Friday, September 8, 2017

Not looking at the previous blog entries, ill-written, jumbled, sketches skipping around, not facing the actual work of writing...

We watch in slow motion as Mother Nature becomes part of the book, part of the church, the logos, as it in fact always has been and will be.  Harvey, followed by Irma, the American majority being the American majority, developing, building, moving in, fitting in, driving to work, then back to the tract town homes, responsible, working on fulfillment, living the consumer lifestyle aimed for self-satisfying material success, and meanwhile, the sea is rising, and on top of that and the torrential rains, a string of major hurricanes.  All of us guilty, but some of us more sensitive, less about consumption, more about the smaller footprint...

      Two servers have taken extended vacations at the same time, and the part time people are filling in, so don't expect too much from them.  I hit the Safeway after a busy shift, and when I get back home finally, lugging things back in the courier bag on my shoulder, Orion's belt almost vertical, three stars in a clear night sky, it's hard to feel sleepy.  I putter around, watch the development of Hurricane Irma, an overlay of all the development in Southern Florida's tracts to the west of Miami and the Everglades, get in a bike ride, pleased with the adjustments of the new bicycle saddle, leather, with anatomical cut-outs, have a chili dog minus the bun, take a pill and go off to sleep.  I wake to call mom, have some tea, make breakfast, encounter the runs, and go back to bed to read and rest.  Meditations turn to dream.  Ragweed, sapping my strength, is weighing me down.

And one of the few things to please me now at my age and in this time seem to be thoughts of Peter and Paul, of the organism participated in what they call The Catholic Church, entering into which people become an organic logos of the one true God, entering into the life of Jesus Christ.

I did not get to any church today, no.  I got up too late, too tired, my schedule completely off.  The church is a community, but today, a day off, I am laying low, licking my wounds, a bit of television to keep me company, "endless grilled shrimp at Red Lobster," before facing the dishes, trash night, the laundry.  Peace and quiet.

Downtown here, after the 11AM therapist appointment, I would go over to Saint Matthew's, coming by the alley from the backside of the great red brick church, into the side door, as Madam Korbonski liked to do.  12:05 Mass.  Following along, and even taking communion, careful to kneel at the end of the pew, bow as I accept, crossing myself afterward.

But take the Church back to the apostles, to Peter, to Paul.  Back to the juice, the original wine.  Lord, depart from me, for I am a sinful man.  The blinding light and the voice striking the soldier down, Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me?  Take us back, and then, to encounter the original form.

When you don't have the time or energy to write, burdened by work and this and that, there's not the time go back over earlier things, perhaps to edit, or clarify.  You have to keep, with what time you have, the ball rolling forward.  Writing is a tiny version of the things that happen in the celestial sky, always ticking, always moving, sun, moon, planets, stars, constellations, constant motion.  And so is everything.

After the efforts of hospitality, the slightly pandering to humor of the jovial aspect, and even the serious aspect of it, feeling inexplicably sinful despite all of one's bone and flesh involved hard work and load bearing, one craves incense, a church-like quiet and decorous behavior to be counted on.  One craves a kind of personal quiet, sad as it might initially feel.  This is work.  This is an effort, even as you'll never quite know which parts of it are misplaced and which might be track.

"There is but one God."  This is still a radical and revolutionary statement.  Still out of place in the modern city with all the abeyance to the popular gods and all the discussions the less guileless will cleverly engage in.  Will all the geopolitical details even matter much, once this globe of Earth regains its strength and viability as a part of the logos of the church, regains its proper place in such a way as it, by necessity, commands the attention it deserves.

Think of the pious people who took to the presence of the early church, the initial acts.  One must as an individual constrain to the reality of the just divine, just as the Earth's climate must, just as sea levels must rise, as sea temperatures must rise, just as native flora bear dying off.  The unjust parts of the being must too die off, the being finally getting serious.  There are things at stake.  The writer will stop with the stories that do not matter, will stop pandering to the many gods of consumption, will watch his own habits.

It is hard, very hard, to get serious. It takes a long long long time.  To get serious, in such a way, very old, traditional, would be unnatural to anyone immersed in modern life.  It would even seem unnatural to think, having viewed one's own self from the lens of the rational necessarily self-interested self-protecting member of the popular large, of some form of going into, joining with, reclaiming a spiritual life based on being organized around Jesus Christ and the church.  How would one even enter into such a thing, old fairy tales, quaintly faithful childlike innocence lining pews.  Is this what they mean by, "wrestling with an angel?"

Watching television I could almost gasp now at twelve thirty in the morning as Irma, September 9, scraping the northern coast of Cuba pauses, to fix direction, anticipating its turn north, a direct line to Florida.


Have faith, Jesus said, more or less, to the men with him when the storm rose on the lake, as waves rose, as winds howled, as the boat began taking water.  The storm is part of all of this, part of being a disciple, part of being with The Son of Man.  Indeed, what might you expect, given how life is.  Quite normal, the storm.  Does, one hates to ask, the storm serve a purpose, a purpose aligned with the balance of That Which Is, the one God of the Old Testament and the New, who is nameless, an I Am.

The apostles would have known that, what the storm is like, the radical remaking, the transformative process into the new reality.

The "Come to Jesus moment," they call out sometimes on the night news coverage in the context of the political life...  The speech pattern, the habit of modern dialog.  But what would it actually be like, actually entail?

But how could you not be inspired, modern cynicism aside, by the tale of Jesus gently calling to Simon Peter, an ordinary fisherman, a failure in the sense that he must keep toiling, even when he catches no fish as he did that day, working close to naked.  Peter knew himself to be a sinner, and though we might have no idea to the specifics of his own self-estimation as "a sinful man," we get it, our own uselessness to live an actively pious life helpful to others.  The littleness of our accomplishments even when we have a day off from the regular steady toil... frittered away with self-grooming, with household chores that bear precedence over whatever social life you might struggle to have with your own hours such as they are, as if you had the energy to overcome the lonelies.  That shrugging off of Peter's is a realistic detail of the story, and so are the words of Jesus himself, quiet, understated, "fishers of men."  As if there weren't enough distractions for these poor fishermen trying to take care of things, their families.  To take that step, to be a disciple, to go with Jesus Christ to be a fisher of men, would be a step into a great unknown, and if not the complete resigning abolishment of a customary career, a step into a form of unemployment, in modern terms.

Jesus would have liked him, this sinful man, the fisherman Simon Peter.  He liked him for a reason, for good reason, for excellent reason.  Jesus was not a loquacious type, not to waste his words, and his words toward Peter are cleverly selective in their choice, as they would be throughout the whole interchange between the two.  "It is good that we be here," the humble fisherman says, as if anyone is listening, while the luminaries speak with each other upon the ridge of the Mount of Olives.   (I am relying heavily on Father Barron's Word on Fire, explicating Catholicism.)

