myself with horror and despair.  

"You're getting grumpy," he'll say.  No shit.  

"Why in the fuck do you need to FaceTime?  

Then I'll see him look toward an open door and he'll say, "Lower your voice."

Last night, he asked me who my favorite critic was.  

"Literary or social or what?"

If we are just using the category "Critic", I'll take Christopher Hitchens for the win.  


"That's like saying 'doctor' or 'attorney.'  You don't go to the neurosurgeon to get your foot fixed.  You don't ask a real estate attorney to defend you in a criminal case.  Lit crits are specialized, too.  I mean, there are those who write great or general overviews of a period or a movement, but these are big, sweeping things."

His point was that we remember artists, not critics. 

"Would you consider Derrida a critic?"

That got me thinking about the whole PoMo "movement."  What a shambles that has made of things in general.  

"Nobody in college reads Derrida," I said.  "They read about Derrida.  They read 'Derrida for Idiots' and the like, essays of explanations of what are considered seminal passages by him.  Then they go out into the world wielding Derridaisms like a bludgeon."

Maybe I said that.  Maybe I just thought it.  I don't know.  When we hang up, I continue the conversation in my head.  I'm more profound there, I think, alone in my cabeza without rejoinder or with only the rejoinders I can brilliantly counter.  I win every argument I imagine.

Between call and FaceTime, I had a text from my Old New Old Friend.  I recounted something she said she had heard many times before.  


"Yea.  I'm a broken record."

Now I'm thinking about the aging writer.  Most people are unable to tell a story.  Some have a story or two that they can tell, but most have only a few witty lines.  There are writers who have that one good book, but after that, they are done.  Then there are the writers who are able to crank out multiple works.  In the end, if they have two good ones, they are successful.  Part of that is because they begin to tell the same story again.  They use different characters and settings, of course, but repetition is there.  It has been noted that Hemingway needed a new lover for every book he wrote.  He wrote the same thing again and again, of course, but he was excited to do it for a new audience.  Fitzgerald had--how many novels?  Two survive the ages.  Faulkner told the same southern tale again and again, but he was brave enough to write it in completely different styles each time.  Joyce, the most important writer of the 20th century, has a collection of stories, two novels and a giant work of gibberish total.  

Even movements are repetitions.  That's how we classify writers, painters, musicians. . . . Romantic, Naturalist, Realist, Modern, Post-Modern--these are major literary movements.  A bit different categories for painters, but the same idea.  Styles, themes, symbols. . . repetitions.  

Holy Christ on the Cross, though, nobody calls themselves a Post-Modernist, do they?  I think not.  What a mess that made.  It was the verbal equivalent of a World War.  Does anyone read those PoMo experiments, those novels that constantly attempt to draw your attention away from the story so well not being told?  Marginalia?  I guess what we got were those illustrated cartoon novels cool profs have made part of their contemporary lit syllabi.  Or even courses.

"The Evolution of the Graphic Novel from the Victorian Era to Present."

I just made that up, but I think it could be a fun course in Steam Punk.  


"Make It New."  That was the Modernist's decree.  They said that when they were young.  Everything is exciting then.  But as the Modernists aged, they, too, became more selective in their interests.  Life is that way, even for the artist.  Balthus, I'll admit, radically changed his painting style as he aged (and aged and aged), but his models remained the same.  You never look at a Matisse and wonder "Who painted that?"  Gaugin didn't vary much, either.  Hemingway's latter work, "The Old Man and the Sea," is really pretty awful, an allegory more than a novel.  It ranks alongside the works of Hurston, I think.  

Blah, blah, blah. 

I should probably shut the fuck up and go gently into that good night.  These become the rantings of someone who has said it all before.  It is inevitable.  We become replicas of ourselves, caricatures of what we once were.  

"Louder this time. . . maybe with a little more drama!"

Or we start sticking our tongues in the mouths of children like the Dali Lama.  The Wisdom of the Aged.  

Trump's a broken record, but he can, in his P.T. Barnum way, still command a crowd.  Barnum, right?  No one has ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American people.  

Or was that Mencken?  

Either way, I'll end with one of Barnum's favorite ploys.

This Way to the Egress.  

* * *

Oh, man. . . I read this just after I got off the phone with you all.  THIS IS POSTMODERNISM!


