Posts Tagged Great Books

The Mind’s Empty Darkness

Compelled by absence
from my pen
the poison of a slated trap
of an iPad keyboard,

Shitty one word thoughts,
I read, I stop reading,
I read, I tell others
to read.

I want to learn, become real,
but the grease of a refinery
broken down by deadly fog
has stilled my mind
so I am fearful of the empty notebook.

I order myself to write
an essay on the deleterious
squeeze of a persistent depression,

but I cave to a fear of narcissistic
rage, so how can I help? I hold
out my hand and I should cure

the mud from millions of horses
in a wet November Ohio valley.
I should sweep away the bags
of compost from the surface

of my almost-human construction,
and after all, I need to go read,
to go learn
before I ever write again,

and pray that death will
not stop my project, that
someday I might write.


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Sacked by the Orange Frog and Bombed by the Baggy Vicious Bird

There is an orange frog,
with furry skin, not slimy,
with that forked tongue,
just two tines, nothing
useful, but those sharp tines,
they stole my eyes, and
black cotton weaves, like
old baseballs, sit in the
sockets, reaching for love,
looking up, not seeing, but
feeling the bird in descent,
like a hawk by the sound,
and he lands on my desk,
cackling at me as the Russian
infantry marches on sidewalks
made of donut glaze, whistling,
the infantry, a tune that’s
sad, dedicated to all of the
aromatic corpses they carry
like so many sacks of flour,
as the old bird squirts his
liquidy shit, reminding me
of all of the soldiers inside
this building who, it only
seems, are working to
make me more meaningless
than I was, if it is possible
to be more meaningless
than meaningless, increasing
the hopelessness, and I can’t
jump out my window, finish
it all, for it’s sealed, the window,
and there is more worthless
work to be done while the
trillions of gray cannon balls
drop from the ceiling tiles,
indefatigable symbols of
my lack of hope.


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Bad Writer Stopped Writing

I’m not on strike. I’ve been reading Sylvia Plath‘s The Bell Jar, and the writing is so damned good, I get overwhelmed and feel such a waste. I dream of communicating what’s in the heart as she did, and she thought it wasn’t a very serious book (HA!). She haunts me. She’s not the only one.

I try to learn from her. Every sentence is perfect. Every sentence makes me laugh or makes me cry. Sometimes I read a sentence more than a dozen times just to soak it in. In the end, I feel such a waste, like a gold fish in a shark pond, but I retain this love of writing. I cycle like this. I long to create, realize I can’t, spend great amounts of time with great art, and then get tired of not participating and long to create again. I’ll be back soon. Maybe tomorrow. I don’t know.

When I was in music school, one day my composition professor and I were having one of our modernism discussions and he asked me, “Have you thought about doing something else?” To this day, I find that hilarious in the obscenely funny honesty, but I always remember it with distinct sadness whenever I don’t measure up. I know that no one could measure up to Plath; there was only one Plath, but I just want to be decent. Well, I am doing something else. I have a day job, and I’m pretty damned good at that! They like me; I color inside the lines.

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My Day (this is getting out of hand) in Bullets