Perhaps he, Peter, was honest, to a fault, maybe he was bashful, overly polite, maybe given to amateur attempts at poetry, thus the thoughtful eloquence of his lines.  Perhaps he was intelligent beyond his job and societal function.  He would have been at a crossroads of humanity, dealing with all types.  There is no mentioned woman in his life?  His mother's dwelling?  Maybe his goodness was interpreted by the practically minded women of his age as a bit odd, not exactly creepy, living in a creepy kind of way, but a bit off from the usual husband type, a friend, in that awkward spot that left Peter with enough time to ponder sinful thoughts when he was not hard at work as a fisherman merchant.

For Peter the world came to pause for him, when the Jesus the Christ approached.  As when watching on television a massive hurricane approaching.  That small break so craved for in the tiring routine, what's next in life?  how to get there?  how to change? coming toward him.

For Paul, different, but also a beautiful story.  The voice of the master calling, gently despite the show of heavenly command.  The voice of a lover who's been persecuted, had imposed upon him the embarrassment of interpreted motives, all of which that missed the mark, the human being, the heart, the real intent unrequited, but still one's job to call upon people, as gently, as eloquently, as poetically, as truthfully, as honestly one can.  Could it have been a woman upon whom Jesus voice comes, "Saul, Saul..."  Wanda, Wanda...  Maybe that scenario would have raised to many eyebrows, raised the intrusiveness of interpretation.  In a way, that ties us back into Peter's situation, the way this writer has formulated it based upon his own experience, all a writer has at the end of the day to go on...

Peter, Jesus, Saul, they all have that misplacement of understanding in common.  This sense of being treated like a lowlife.  This sense of being in an injustice that goes far into personal lives, for more personal  than the justice of the normal laws, the lawyers, the paperwork, the court, the judge and the jury.   There does seem to be a hypersensitive to these sort of problems in the New, that if thy neighbor accuses thee, seek reconciliation before thou has lost everything...

A creature of political fortune,  Lincoln--we overuse him--could write about the loss of the bondsman's two hundred years of unrequited toil, perhaps in the same vein, the thousand shocks that flesh and reputation are heir to, the stabs because of offenses, that hit the good as much as the bad are stuck with for one small social mistake or another.  Jesus cleanses.  The old literature, the tales of Job and Jonah, cleanses.  The storm is calmed, the disciples remain in the boat, engaged.  Not cast off and away, as those who would be by do not buy into all the modern gods but only the one true who is and must be nameless and unseen.

The moon is above now, the crickets cheeping rhythmically, without with syncopation of the departed cicada, and the writer writes what he can and the clock ticks, the laundry groans in the basement, the oven beeps coming up to temperature for cooking burgers.

Would Peter and Paul have ever met?  Two different personalities, one could say.  Paul, Saul, was, obviously in a certain realm, prosecutorial, a man with an ambitious career, putting himself ahead while others go down, a zealous kind.  Then he reformed, and one mode turned into quite another thing.  Peter might have taken things out upon himself, but he was not an up in arms hater, but more of a go along with it kind of guy, thus distinguishing Jesus as someone above his own sort of walk of life.  Jesus begged to differ with one, the other he more or less confronts, albeit in an honest way, not mincing his words, as if they had a history together, a point of commonality.

The word of history tells us that the two did meet.  Paul came to visit Peter for fifteen days in Jerusalem.

Peter, a strong man, intelligent, sensitive, poetic, a good guy, a good conversationalist, an adventurous sort, had run afoul of the self-centered opportunistic priggish authority types of Judea and whatnot.  An ostracism, rather than support, from the womenfolk.  The women folk didn't necessarily mean it, but their efforts were brutal upon him, such that he didn't mind talking to fish or muttering with the fishermen types.  Peter, a wandering type, not unfriendly with strangers, but an an adult grown self-conscious about this fault of irresponsibility, so that he is attempting to cover himself from the long standing subliminal charge before the cock crows of following strange types.  Jesus knows this about him, reading his heart.  Knowing the peculiar misery that the life of a fisherman, being so busy in the moment as to forget your problems, during the down time, the self-questioning, as bartenders face in late hours before sleep and before shifts...

Paul, of a very intelligent and lettered legal mind, abhorrent to the liberties the new sect of the Christ was taking, was on the other side, a paranoiac, or rather a realist, about the machinations of society to create deviants out of people.  Never would he be naive drifter of waves like Peter, gullible.  A great relief he found in his dramatic conversion, nailed down by the holy light, the heavenly finger pointed at him, "stop."

Peter begins as gullible, an over believer, tamed by the hardness of life.
Paul begins as the ultimate skeptic, whose eyes must be opened...

Of two different temperaments were they.

And yet, and yet, they found a common ground, happily, even joyfully, despite.

Do we live through our own lives primarily as a way to discover the essentials of the incarnations of such figures as those of the inception of the church, people like Peter and Paul?  Perhaps the analysis of our own little personal biographies are a means of understanding the original archetypes.

A radical, as Jesus was, is a problem, for others, even for himself.  But the radical side is the creative side...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Busy eve of Labor Day.  Running around, regulars, a good night to talk, but I am stretched.  The job gets done, over and over, but, there are certain things that need attention.  Peace-making after an incident, the visit of one couple involved that got involved with another, the spark from the reaction to the hurricane in Houston.  The problem stemming from the familiarity, a good thing, in a barroom.  I wasn't there.  Four nice people got into an argument that got a bit ugly.  An old restaurant manager of mine comes by with a date.  He has a restaurant in Del Ray, very cool.  We'd been through a bunch of stuff together, and on Facebook, kind enough to look me up.  He flatters me:  "a hard-working guy."  What higher compliment is there.

"I like travel," every person on dating sites will tell you.  How about waiting on people, on accepting everyone who might walk in through the front door, to talk to, to figure out, to make reasonably pleased to expectations and beyond that that of their own individual personalities, as what is, finally, hospitality anyway.  I've done that act for more than twenty five years.  And doing that without having to create some kind of commercial personality beyond what I actually am, what I actually do. For whatever...

At the end of it, after counting the money and putting the wine away, I have to rest on the banquette in the wine room before I have energy to pack up and head home.  I sleep for an hour, wake up not refreshed, but better for getting back on the bike.  Back in the apartment, I cannot fall asleep, finally end up taking a pill, then sleeping 'til six in the afternoon.  Labor Day.  Brilliant, sunny, clear, the blue sky.  It's ragweed season, and that will take it out of you, believe me, not quite predictably.

Don't blame myself if I have nothing to write about.  I work, I have a job.  It's tiring.  