Friday, September 15, 2023

δεν έγινε τίποτα

Έγινε τίποτα χθες; Δεν μπορώ να θυμηθώ κάτι να συνέβη χθες. Ήταν μια καταστροφική μέρα για τους δημοκράτες, φυσικά, και μια καλή μέρα για το "Planet 2". Το έχω ξαναπεί - Ο Τραμπ είναι ο Τζόκερ. Δεν θα μπορέσουν ποτέ να τον κλειδώσουν. Προς το παρόν, δεν βλέπω κανέναν τρόπο να μην είναι Πρόεδρος το 2024. Είναι αγαπημένος του Βλαντιμίρ και της Κιμ. Penpals και όλα. Αλλά αυτό ήταν όλο στην τηλεόραση. και σε έντυπη μορφή. Αν συνέβαινε κάτι. . . αλλά περίμενε. . . η μητέρα μου νιώθει καλύτερα. Ή ένιωθε καλύτερα. Θα την ελέγξω σήμερα. Μου? Ας μην μιλήσουμε για μένα σήμερα. Το CC είναι στο δρόμο και στέλνει φωτογραφίες από μακρινές χώρες. Έχω ραντεβού για πούρο με τον φίλο μου τον Τράβις απόψε. Αλλά αν έγινε κάτι χθες. . . δεν έγινε τίποτα.

Σκέφτηκα κάτι, αλλά δεν μπορώ να θυμηθώ τι ήταν τώρα. Selavy. Ίσως την επόμενη φορά.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Another Day

Two days ago, I felt like death was overtaking me.  Yesterday, I felt I had put a tiny bit of distance between us.  Today, so far, at least, I feel about like I usually do, just beaten and broken and disenfranchised.  It is quite a relief.  

But my mother is not feeling well.  I won't go into it, but it scares me.  Yesterday, I could tell it scares her, too.  She had that far away look in her eye.  And yet, she worries about me.  

"I was reading about long Covid.  There are people who have it for years.  When you don't feel well, I wonder. . . ."

In truth, there are days that I do, too.  One tries to fight and ignore physical ailments, of course, but I think that when the emotional traumas get to be too much, the physical issues become apparent.  I don't know why the National Institutes of Health hasn't contacted me about this.  I think I could really help them out.  I'm full of theories.  

If my mother isn't better today, though, I'm carting her off to the doctor.  And that scares me for I know that they are not always good all the time at what they do and some are never really very good at what they do at all.  Hiring a doctor is like hiring a plumber or a carpenter or a car mechanic.  You just have to trust because you don't know how to do it yourself.  And it seems, you know, sometimes the work turns out  shitty.  

As a factory foreman, I know that the people I hired were not all good at everything.  Some were middling and others were good at one thing and terrible at another.  I dated an attorney (well. . . more than one) who said she was shocked at how sloppy and just plain bad many lawyers were at their job.  I realized too late that the expensive attorney I hired from a big downtown law firm when I got divorced was very bad.  

What are you going to do?  You always hope the chef at the restaurant washes his or her hands. . . but you never know.  By and large, all of it is like playing lotto.  

Trying my best, however, to feel "normal," after my workout and after a soak in the tub where I kept falling into a deep sleep, I pulled myself together, somewhat, and went to the Cafe Strange for some green tea.  I saw myself reflected in the big plate glass windows as I got out of the car.  "WTF?  Look at that loser," I thought for a second until it hit me.  I wasn't just feeling bad.  

When I stepped inside, there was a fellow standing at the counter before me just finishing up.  The girl behind the counter looked at me and asked, "Green tea?"  A little shock ran through me like I had grabbed the handle of an ungrounded refrigerator (which you would not know about unless you are of a certain age--unpleasant but not dangerous) as I realized that maybe I had become a "regular," one of "the Strange."  The thought was discomfiting.  

The man before me finished and stepped away from the counter, and the girl asked, "Honey?"

"No," I said.  "I am drinking green tea because it is supposed to help you lose weight."

"It's not working?"

I paused, then laughed.  

"That wasn't a question, was it?"

She just looked through me.  That fellow reflected in the plate glass windows had apparently followed me in.  