  • People were greeting me today.
    • The lady who lives alone was painting her house. She said “Hi” but she looked at me with a terrifyingly dark expression. I don’t know what she was thinking.
    • The speed-walking, handsome, young couple was scared of my dogs. My dogs wanted to lick them and get rubbed. It was at the end of the walk and the dogs’ muscles were sore.
    • The lady with three pugs had no control over her dogs. With all glowing respect to all of the wonderful pug lovers out there, these dogs were simply ugly as Detroit River water. One of them ran up to us like it was going to blow dog snot all over us, but Harry gave one of his alligator roars and the poor thing ran away with his tail between his legs.
      • My poor Daisy, she does almost everything with tail between legs. I think she’s anxiety-ridden about something terrible happening to her butt hole, and I really cannot blame her for her sensitivities. I think she had a bad butt event before we adopted her at the pound.
        • If you want to catch Daisy with tail up, offer her a treat or let her get into a wrestling match with little Pixie. Pixie is submissive with Daisy but that’s because Daisy acts and sounds as if she is going to rip poor little Pixie’s tummy out through a hole in her throat or straight through her tiny black ear.
        • Daisy plays gently but she sounds like a Tasmanian devil.
      • It is strange that many dogs leave the butt hole exposed. Thinking of this, I am grateful for my clothes.
  • If I really wrote my day in bullets, it might be thousands of bullets. You would think most of them would be boring as well as being stupid as hell, but they are the diesel engine trains running in and out of my sick little mind and they entertain the shit out of me, though sometimes in an inordinately depressive way.
    • Can you be entertained by depressive thoughts? Yes, Molly, you sure can be, but it is not the thing the normal person thinks of entertainment.
    • It is the snake pit of trails running all around telling me I’m the worst. Not entertaining, but it keeps me busy.
    • If the thoughts keep me busy enough, I don’t take dire action.
  • I know what refrigerant means; I know what recovery means; I know what systems means, but I have no idea what you do if you run the “Best Refrigerant Recovery System Company in the Heartland,” (especially since the truck was parked in a big field where all of the earth movers were going crazy). I also think I know what “Heartland” means, but I believe it is a grotesque misnomer for reasons we won’t get into in this forum.
  • One family in our neighborhood has about 24 feet of a L-shaped, white picket fence in front of a sparsely decorated porch and a smaller-L-shaped sidewalk that does not (the fence does not) have any white pickets. I don’t mind the missing pickets, but the missing pickets left rotting wood so the shadows of the pickets are there and they make me anxious. Something terrible happened when someone was fitful with anger. I try not to judge, but really, a quart of white paint and an hour of time would remedy this, but the fence occupies its worthless geography in this manner for years. I try not to judge because I should be judging my house. I have a scroll full of projects to work on.
  • Many have said that writers must be absolutely honest. Hemingway was most poignant, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Writers must be truthful or it won’t be good with the reader. That drives me like the severest challenge.
    • I’m not a writer, but when I sit down to write, I think about honesty before I write the first word. I like doing that. It’s a dare to me. When I’m honest, I’m vulnerable, so I need to feel comfortable with allowing people to laugh at me and be disgusted with me.
      • Dogs who lie on their backs with all four in the air, tummy exposed, are exhibiting their complete trust in the others around them.
      • Harry does this all of the time. I don’t think any animal ever violated Harry’s trust. Good for him.
    • Trying to be honest when one is writing leads to a terrible narcissism, but does one really know any truth aside from the one that is inside one’s own heart (sorry for the quaintish word)? I think not. I believe the rest of the world is a stage of deceptions that throws us in and out of boats full of chaos.
    • When my writing is not clear in some fashion, it is often because I am unwilling to be honest. (Fear creates the unwillingness. I don’t want you to be disgusted with me.)
    • After reading my poetry, many would say I am never honest, but this is honestly not true.
    • Until I started learning about true honesty with oneself, the kind that only happens when you dig so deeply into your heart, it hurts and you blubber cry, I had thought that I was honest. Now I think I am about 87%, perhaps more, but I am quite honest with others, to a fault.
    • I try not to hurt others and that’s when I become incompetent, with a horrific lack of honesty, throwing my moral compass in the bushes.
  • The earth movers at the school were moving massive amounts of earth today.
    • (They are building a new school behind the old school when the old school was just fine and they wonder why they can’t afford teachers and books.
    • At least our children will be held in beautiful prisons.)
    • Can you imagine the brains of the guy who invented the first earth mover? I am positive he was a crazy man.
    • I’m embarrassed that I am in such grand awe of earth movers.
  • On our walks, I dilly upon many oak trees. Most of the trees are soft wood trees with morbidly bizarre trunks showing the emotional stress of trying to live in America. But the oaks, oh my, they overwhelm me with a seeming natural perfection.
    • Oaks are stronger than anything man makes, but they are not stronger than F-5 tornadoes.
    • Sometimes, I feel myself approaching a sturdy oak, with a trunk diameter of perhaps three feet, and I hug the oak, it comes out of the ground, greets me with warm energy that flows deeply and seems to assure me that the tree will protect me from anything that life is about to throw at me (except for an F-5 tornado).
    • The oak doesn’t hug back but it shoots energy into me.
    • I can carry it upright, sideways or perpendicular to my path depending upon obstacles.
    • It’s whacked-out crazy to imagine I might be as sturdy as an oak by merely bringing the oak with me, but it gives me security like a blanket.
    • When I was at my worst this last spring, I had these continuous visions of the noose from a horizontal branch that was sturdier that you can imagine.
      • I don’t know why the sturdiness was such a core part of these visions.
      • I am glad they (the visions, the permanence of nasty game-planning) are gone.
      • I hope they don’t come back.
  • When I have a day off from work, that is when I dream about becoming a writer. I know better, but for a few moments, the reflection comforts my soul.
    • Buying lottery tickets is not a good game plan (speaking of bad game-planning) for comforting the soul.
    • If one did win, can you imagine not having to deal with the meaningless world?
    • One might escape the meaningless world for a much more dreadful meaningless existence.
    • If that happened, I wonder what I would write about.
    • I’d probably write about how I don’t contribute anything to the world.
  • Exercise is good for me. It fuels my imagination and makes me have crazy (good crazy) thoughts.
    • I wonder if other people have crazy and mad thoughts streaming when they’re walking.
    • I theorize that I somehow lose the stream of the plagues of “this American life,” and quickly, magically, I am alone in my own world where nothing hurts and where despair is a word that has been removed from my dictionary.
    • I’m not really a loner, but I love that feeling of being in my own world.
      • One time I took a substance that made me feel as if I were in my own world and that scared the tamales out of me.
      • Don’t get me wrong, it was a blast, but I was too scared to do it again.
  • When I listen to “Cassandra Gemini” from Frances the Mute by The Mars Volta, I am transported to this state of being where everything is heading for the final crash that permanently snuffs out the lights, or quite on the opposite end, I am headed for this massive peak to spend the rest of eternity sitting and breathing air that is like diamonds with a mind that is empty like the universe but more beautiful. It seems impossible that a piece of art could do both of these things at nearly the same time (within seconds, yanking back and forth), but it’s true for me. The words are not satisfactory, but they are the truest thing I can say about that piece.
  • It seems that I love art by artists who have also suffered from depression. Other art seems phony. I wonder why this is.
  • I love reading books but I love it so much, I always find four other books I desperately need to read while I am reading today’s book.
    • Thus, I have a lot of books going.
    • The resulting mental gymnastics is good for my aging, toasted brain.
  • Sometimes, after the good exercising (of the body, even if this is simply a vigorous [my doctor’s word for it] stroll) and after the panting has stopped, I love seeing how my dogs have arranged themselves for the mid-morning nap.
    • You can view the fact that they are living right.
    • I love that.
    • You can see that there is not one thing that is wrong in their worlds and that is absolutely magical to me.
    • Perhaps in this way, it is like watching a baby sleep.