Writing is a commercial game.  You wouldn't do it, unless you were making money at it, no?  Why be stupid.  Learn to write copy.  Sell organic soap, or recipes.  Write something that will sell.

Therapist says, commit to something.  That will be the cure.  "Okay, honey.  Okay."  And what have I been doing, for the last thirty years?

It was my fate, to come to a city, a capital, of something.  There is a pattern in that, and staying  back in the old valleys, questionable.

One should be rich enough to travel, to take vacation.  Yet the poor cannot do this.  They travel, like I do, through practicing hospitality, innocent friendliness.

In that way, our own narratives merge with the story of a Jesus Christ, a Buddha.

To look forward to a work shift was often difficult.  Consuming, physically.  (well, what would you expect.)  But that it got you nowhere, as far as being in the logic of the reason of every other job, money, security, retirement, bells and whistles like travel.

But I found people on the vapid side, even as they were good people, when their own conversations leaned toward the pleasures of consumer travels.  Good, but not quite full of light.  Good chatters, good senses of humor.  People, real people.  Enjoying the comic, as people do in bars.

Every shift I worked, I worried.  Almost consumed by worries.  Prepare, prepare, then deal with it.  And it was very stressful.  For many reasons.

So, what was the way, the only way left really, to, as a good friend had asked, with much meaning and insight, to, as we say, Relax.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Schoo, schug, schoough, schoogh, schugh, the bike tire of my old Bianchi as it rolls on the trainer stand..., the color of its frame of the trademark Celeste, almost of a Virgin of Guadalupe green blue, a hint of starlight, sounds as I pedal slowly through the night, relaxing, unwinding, throwing the muscles of my legs into a sort of match with themselves, calisthenics, like a baseball game, a rhythm, a changing of tensions, as if a sailboat now were catching the wind.  The bar rolls under the tire...  The legs, the quads, the calves, make their own invisible sound.

Underneath, within the bicycle itself, a smoothness that has withstood perfectly over time, over years, the smoothness of the mechanical chemistry of the Campagnolo factory, hubs, bearings, the crankset, set into lubrication for a thousand years if not eternity, the sound of an efficiency that overrides the sound of the back wheels tires passing over the roller bar that substitutes the road itself of this trainer stand the bike is confined by above the carpet, primarily by a clamp that screws down onto the back axle, sandwiching the carefully crafted  quick release hub.  The pressure holds the bike without squeezing out the vital lubrication.  The bicycle itself is a perfection of smoothness.  You're riding the same bike, in the same way, as Fausto Coppi, or Marco Pantani, going up L'Alpe D'Huez.  The same holiness applies, a moonshot on a bicycle, the solitary climber fighting off the brutish teams.

The banded muscle of the legs vibrate back and forth, pulling, pushing... kneading the bones around in their circle.  They tighten, they loosen, they jump and dance, and they speak to the organism as a whole, animated with life.

The fan is on before me.  Whir, whir, and another, the air conditioner behind the sofa, set to fan. It is summertime, August.  What the hell are you doing up at this hour anyway.  Watching Father Barron on the television screen, Life On Fire, story of Catholicism.

And now in the woods, or even as I type.  A strange feeling, one I am not used to.  The feeling of actual happiness, as I go to work.  The path, through the woods, level, then descending, then climbing.  As I enter the woods, a homeless man I respect but do not trouble, off to the left, living there, as far as I can tell, year round.  He once told me that it was against the rules to ride my bike on the paths in the park, and I politely obeyed, and then later--after my own encounters with mounted park police--he told me it okay to ride, and I thanked him and explained that I liked to walk and look at the birds.  A sort of friendship.

Platonov, Amongst Plants and Animals:

It was much like that opening scene.  The baby rabbit playing with its own droppings.  The simple anonymous man, 'hunting,' without the slightest intent to hunt, just 'getting nature.'

What has gotten into me, he wondered, on the path to work, through the woods.  He looked upon the decay of a certain fallen tree trunk, and the hill, seeing the beauty of its decay in the late afternoon forest-filtered sunlight, dappled, bringing out the trees fibers turning into brown dirt.   Down the steep hill, a massive tree, uprooted in a storm, on its side downward over the path of the creek that leads down to the stream.  The tenders of the park had cut through the thick trunk where it had come down on the lower path.  The dirt pulled up, the roots bare.  The tree down, the man saw, reclaiming some effort, that of being in nature, and it all making sense again.  "What is this strange almost unfamiliar feeling of old happiness, joy, contentment... Possibility."

There was the stream below, and each object in the woods along the path was a worthy subject of Atget, a photograph, all of it, infinitely so, composed naturally, how could one even know what the best part of it all was?  Was it the larger fallen tree, uprooted in a summer downpour of high winds, down below, or, near where you walked along with a deer grazing just 15 feet away near saplings planted in the restoration of local flora...  Overgrown, yes, but still, life, green, air, water, mineral, and some sort of fire, unseen.

Is it that it is August, the body full of the sunlight of summer, before the cruel clock change of early November, and then the winter, the holidays at work, the difficulties.

Who am I?  What is time?  I have found some happiness again, isn't that interesting...  In such a mood now, now, what he was going to did not seem oppressive, but almost rather presented itself as an opportunity, not so difficult to put into some form of being...  The man observed all this within and without, came to the low bridge over the stream as it came down from the manicured meadows where the stream was lined with stones making a slow series of tiny waterfall pools, and proceeded pushing his mountain bicycle up the paved road that climbed steeply.

And with the good feeling, a kind of awful raw sensitivity, a sense of a shimmering white-clad strength of spirit within.  Which he must have found strange, a thing going back to childhood with stuffed animals, infinitely gentle.  Idiotic, but acceptable.

... And Doctor, this is, well, you know, you're that age, you fall for a beautiful girl--in quotes--and you just think it's going to work out;  of course, it has to;  it's love, unselfish, Corinthian...  But it doesn't work out.  It's a series of unstoppable decaying events that are of misunderstanding.  And because of what that relationship, that she and he, that time perfect for such developments and new opening chapters, well, that becomes a bright spot, romantic, against a backdrop of the stuff of life.  The stuff of life, well, you think you'd just be happy, that home would always be home, safe, secure, eternal.  You think you've gotten thus far and doing well as far as that ideal career of being the great teacher of words, poetry, literature, the psyche, the subconscious methods of the artist...  The seeds planted, well, yes, of course they are doing well.

But the story starts to change.  People become mortal.  Time, finite.   Poetry and the passing of time, all the more meaningful and poignant.   And it become seen that life is not easy.

You get a little bit quiet.  College, and living amongst all the facile New Yorkers who like to talk and hear themselves talk is a lot different from those towns where you went to school.  Small town, small town, lots of land, farms, barns, roads, and here and there the settlements that happen upon the earth.