I don't drink enough water.  I never have.  Not if you believe the whole 64 oz or more a day theory.  I don't even come close.  But you know, if you count coffee. . . maybe I get closer.  I've read that coffee counts.  I know the green tea must.  And I must have been thirsty because it didn't last too long.  Maybe, I thought, I haven't felt well because I have been working out so much more of late and am still not chugging water like I should.  Note to self.  

While at my mother's, Tennessee texted.  


I assumed he wasn't making fun of me and responded, "When?"

I wasn't really feeling like going.  I was tired.  I'd fallen asleep in the tub.  I had felt overtaken by weariness at my mother's.  But I didn't feel like going to the grocers and coming home to cook, either.  Tennessee was already there when I walked in.  And he had chatted up the waitress.  She was grinning at me devilishly, so I knew he had already turned me into a cartoon character with her.  That's the game, though.  

"Can I get you something to eat?"

"Have you ordered?" I asked.  


"I can give you mine.  I'll have the Mahi sandwich and. . . . "

"We're not serving the Mahi tonight."


"Yea, the chef likes to change it up."

"That's moronic. . . ."

"We have a chicken sandwich."

"Get the chicken, Bud."

"O.K.  I'll have the chicken.  And I'll have a glass of Chardonnay.  Don't stand on your tippy toes to get it.  Pull it off the middle shelf."

"Chardonay?  Ha!  Bring him an ice cube, too.  He likes to have an ice cube in his Chard."

The waitress giggled.

"Really?  You're going to side with him?"

The waitress was enjoying Tennessee to my dismay.  

A plate of oysters arrived.  I grabbed my phone.

"I need to send a pic to my friend."

I cooked it up and sent it on.  A minute later--"Are you trying to seduce me with food porn?"


Food and drink and banter.  I was feeling better.  We swapped barbs and secrets then went back to my house for the after dinner drink.  We had started mercifully early, and as the sun was about to set, he headed home.  

I poured a whiskey and sank into the couch.  There were texts to answer, but it would be an early night.  The fatigue that I had pushed away was coming back.  I thought about my mother.  Fuck.  Then I thought about myself.  Tomorrow would be, as they say. . . .  Sometimes all we can do is rely upon those trite expressions.  

It is now tomorrow.  And, as promised, it's another day.  

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Waiting on a Friend

This is a fella waiting on a friend.  CC.  He is going to be traveling with his wife for the next two months.  I thought about that.  I've never traveled for more than six weeks at a time.  Two months.  It will be strange to come home.  Still. . . home is home.  

The fellow in photo, once a constant traveller, hasn't traveled anywhere in years.  People tell him he should go somewhere, he says.  All the time.  He wonders.  He is tired, he says, and just wants to sleep (perchance to dream?).  Ay.  What can one look forward to after it's all been done?  

A good burger, perhaps.  CC treated me to lunch.  He said it was his turn, but I don't remember.  I let him because he is making $cha-ching$ working in theater.  Now he is taking all his hard earned cash and turning it into experiences.  It will be a slow moving agenda, he says.  They will travel leisurely.  

Maybe there are lessons to be learned. 

Ah. . . but a burger and onion rings and a good IPA.  It is like traveling to distant places.  How many years since onion rings?  How often a burger with bleu cheese?  

"Would you like water?"

"Do we look like the kind of fellows who drink water?  People who drink water look healthy, handsome."


I decide to buy tulips for the table.  How long since tulips?  They remind me of love. 

"You need to go somewhere.  Get out of the house."

"I have invitations."

"You should go."

Old CC will make a go of it.  

"I don't know.  Maybe in October."  

Velleity.  That's a good word.  

“It was another country. . . and besides, the whore is dead."

But my memory was faulty.

Thou hast committed—
Fornication: but that was in another country,
And besides, the wench is dead.
               The Jew of Malta
"Hamlet."  "The Jew of Malta."  "Portrait of a Lady."  

Oh how I write of burgers, beers, and tulips.  

I think I may have caught something.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Maybe Something Will Happen

Nada y pues nada.  Campari, soda, and lime over ice.  The heat before the storm.  Mother made me a salad of spring mix, red onion, halved cherry tomatoes and grapes.  I added avocado, kosher salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Grilled chicken thighs and Brussels sprouts.  I haven't grilled chicken for a long while.  I won't again, I think.  There are many better ways to serve it.  And the Brussels sprouts are better steamed.  The salad was the highlight.  