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Reunions, Smashingly Safe 100

I listened carefully. Parish. They have reunions. He said helacious drinking. It was 50 years. When 68, do some drink helacious? Helaciously. I drank helacious(ly) 15 to 41, a brilliant downhill stretch. Glorious – I don’t remember much.

Go, don’t go. Purpose: laugh and watch grand pianos swim in the pool with giant bottles of vodka. Don’t go, but what about sister? Go see sister. Stay home on couch with a book – Imagine the whole world doing butterfly inside your head. Nothing outside of your home means a fucking thing. That’s what I like. Stay home. Read. Pray.

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Grabbing All the Bad for Himself 100

Jerry is leaving, peaceful. Good day, productive, boss thought he was leaving too early but today is shrink day. Jerry likes leaving 45 minutes for that drive but he left 40 today. Tool Band. Air conditioner is too damned not cold. Music too loud. Good. Made a bunch of greens. This red and he brings out his latest poetry book. Inspired, breathing slowly, happy. No rush hour madness today. Breathing deeply, big happy chemicals from book. Jerry is a dry sponge and each vicious driver is filling him up, wet with evil meanness. Jerry will be bad-ass, protect his space.

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My Day in Six Words – IV



Literary mash

brings relief.

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Sitting Gripped and Frozen on Red Vinyl

She sat there watching the darkness blur and taint her. Uncle Tommy had been there, but he had left, and her husband had walked out in fear. Why did Uncle Tommy leave?

She heard her name, Theresa, rapidly being repeated, almost to a shouting level in intervening instances. She was called upon to give the eleven men assurance that she was conscious, not destroyed. Her mind felt words crawling to proclaim bright living, but her mouth was frozen and felt paralyzed. Her mind was desperate and locked away in a large inferno.

Fourteen cheap chairs with red vinyl backs and seats and light aluminum legs and frames, two of them empty. The fluorescent shop lights were shut down. The only light was seeping from dinky tin fixtures with 60-watt bulbs, hanging not far below the high, industrial ceiling. The fixtures caused unusual brightness and shadow on the faces of the eleven men, to the point that there were no faces but amoebas of shapes of cheeks, foreheads, tips of noses and tops of ears, with enormous hollow holes in eye sockets, all of them pointed toward her, waiting for her affirmation, waiting to find that she had not had too much, too many of Uncle Tommy’s pills.

She was sure it was wet brain, but she was no scientist. Later, she knew her soul was trashed. Later, one man told her that after hearing her talk, he was sure that she did not have wet brain, and she spoke to herself, asking herself why they would call it wet brain if it were caused by pills rather than alcohol.

The men were nuts. They continued to repeat her name in the worst chorus of melding liquid sands blaring like French Horns at the beginning of a hunt. She could not make even a slight sound. She wanted to be alone. She wanted to be locked up forever. Maybe Uncle Tommy had medicine for this. She did not have hope, but she continued to wait patiently, dreaming of a day when she might be able to speak again.

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Bootstraps I Can Pull

Tomorrow Will Never Come

Tomorrow Will Never Come

Yet early, opportunities abound.
Humming or moaning through loosened teeth.
Head is withering and banking with spirit, left and right.
Emptiness crawls through eyes that are ready for lively green.
Where does this come from, this sliver of light?
Hope. Tomorrow may well be smooth survival.
Tomorrow, hands will go out often and with warmth as offerings.
Some I encounter will take away experience and found hope. Joy.
I will play the part in the hospital, covered with creamy white petals.
Steadily inform the operators that I must get back to my hapless life.
People are counting on me. Ha-ha, tee-hee, ho-ho.
But tonight I am allowed to read the most delicious stuff.


Late to the game, but I thought I might submit this for One Shot Wednesday. Check out the fine art over there!

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Early Dismissal

Back in the old days,
it was always so exciting,
leaving early, battling snow,
stopping by the liquor store,
always open for people like me,

but today, I think I might go home
and read and write and do a tiny nap,

I’ll be thinking of you, slaving away
at work there, staring out the window
at a beautiful building.

I have hope for some of the flakes,
hope that they might charm you.

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