You make mistakes, as any 20 year old kid would, the usual foolishness, shyness, making things more complicated than they would have been for the self-confident...

The bright spot of life becomes a serious downer.  Isn't that strange.  The thing that was, as you saw it, as a net to catch you, a parachute, something to care for you just isn't there.  And you drop like a rock and hit the ground.  Such is fame, ha ha.

It's like the very thing that, that you think anyway, will make you happy the answer to your dreams becomes the thing the chemistry of the depression, itself a sign, a token, of maturity and adulthood and grave seriousness, coalesces around.   A precipitation in the brew of life.  The red herrings of life, so to speak, even as we ourselves are herrings...

And you know, not that I am anybody, but this is what came upon Lincoln.  The thought of the rain on the girl's grave...   Or was it an awful foreboding sense of all the duties that lay before him out there in the future beyond such places as backwater towns, New Salem.   It was almost as if he liked that sort of poetic melancholia.  And he even wrote anonymous verse in the local paper;  we might find embarrassing, but 19th Century enough to get away with, the couplet lines.  The guy was handcuffed, constrained from taking anything seriously that wasn't his stuff, like the greatness, like the unintentional eloquence, simplicity, his golden rectangle thoughts, his originality...  But what a burden, a kind of madness gently strained...

That's how I feel about writing.  I'll come up with something eloquent, perhaps.  And it won't be about the girl, the Princess in the book, anymore.   It will come as being about the noble voyage of the soul in a fallen world, I suppose.  It will be an attempt to recapture, if you will, the eloquence of Corinthians and the things of that nature, parables, little lessons that tell no story other than that of the soul.  Yes, reclaim all that.  Even if you're just a fake, a phony, who-the-heck-are-you-kid, even if you're just trying to sound noble and being a bad actor about it, without the gravitas necessary.  Like Lincoln, in his Brooks Brothers overcoat--he earned it.   And he too, well, at least in the storybook, is about that noble voyage of the soul.   Yes, I think he must have felt some kind of very deep sense of angst or pain, anxiety, whatever, some foreboding sense of natural disasters and manmade ones, so that he wrote, as if it were his sword, his pen, a protective powerful weapon.

Not everyone careth about the poor.  Most of us don't seem them as equals.  Not everyone cares about the problems of the poor.  Rather, we strive ourselves not to be poor, not to end up that way, horrible, we think, the trailer park, the urban hovel month to month, scary, the neighbors.

Poor bastard.  That's what JFK liked to say, 'poor bastard.'  He must have thought of Lincoln in the twilight of those very words, poor bastard, the war, the idiot generals.  And Kennedy himself, he too was a poor bastard, with all his health issues, his spine rotting away from all the cortisone treatments, all the things that are supposed to make you healthy and functioning but eat at you, the supposed cures.

Do I want to write when I get up?  No, not always, sometimes I'm too scared almost.  Too worried.    And it would be all the easier to wake up and just stare at your iPhone, Facebook, email, Google News, the weather, Tinder, Bumble...  Rather than face all your own crap.

Well, that's not going to help you get to the place of writing.

In John's Book of Revelation images, in which the just are redeemed and the wicked put in their places, Jesus comes and asks us, explicitly, to write...  How 'bout that.  Emily Dickinson loved that.  Didn't she...

What do you do, Lincoln, to run it all off?  Where's the release valve for the pressure?  It has to come from somewhere.  Why not the old Bible, the Good Book...  Psalms.  The Gospels...  Does that make me deficient?

All a bit tiring.  "Stand up and fight!"  No, later.  I got to go to work anyway, later, and hang in this state between writing and not writing, sleep's dreams and waking thoughts.  The administrative efforts of life.

The day of the eclipse, I woke to a sort of WWI dream.  I'm handed a pistol, now that I've tried to step up, and I am charged with holding something like an Ernest Hemingway public square.  Someone much like my brother has enlisted me, told me that I have to, have to do the right thing, that I am being cowardly, and that all bad things are coming, and we must all now be in the greatest of defensive mode.  The airplanes, primitive and slow, like those of the first Great War, are circling now around from the left over the city skyline.  Aggressors have started to move in, and I discover, my pistol is really useless as far as accuracy and range.  To shoot at them is a joke, but there is much chaos.  The enemy is very aggressive.  Its individuals move about very quickly, appearing at random, and to shoot at them is like aiming a pea shooter at them.

The troops the honorable, like my brother, are in, are fighting off somewhere in the main defense of the old city, very serious, off to the right in my mind, and things are not going well.  The troops come up from the subway, like this is London during the blitz, and I shoot at the first "german" I see,which amounts to shooting uselessly at an enemy already captive, already basically dead anyway.  War is blindness.  I roll back and forth in my sleep.

Friday, August 18, 2017

At night, sometimes, in the summer, I go for a ride, late at night, while the city is sleeping.  Up past Kalorama, rolling on the sidewalk in front of the mosque, and then over the bridge, the far end the start of the long steady climb up Wisconsin Avenue and the Cathedral, there is a road less travelled, that dips down into the dell feeding streams into Rock Creek the other side of the creek, tamed by boulders and sewer outlets, beneath the original great hotels of the higher grounds, from the parkway.  The roads are narrow, well lit by street lamps, well paved, and hilly, such that one can plot out a course of hills to ride in succession.  At night there are bucks, two, with decent horn, in the front yards of home across from the Finnish Ambassador's Residence.

Lincoln, when he was here, as President, of course in the wartime, liked his nighttime horseback rides and walks.  One night, as is reported, he walked all the way from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on up Massachusetts all the way up the Naval Observatory, not far from these night rides.  In your fifties, everyone has come to grasp everyone else's craziness and their own, and he found it not unfitting, and not unwarranted, to go out for such solitary trips, unprotected by bodyguards, on up to the Soldier's Home, where once someone put a rifle bullet through his top hat.  Something he shrugged off.  That's how wartime is; people get crazy.  Better to avoid, if you can.  If you can.

You're crazy, you know, your wife is crazy, each in an understandable and coming-by-it-honestly-enough through some curse of depth and talent and spiritual intelligence and intuition;  the whole country of people has gone crazy, and now the most crazy thing, war, is burning like an unstoppable fire, odd because you really just wanted to do something peaceful and biblical, which is to free enslaved peoples, and here you go, Bloody Kansas, this whole uproar just primarily because you were picked to be President, Jesus Christ, why not go out for a nighttime ride to clear the head and at least feel good in an animal way.  Let the rest of this bemudded town disappear below and behind my back as I gain wind, and find that fresh air that lets me deal with it all.  Thunderstorms, I do not care, I welcome, and shoot at me, I don't give a rat's hind as they say.