Then thunder in the distance.  Closer.  Than the storm.  The rain against the windows sounded like hail.  

The lights blink, then the power goes out for a few seconds.  Everything electronic in the house must reset or be reset.  

I go through a new stack of prints on the living room floor.  An impossible number.  I begin to grow weary.  I can't decide.  Who can decide? 

The evening ennui.  The evening fear.  The evening madness.  

Bed.  I never have trouble falling to sleep.  I wake.  Just past midnight.  Good god.  Again at four.  Troubled dreams--or are they thoughts?  Anxiety resides there.  A painful knee.

Up after seven.  Not awake or not well?  Coffee, the news.  I read only the odd things, nothing about politics across the land or around the globe.  Nothing about disasters.  I don't need eyewitness accounts.  

More coffee.  A hunting dog races across my deck, circles around the garden nose to the ground.  I step outside.  He belongs to a couple up the street, but he has only a red paper collar like the ones they put on your wrist in the hospital.  Is it the same dog?  I yell at him, command him to come.  I'm not sure it is.  He jets past me down the alleyway behind the house.  

Then it's time to write.  

Nada y pues nada.  

I'm having lunch with CC today.  Maybe something will happen.  

Monday, September 11, 2023

Somewhere Pulses Quicken

A wild animal citing?  Indeed.  It's the feral cat!  After a week and a half, she showed back up looking none the worse for wear.  I found her looking through the kitchen door when I got out of the shower.  What the devil?  Where had she been?  I grabbed her bag of food and went out to the deck.  She looked at me and meowed as she always does when she wants food.  No other time.  Just then.  I dropped food in her bowl and she set about eating as always.  And then, when she was finished, she sauntered off, not sticking around to commune for a second.  

I'm not her boy, I guess. She found something better.  Story of my life.  I can't keep a girl to save me.  

I'm still struggling with the void.  I can't figure out how to configure things on my site.  Google needs me to write for them.  I'm guessing their instructions are written by someone in Japan.  Have you ever tried to put a grill together?  You can't do it.  Nobody can except the guy at Home Depot who does nothing but.  It doesn't have to be that difficult, but the grill instructions are like the menu on a Sony camera.  Ridiculous.  

So maybe you are reading this or maybe you're not.  I'm going to need to hire a tech guy to figure this out.  Where do you go to hire a tech guy?  Oh, don't worry.  I'm a clever boy.  I'll figure that out. 

I've continued going through prints.  When Tennessee came over, we went through them for an hour, just part of one of many tubs, and hardly made a dent.  And I'll tell you what--I am a pretty good. . . good what?  It's not just the photography.  It's the treatment, the after-product.  Whatever it is I am talking about, I was pretty good at it.  

I have three friends whose wives have seen some images on their husbands phones.  They want me to photograph them.  I take it as a testament to. . . something.  Not that my images are glamor.  Anything but.  I have people be weird and plain and somewhat strange.  Still, for all of that, people trust me.  

Had I a studio, of course. . . . 

Maybe I'll get a benefactor.  

I should report that I left the house yesterday.  I exercised hard and long and fought back against this mighty depression that engulfed me.  For most of my life, if I began to feel anxious or blue, I would just put on my running shoes and get out into the fresh air.  I still haven't given up on the idea of being able to run again.  I should, but I haven't.  To run and jump and twist and shout.  It is the best defense for me against the absolute absurdity of existence.  

Maybe that is why I make absurd pictures.  Maybe that helps me, too.  

Exercise, looking at prints, and dinner with mother.  There is little of interest there.  I am of fading interest, too.  For a very long time, I knew something spectacular was going to happen to me on an almost daily basis.  You wouldn't believe me if I told you the truth.  My fashion friend would, of course, for her days have been even more so.  I believed in her, but holy shit, she exceeded imagination.  Q's had a pretty good run, too.  He called me yesterday to crow about his connubial bliss.  Now Date Night really blows his skirt.  He says he's writing his blog again, so I guess I'd better link the Q.  I'm sure you'll be able to read all about it.  

My friend, Travis, too.   

Now, though, for me. . . I need to quit expecting the spectacularly and wondrously unexpected.  These are remarkably unremarkable times.  Still, a young girl somewhere, is leaving an exciting note under the windshield wiper of some lucky boy.  There are smiles and giggles.  Pulses quicken.  