One day I'll be dead, anyway, and whatever small seeds this old prairie boy is able to plant through is beleaguered words, let it happen, the torch has been passed to a new generation, so it will be one day said, remembering my ghost.

Nighttime, if you live here in this powerful and protected town, is for those who live here, accustomed to it, locals, seasoned veterans.  Big cars darkly muffling prowl through U Street near the Chili Bowl, the old jazz corridors, people adept at being out and talking to each other as one big family, carnivores of fun and no small flirtations...  and in more sedate parts of the Northwest part of the town, where there are significant woodlands and fresh air of a sort lower than Lincoln's cottage at the Soldiers Home, near a favorite tree, and why not liberate yourself from the expectations of minds and punditry and let the imagined and the imagination speak to the silent night filled with sounds like running streams, unbroken by the nagging and frightful sounds of rumbling traffic, sirens, a speeding semi duty of U.S. Postal Service braking to pass through Sheridan Circle early before even the hint of first light.  Dave Chappelle could joke about the contrast, the white guy's night out, versus "his colored friend," that's a joke.  Lincoln,  you know goddamn right and well, loved a good laugh, a good carousing late at night to relieve things, much as he is portrayed a bit dry,  Well, to be so dry and noble, you know the fellows keel ran pretty deep, knowing and partaking in the depths of the waters of how men are, drinking, talking to women, telling stories...  The Second Inaugural doesn't come from playing paddy cake paddy cake, or a strict strictly legal mind.  He wouldn't have chosen to leave the Address at the Cemetery up at Gettysburg to be so brief, had he no sense of humor, and an Irish one at that.  Eloquence is a balance, my friends.  You got to know the shit to know the stars, as any country singer will tell you, vestiges of the earlier America and still a large part of its working soul.  Lincoln was not a plastic bullshitter, waving the flag for the annual Memorial Day concert on the National Mall.  Funny they even made a monument lit at night, such a character, who really is too interesting to be lit at night, who would have preferred some anonymity.

(And he wouldn't have cared so much about himself getting shot, but for the inconvenience of it, so much as them who are supposed to know such things plainly obvious about such men, as much as them letting that poor Kennedy boy get shot as a sitting duck, when they knew Oswald had neon signs about him...)

Hemingway, it strikes me, as I roll free, feeling that excellent feeling of being light and airborne and comfortable on the more modern of my two road bikes, the Cannondale, tires juiced up to near high pressure, my headlamp charged enough, just hungry for getting out into the night, Hemingway's stories are parables of fame, in one way or another.  He was a gentleman coming from a 19th Century literary tradition of gentleman like Turgenev and Balzac.  The Short Happy Life of Francis MacComber speaks of the decay inherent in running the literary business successfully, as do even early short stories hint, like the one about getting caught for poaching game out of season, having to hide out.

It was important for him to make a success out of himself at that venue, and indeed he succeeded, well enough and with some magnificence.  He is an artist, a good will ambassador, deserving credit for taking the time to explore human existence in a developed and sensitive way.  There is spiritual stuff in him, but more as a tale to tell than a complete focus on it.  He reached out to portray the lives of the poor and the injured and with some sensitivity toward those who live in cities, habits of cafe life, and those of the country side.

Hemingway's calling is his, and he hit it in a maturing form.

But knowing what you want to be at age twenty is different from the calling that happens further on in life.  Would one now know, these days, the full nature and meaning of their calling?  I wouldn't have known then, like I knew almost the opposite, even as I kept on.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

One night after heavy rain, after work, just following my return to the city from my mom's, I went out back in the garden and pulled out vines and weeds.  They came out easily and soon there was a good pile of them on the step stones.   In the morning, in the light, there a clump ten feet by ten, about four feet high of pulled vines, small trees, a miscellany of weeds that in the jungle weather and rains had overtaken the garden.  After a few hot dry days there now needed to be a way to get rid of the pile.

Too much to take out to be put in big hefty bags, I choose a late night after work, took out the weber grill from dusty corners, low on charcoal, found an eternolog made of recycled cardboard impregnated with combustible wax, built a starter fire and started piling on the vines, still green, some of them wet.  The dead of summer.  Smoke rose quickly, and then flames, and when the flames went down, I threw on more and the smoke was everywhere, the smell of campfire on the clothes.  I was careful, and nervous, and watching with a hose incase the flames rose too high or any neighbor might wake and call out, what the hell are you doing.  The hour got late, and the pile went up in smoke without incident.

Except for a small scratch on the back of the leg, as I'd been dumb enough to conduct this damp and dirty business wearing shorts rather than jeans.

And weeks later, after attempting to treat something looking ulcerous and the back of my left calve, red, itching.  In an attempt to topically treat, I'd forgotten my allergic reaction to the antibiotic Neosporin.  Bandages, sterile cotton, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, tea tree oil, silver ointment, and Polysporin tube sat around the coffee table as I went to and fro from work.

So I sat waiting in the doc's office on a rainy morning, a copy of The Bhaghavad Gita in the recesses of my wet courier bag as I sat on the examination table, the paper crinkling beneath.

I am told just to cover it and leave it alone.  That's it.  Soap and water.  A bandage.

Funny;  best just to leave things alone, to let wounds heal themselves, no matter how bad, or infected, things might look.

It's a weak spot for me.  I came closer than I'd like to think about an infected wound when I first came to town.  There was a waitress who waited for the poor busboy sweeping up after the night, that first year at Austin Grill.  There was some sort of after work get-together, a break for the norm.  I rode with the cooks, who got there, and decided they needed they needed to make a cigarette run.  And I, being as quiet as I was back then, having a hard time expressing my will, simply opened the door of the moving car and stepped out into the alley of a DC summer night.  Later on I made it back to her mom's apartment with her, and she took care of the wound on my foot, which got worse.  It wasn't til one of my housemates where I lived down on Foxhall, Sandra Patty, a nice woman who'd travelled in Europe and wore European laundry which was often drying upstairs near the bathroom hallway, told me I needed to go to a doctor, gave me a name for one, shaking her head as she looked at the wound just inside and down the foot from my right ankle bone.

That was the time when I'd first came to town and worked two jobs.  The temp job by day, the busboy by night.  The doctor gave me an antibiotic, and showed me I needed to keep the wound clean, etc,. cleaning it out twice a day and keeping it elevated.  Both jobs were ones I had to do on my feet.  I remember sitting in a men's room stall where I cleaned the wound at lunch time in the office somewhere near 19th or 20th and L or K.  The scab gave way under as I swabbed it with the hydrogen peroxide, and black sort of hole opened up, and I almost fainted at the look of it.  I cleaned it out, didn't look too deeply at it, put the antibiotic ointment on it (I wasn't allergic to at that age), bandaged it up, took a deep breath and went back to work.  It hurt.  I took aspirin, and I got through my shifts, and eventually, I forget how long, it began to heal up, no more hole in my leg with black stuff in it.  No more gauze bandage to put over it and limp through a night standing on my feet running around as a busboy.

Healing is a wonderful thing.  And we all have our scars.  We all are, well, almost dead, either in the narrow good way a thing went rather than a bad way.  My brother's fingers remember on cold days holding together the electrical system that kept the motor of a fishing boat running, somehow under the cold sea water that had risen within the boat.  Numb and pain.  He doesn't tell the story often.

Some wounds, though, you have to, as I say, leave alone.

Actually, I found that my hospitality, it came at a good time in the world.  And that life and the world should throw my talents toward the job as it was and had to be dealt with was not a bad thing, once I got healthy, as August with a  belly full of sunlight allows, before the darkness of clock changes and winter night shifts and cold bare commutes on a bicycle.

You had to look at what is going now, as far as automation, globalization, the possibility of robots taking over, no more brick and mortar, etc., etc., etc.   There has to be some common reflection of the hospitality which is at our own spiritual reality as a high animal most capable of hospitality.

Outside on Connecticut Avenue, near the old office of my therapist, and near the alley that takes you from N Street and behind the old low brick stables that have stood since before Lincoln's time, behind the tall office buildings, the side door to enter the red brick cathedral of St. Matthews, there is a halal stand that serves lamb and chicken and felafel, for $6 or $7 a decent meal to have under your belly after the talk at the therapist office regarding your own mental health and life and history and existential situation, there is hospitality.  The young man is from Syria, I think.  I talk with him through Ramadan fasts when it is hot out...

It is a high claim, I suppose, to think you're doing something noble and spiritual serving wine and food.  There could well be Quixotic bluster to it, no doubt.  We are flawed representatives, earthy, sinful, fallen, living in a broken rattling world full of people grasping for power without the balance, perhaps, to keep a balance.

And it is enough to return, after one's labors, to one's own little peaceful chapel and place of prayer, a Buddha statue, some wine, incense, monkish duties, folding too many clothes, fixing supper, taking out the wine bottles, the plastic used, the trash.

I began to not really care about getting published and all that.  I'd found hospitality, and kept at it.  I'd written things as truly as I could see them.
I guess it had just been something I'd gotten use to, the idea of the artist as worthless in society...  something easily felt in a personal way.

Of course I had another job from the writing of whatever I was trying to write.  The published bildungsroman ended up costing more than it was worth after having to file the taxes for the piddling royalties.  (I did not intend it as a moneymaker anyway.)  And other jobs, you can get lost in them, forgetting your mandate to write.  You lose a bit of faith in what to write, why do it, why bother, in the effort to survive.  Hey, that's life, right.  And I guess to make life simpler, when you work your shift you see yourself as that individual doing that job professionally.

Fortunately, a good part of me could deal with the hospitality business, and I could keep a tight enough ship that bosses liked me and my relationship with the customers.  A fortunate state of affairs., in fact.  I got something out of them, I enjoyed being present with them.

But it took me sometime to realize rationally why I did it, or was able to carry on with it, as sometimes it could get a bit bleak and lonely and dark.  Maybe some sort of troubadour I wanted to be, or follow the tradition of Irish folk musicians, an oral tradition, part of being a poet, a bard, the ideal writer behind the acts of writing.  Yes, I liked the soundtrack, good for the muscles, good for the digestion.  I was shy about getting up and singing, and never had voice lessons like I should have in the formative years of self-cultivation.

I guess it began to happen in the course of my college education.  I cared a lot for written things of value, and the papers I wrote in assignments began to take longer and delving deeper into a subconscious realm.  Certain faculty members didn't understand that, and wished to keep me confined to the lines of academic production and credential which then would lead to more academic credential and production and all that.  My heart was not into that.  Or, I guess, with some informative period, and family observations internalized, I had to rebel.  Not that I wished to rebel.  Rebelling was ironic for me, as if it went against the very values my father had instilled in me, that deep clerical response drive to pursue the spiritual parameters at the core of education.  In the way my father referred to Julian Benda's concept of The Treason of the Clerics, a take on that period before, and I suppose after, WWI, in which professional institutional scholars fell into nationalistic habit, politicizing that which should remain most a part of the spiritual realm.  My father saw that the academic world of successful publishing thoroughbreds and loudly direct commentators involved with the political matters of the day, perhaps made inevitable for whatever reason of style or employment in the current atmosphere, was in large part a betrayal of the priestly class ever expanding the examinations concerned with the deeper realities that fall into spiritual learnings and metaphor.  It was more important for him, as a teacher, to declare, "Thou art that which is," than play the game.  And he had his own magnificent style, from those well-rounded days...

That's part of it, certainly.

But pretty much immediately I felt the effects of Cs and Ds, grades which I did not completely deserve.  Someone should have listened a bit better.  Sure, their focus was highly liberal, but it was also politicized, without much room for a wayward college professor's son.

An act of rebellion leads, I suppose, to marginalization, and so it was.

I kept a marvelous ache within, and I found something right and true in it.  Something beautiful, something with some integrity.  Staying above the fray, that of that politicized involvement.  To express that, I guess that would take some definition.  I don't wish to condemn scholars who note that the very language we use is charged with the directions of power and status quo.

In my studies, oddly as he himself had predicted, something slipped in.  A little bit of light, that must have been touched upon by my own inner sense of light and the things I responded to.  Somewhere, sophomore or junior year I found a double record of JFK speeches in the music library.  (I ended up paying the overdue fees on it, meaning to keep it for reference for a thesis that they chose not let me write.)  And on the record was that last speech, the one from, appropriately, Amherst, the Robert Frost library dedication speech.  "Where power corrupts, poetry cleanses."  "When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence."  And while coming from a politician, a consummate one, but also an educated man, a reader, there was that which I was looking for, that spiritual part of education, he's telling us about, or wanted to say.  (As if he knew somehow...)

But anyway, your own work is good.  It takes an effort to sustain.  And I gather, that with the sense of rejection I received there at what was supposed to me a shining moment, leading to other shining moments, things went, well, in their own direction.  I was laid a bit low.  Lost.

Well, you pick yourself up, and keep at it.  Came to Washington, D.C, worked as a miserable clerk, temp agency stuff, began whatever career I might be construed to have as a busboy.  It kept me active, running around, amongst people.