I can't even keep a fucking cat.  

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Getting Straight

Oy!  I've lost another day.  And night.  Today. . . you know. . . start anew.  High bar.  Rigid standards.  Right action.  All of that.  

To whom do I speak?  To what end?  I'm still singing to the void.  

Google. You're either tech savvy or you're little people. I need an IT engineer to fix my blog problems.  

I just got lost yesterday and then spiraled downward, into the evening, into the night.  

But it will be nice here today, they say.  I must make myself get out of the house and into the air.  It is ever more difficult.  

Movement.  Tea.  Vegetables, grains, legumes.  A good attitude.  The stiff upper lip.  

I hope this reaches you and finds you well.  Best wishes, 

Saturday, September 9, 2023


I'm not excited to write this morning.  I feel disconnected.  I don't even know if you will be able to read this.  Google has changed something and I don't know how to do what I need to do to fix it.  If this does reach out to you through the ether, I won't know.  It is as if I am back to writing in my journal.  Well. . . I've doet that for many years, so. . . .   

It is only an indication again that I am not in control of this publication.  

I was muzzy yesterday for sure, but I made it to the gym.  Late.  I texted Tennessee and told him so, but when I got there, he hadn't been seen.  Hmm.  About half an hour into my workout, however, he walked in.  

"Dude. . . you won't even believe what I did last night.  After I left your house, I got a text from my buddy that I needed to come over.  They were planning his bachelor party.  My wife said I should go."

Now I knew this was bullshit.  He spent half his time on his phone while we were fucking around.  He said it was his wife wondering when he was coming home, but now the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.  He left my house because his buddy was texting him to come over.  

"I didn't get home until three in the morning.  I was sick.  I'm still dizzy."

I wasn't feeling "all that" myself.  

The afternoon was rolling on by the time I finished, got home  and had eaten lunch.  I lay down for a nap, and much later when I woke, I took a hot Epsom Salts soak and shower.  It was after four.  I tried to call my mother to tell her I would not be over.  I poured a Campari and soda and went to the deck.  There had been a tremendous downpour earlier in the day, and now everything was cool and green.  Plants had already sprouted new leaves.  I lit the remainder of last night's cigar.  I was limp as somebody else's noodle.  

The phone rang.  It was a good work friend who was now a VP at a college in Virginia.  She was in town.  We were supposed to get together at the Pig for a drink on the 8th.  I answered.  

"What are you doing?"

"I'm drinking a Campari."


"On my deck."

"You need to get up to the Pig," she said. 

"I thought we were supposed to get together on the 8th."

"Yea.  It's the 8th."

I was shocked. 

"Really?  Jesus."

"I'm not going to stay long.  You need to get up here right now."

"O.K.  O.K.  I need to put on some clothes and call my mother, then I'll come up."


I called my mother.  This time she answered.  I heard someone in the background.  Her 99 year old neighbor was asking her to come over for a glass of wine.  She was leaving for good in the morning.  Some other neighbors were already there.  Good, then.  My mother was otherwise engaged.  

I didn't want to go out, but it was o.k.  I didn't want to cook, either.  My friend was at a booth with her sister and another woman I didn't know.  I had last seen her sister many years ago at the same bar but when it was in another location.  The old place was much groovier.  She is the younger sister and is a bit of a looker.  She is, by her sister's reports, a lot crazy, too.  Believable.  

I slid into the booth.  Hellos and introductions.  The waiter arrived.  I ordered a Mahi sandwich and a chard.  

"I'm as limp as a noodle," I said.  "I just got out of a hot soak in the tub."

I was sitting next to the sister.  

"Show him your comic book," my friend told her.  She passed me a handmade book of cartoon panels.  As I opened it, she began to explain it to me.  It was about a fellow she didn't like.  I didn't follow it all, but he was a villain of some sort.  He was stupid and he stunk.  

"That's a hell of a curse."

"I don't stink," she said.  "I smell good."

"Here, let me smell you."  I was leaning in to tickle her neck with my breath but she held her arm in the air offering her armpit.  What the hell?  I leaned in.  Then, slowly, I straightened up and looked at the table.  

"What do I smell like?"

I grinned.  "Patchouli and klonopin."

Quick as lightening, she said, "CK Klonopin, please."  

I giggled.  "You're clever," I said almost under my breath.  