I had really wanted to do something akin to perceptions, albeit boyish, about Robert F. Kennedy.  His graceful sorrow, his eloquence, his reaching out into the spiritual realm of the Gospels, poor folk, Mississippi, West Virginia, migrant farm workers, yes, and his funeral train leaves a lasting impression.   A melancholic Irish man, with good reason, with an incomprehensible depth of soul searchers under his belt...

But when you're feeling low, and the world does not care much about this now embarrassing matter of the book you wrote, which touches painfully on things like being treated like a deviant or a low-life, exiled, besmudged and besmirched, such that one felt too ashamed of himself to be a fledgling prep school teacher or one of those routes...  And you get cast out of the spiritual forests and the literary light of New England and its transcendental waters...  exile.

How do you reinforce feeling good about the work that you do?  As a writer, it seems it happens and exists in secret.  Few notice, few have time, no compensation of any sort.  A professional review of the book, to the cost of paying Kirkus Indie Reviews, four hundred bucks, for a gross misreading, a misreading of a central passage, yeah, the obscurity of Amazon.

So, what do you do?  You go to a therapist.  You end up taking Lexapro, as recommended to you.  You take it once, nah, doesn't seem to do anything, and then, reluctantly, you try it again, wintertime, darkness, night shifts, holidays eating at you, old age of loved ones and distance, and no seeming way out back into the light and the sort of recognition as being a decent person that such an education (on the back's of immigrant's labors) might call for, you just try to get better.

A better mood.  More exercise.  Meditation, bike rides, walks, yoga.  And finally, less of a drive to medicate yourself from the pain.

But really, this must come hand in hand with the spiritual observations.

Such as:  the world of the city and commerce, beyond trying to collect the trends and the styles and that which is currently in fashion aping whatever else is fashion, will not recognize as important the efforts of the poet, the artist, the monastic.  The value is on consumption.   Why would people remove themselves from such Protestant work ethic successes as are so readily available, power, money, real estate, good looking competent spouses, the shared kitty, self-protecting itself against any weirdness and unnecessary and unprofitable pursuits.

I strive now to feel better about myself, to feel justified, at least somewhat, given the state of the bridges I might have burned, accidentally, without intention, in the attempt to listen to and heed something coming from within, as the strange and separate of us are sometimes better able and employed to hear.  And anyway, it would not behoove a mentality to stand against itself.  Better to seek the depths of bedrock for a foundation, as was once said and wisely repeated, if we are to have character as human beings, and the strength to carry on with what we see as a fit pursuit, one which a person might feel a special affinity for, a sense of personal tradition to carry through on, to not hide the light within.

Celibacy allows for a greater expression of hospitality, I read, in The Cloister Walk.  Yes, I suppose this is true, a correlation that at least made me feel a bit better.  Perhaps hospitality actually reinforced that which allows you and pushes you against your desire to be closer to that which is in the field of things in which celibacy exists, a weird part of spirituality that really was the last and least of one's intentions.  In fact, I hoped, and continue to hold out such hope, that it is within the context of the sacred and the spiritual that liberation from celibacy would allow.  Yoga, Tantra, chakras, the replenishing of the spiritual waters through the light of sexual contact between man and woman, the engagement of flow and polarity.

But I guess I was a damn fool with regard to the achievements of such, as if I were almost out to undermine all the nice relationship things I wanted to have happen, monogamously.

Yeah, I'd made some bad choices, thinking that sensual pleasures would fall into alignment, that wine is spiritual, that serving it is additionally so, and that this clear standing-up-for-what-you-believe-in would result in some beneficial ends and not the usual awkwardness and insincerity.

But if you're not valuing yourself for who you are, then you're not comfortable in your own skin.  If you're trying to cohere to social expectations that lie beyond your ken, that lie within a mainstream majority that you find either too challenging or not challenging or simply not engaging.  You can't fool yourself forever, you can't lie, you cannot be other than yourself.  In these matters.

And I was faking it.  I thought a bottle of wine, you know, that liberation was part of it, the dance.  That's when I seemed to feel more at ease, or when I would able to pick up the guitar and sing, that sort of thing.  And there is a precedent for it.  Like, take Shane MacGowan, who'd admit that when he got nervous--as you might when having to perform--you drink a bit.  "And I'm not apologizing," quote him being interviewed in the context of Ronnie Drew's passing, or maybe in a documentary of Fairytale of New York.  It was kind of how my brother worked, as I saw it, entering into the latter part of growing up.  It would be wrong not to enjoy a good beverage in a social setting, indeed!  Look at all his successful friends, enjoying the same.

Except I was too much a pensive type naturally, a bit of an Irishman, melancholic, quiet, feeling inhibited around certain crowds and people.  A drink was a relief from that, into a more free state of action and engagement.  And over the long haul, I found out, just by the nature of my psyche, my moodiness, that I had to be a person of moderation, exercise, aerobic activity.  Social venues put my into uncontrolled situations I felt vulnerable in, acting on my heart, not as rational or controlled, and as an adult, trying to be productive in the world, well, you have to be mindful.  As fun as the ride might be.  You still have to wake up the next day...

You have to stop from time to time and go back to the owner's manual.  And exposed as a bartender is, unfortunately, Christ, you get caught out sometimes, a late hit, running on fumes, having to deal with the loud, the intoxicated telling their stories and commenting about the music on the sound system, etc.  No, the kitchen closed an hour ago.

Yes, I remember my father once, telling me of his childhood, a teacher reaching out to him as his mother was laying in her deathbed dying of tuberculosis.   "Life can be pretty grim sometimes," he said.  A lesson he learned young.  And yeah, life can be lonely.  It can be difficult and unprofitable, lonely, bleak.  There were some times I felt very frustrated, for years.   But you can hope, you can hope that you'll learn something from that, that you'll be given some wherewithal, some strength, some endurance, enough to get you out of, who knows, maybe your own bad habits... to, anyway, a better place, a ledge of understanding and some perspective upon the 'why' of the climb.  There's literature for that, biblical enough, and not in some shallow sanctimonious self-satisfied way, a place blank from all that self regard, something free crawling out from the rocks that have fallen your way. Where you can honestly say, to yourself, look, I guess this was what I was after, all along.

There's a passage in The Brothers Karamazov.  I think it's when Alyosha is praying over the body of his mentor the old monk, and he rises in a trance, awake with some knew knowledge, and the other attendant monk gets it enough to just back up and let him pass, to not interfere with the spinning of someone else's wheels.  Perhaps it's one of few self-portrait touches we get from Dostoevsky, I'd like to think, anyway.  It's a picture of when you don't have a lot of back-up, not a wide public approval rating, so to speak, not a lot of popularity, nor recognition, or people being there to say, "I get you," but you have that crucial back-up, that support that's tailor-made and meant for you, just the right thing, probably too subtle for anyone--like anyone outside a monastery--to get, such as they are, involved with this and that.  Yes, you've put up a show, but this is who you really are, and certain animals, people, can sense it, smell it, get it, know vaguely how to guide you.  But honestly, it doesn't come very open.   It wouldn't be a realistic piece of 'fiction' if you received wide and unanimous recognition;  there would only be a tiny smidge of it, and you'd have to be paying attention to catch it, a kind of harmony, a tuning of notes agreeing, no waves of being off.