It had begun.  The woman I didn't know kept checking her phone.  I learned that she was sad and anxious, that her husband of seven years had disappeared leaving only a note.  She had tracked him down and he was supposed to come over that night for a talk.  Then he texted and said he wasn't going to come.  Then, a bit later, he said he would come.  

"Fuck him," I said.  "Tell him he's a piece of shit and you don't want him around.  If comes over, punch him right in his goddamned nose.  Tell him he's a loser and nobody will ever want him." 

Her eyes popped open.  They were lit.  The girls at the table were in agreement.  It came out that all he did was play video games.  

"Video games?  Are you shitting me?  Jesus Christ girl. . . L-O-S-E-R!"

Well, she wasn't the only one at the table having troubles.  My friend's sister was getting out of her long term relationship.  She and her boyfriend had built some kind of engineering firm selling something, and in 7 months, she said, it was a million dollar business.  Now she was going to have to figure out how to split the house they both owned and the business which, as it turned out, was in her name.  

Sooooo. . . . . 

My friend said I had her dream house, that it was beautifully decorated, etc.  

"My house is, I'll bet, like yours.  I like art. . . . "

"C.S. has a lot of wonderful stories.  He's led quite a life."

"You should write a book about your life," the sister said.  

"I do.  Every day."

"I write, too.  I write poetry.  Do you want to read some of my poetry?"


She turned to me quickly.  "Why?"

"Because I won't like it and I will have to say something nice about it and I don't want to.  I'll wait until it is published in the Norton Anthology."

"He's a wonderful photographer, too," said my friend.  


"What do you photograph?" 

I was looking at my friend, thinking.  

"Naked women," she said.  Now she had seen my photography hanging in my office, big 36"x24" framed prints, one of a boy, one of a girl, both in their underwear.  She had seen some, too, in my house, but none of them were nudes.  

The sister and the friend looked at me.  I laughed.  

"Do you shoot on film?" asked the sister.  

"Both film and digital." 

"Do you develop your own film?"


"Can you teach me.  I really want to learn."

"It's easy," I said.  

"She can come to your house and you can teach her," my friend said.  

Suddenly I saw a warning buoy in my mind's eye.  


"I'll come over any time."  

My friend was grinning.  The room was spinning.  

"I don't know," I said. "How long do you plan on staying?"

"As long as you want."

"Oh sure. . . I can hear you now.  'What do you mean?  I'm not leaving.  Why would I leave?  This is my house now.'"

She was great.  With enthusiasm she played right along.  She got the head bobble and the crazy eyes.  She did smell nice.  I glanced down at her legs.  I imagined many things.  It scared me.  

She'd been to therapy, she said.  She wouldn't do that anymore.  

"Therapy?!?!?  Jesus Christ!"

They all scowled at me.  They had all been to therapy.  Now they were right as rain.  

I looked at my friend.  "C'mon.  You're kidding, right?  We both know therapist.  Really?  Stan says he falls asleep sometimes when clients are talking.  He has to tell them that was good, but could they rephrase that and say it in another way.  You know that.  What?"

She laughed.  She had heard such things, too.  She knew it was true.  

"And what about Molly?  Who in the fuck would want to listen to her and her bullshit happy therapy stuff?  Would you?"

I did not consider Molly an intelligent person.  

"Oh, we'll have fun," said the sister.  "I'll come over." 

"Just call him," said my friend.  My phone lit up.  A text.  Her sister now had my number.  

Then, just like that, they called for the check.  They were going to a concert and had to get on the road.  I was having fun, then they locked up the brakes.  Shit.  

I pulled out my card.  Nope.  No dice.  The sister was paying.  

"Business expense," she said. I tried, but it was no use.  

The friend stood up.  

"You don't have to hit him, of course, but be strong.  Don't be weak.  Nobody respects weakness."

I followed my friend and her sister to the parking lot.  My friend hugged me and told me she loved me.  Then the sister.  It was a passionate hug that was sure to leave me sad.  It felt too good.  When we disengaged, I looked at her.  Sure as shitting, she was crazy.  My kind, if history is any indicator.  

When I got home, I waited for a text.  My friend wrote saying how much fun she had.  I wrote back some beautifully written stuff.  I waited for a text from the sister.  

Ha!  Of course. . . I'm still waiting.