In the end you are like the light is, ultimately unquantifiable, impossible to explain except through the admission that there exists no clear understanding but that of being.

As I say, it had been difficult for me to accept, in a lot of conscious ways, doing the work I did, the odd peculiarities of a life working in the hospitality business with all the details that pertain to that particular job, geography and circumstances.  Very hard.  But you can lot live in fear and anxiety and paranoia completely for any longer than you must.  Yes, one life, a good profitable, enjoyable productive one, you missed out on, looking at potential and opportunity.  You fall where you fall, what can you do, and you have to accept that which you have to accept, and then, finally, we hope, come to some peace with it.  And that can take a lot of perspective, a very high one, even, sometimes.

I would offer, or I might guess, that in the acceptance on the part of Jesus towards the odds and ends of humanity, the fisherman, the Samaritans, the poor, the blind, the leper, the dying, the infirm, we see that most odd form of acceptance, that of one's own nature, call it true nature, reality, identity.  Rather than struggle with it, be forever a questioner, is not easier to accept easier to say, thy sins are forgiven, go in peace, first and foremost and primarily to one's own self, letting the chips lay/lie where they have fallen.  Faith, that last thing, that makes you capable of the work you need to do.

And perhaps Jesus had to get over the fact of being somewhat like the nagging essayist, the rabbi teacher without so much credential.  He had to get over that, that unique form of being his own kind of story-teller, in his own vein of the traditional oral culture with a long long history of stories and tales of uncertain and unclear meanings.  He shrugged.  They almost succeeded in throwing him off a cliff at the edge of the town he first lectured in, the crowd angered, without real reason, at what he'd said.  They ask his family to restrain him, this crazy man, before they do it themselves.  All of which he takes in stride and to peaceful ends.  Something made the individuals comprising a crowd look at him and stop in their tracks, at least at the beginning of his career, before he gained momentum and the popular tales we still attribute to him today, in no small reason because the stories of his miracles and his sermons and his steadying of his fellows protect him still to this day, keep him safe, let him be himself.  To let him be himself, the real guy, Jesus, to allow that truth forward, to such ends perhaps a little hyperbole, a few tall tales, a few liberties to make a story better or truer, you can't really argue with.  Those stories passed down serve to tame our own skeptical response, 'well, who the hell re you to claim such authority.'  An artist of any sort has to claim such a natural authority at that which they particularly do, Picasso being Picasso, and so on.

Was he an odd duck, heretofore?  Regular, but strange, unpredicted his eloquence.  He must have had a few odd habits, like that of taking forty days away in the desert for his vision to coalesce.  That he might have been regarded simply as "the carpenter's son" betrays a little mystification at the guy familiarly held.  Yeah, he's... well, he's...  He seems to fall into some form of the son of a scholarly man, as a carpenter must have knows a lot of, if you will, lore and knowledge and knowhow, not just making and doing things, but being able to explain his engineering and the solidity of his principles toward making solid lasting things out of lumber.  And the son seemed to have the same gift and aplomb for that which is a profession and a trade but which is more personal, like the individual touch and the depth of a person if you are intelligent, skilled, human, wise, likable, identifiable.  Jacks of many trades they must have been back then, skilled and resourceful, versatile, broadly confident at work of various sorts, who better, what better model of that than the carpenter scholar shrewd father Joseph with the lady Mary as his wife and foremost believer-in, and she too was no slouch.

And lastly, one gathers that they must have been fun people, friendly, easy to get along with, these characters from the stories of the Gospels and good natured Paul and so forth.  Politically likable. Good friends to have, in an enjoyable way, not oppressive or personally tyrannical or selfish and manipulative or just plain hard to get along with.

The wearing of any personality, though, might get tiresome after a certain point.  What you might have thought once was you, immutable, unchangeable, can turn out to be an illusion to be gotten ride of and put aside.  A problem of being a public persona, if you aren't grounded, and trying to get back to the deeper...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Why do you hide your light?

Oh, I don't.  Work, I suppose.  Hmm.  Don't you think I bring out some of my light at work, I mean, waiting on people?

Yes, you try.  Do you think you could do better?

Well, yes, but there's a lot of anxiety just in trying to get to work, to get through work, you know, even without the money success end of things on top of that.  I guess that's why they call it work.  That's what they say.

Do you think there's a correlation somewhere, between the work you are doing now and that anxiety?

Well, yes, father, but on many levels...  Where to start?  The odd hours;  not being able to control when you go to sleep, how long you'll sleep.  There's everybody going about nine to five, and where are you?  And it's exhausting anyway, physically.  It is.  The pay.  That's another thing.  What household can live on one income in the city?   Where do you exist?  Where do you find comfort in being where you are?  I suppose that's why I tried bar tending, you know, because the restaurant seems like a home in some way.  You eat there, you find your friends, you encounter strangers who become in a way family.  The restaurant is a model, in a way.  You cook.  You clean up, put some things back in order, pretty simple.  And that's what you strive to do with your own space, you know.


Bit yes, father.  There is some great lacking, hard to put a finger on.  I'm not saying I'm meant to be in a monastery, full time, silent.  But as a writer, I'd like to find, you know, that wise voice...  It just seems like, at least when I don't write, I'm not living up to the mandate I was given.

I feel I've lost my mandate, the strong spiritual sense my father imparted.  I feel miserable about it.  Exercise helps.  And work's not all bad.  There is lots of spirituality in hospitality.  I just read, in The Cloister Walk, that celibacy brings that out in you.  Well, I can say, that is true.  Very true, alas.

Anxiety.  I had one beer at the end of work last night.   Thought of stopping somewhere for a drink, so I ride up to Bedrock, go down in, guy checks my ID, I see my friend is bar tending.  I walk around the bar... nah.  I head home, which is hard, because there are girls out, women I should say.  It's not quite too late yet.  But going out is tainted.  And I'm a social person, I love talking to people.  But it never seems to go quite right, being out you know.  You're giving more than you're getting.

Now I have to get ready, off to Restaurant Week.  I hope the regulars stay away.  I'm going to pretend I don't know them.  I did my buddy a favor, switching shifts.  I was tired anyway, last night.  But it throws me off, you know, when you're plodding through the week.  Jazz Night is always a pain in the ass anyway.  Impossible, really.