Thursday, August 16, 2018

Kerouac was close with his mom.  She picked up work in a shoe factory when he knew he could not work anymore, feeling he rather needed to go across the country, to follow jazzmen and the roman candle people, to follow poets and the spiritual.  The railroad work as a brakeman was dangerous and exhausting.  She takes care of his cat when he is away.  Leo, Kerouac's father, has passed away, and there is no one else.

Ginsburg, "even Ginsburg," is surprised at the way they talk to each other, mother and son.  "You old smelly fish cunt," he calls her, something like that, perhaps in the dialect of the French Canadian.  While Kerouac touches the sacred in all his family relationships, the actual word, indicative of their relationship, is, here at least, not far from profane.

These terms of personal dialog are certainly not the only picture to be had of their generous relationship, one of understanding.  But the candor here, which all family members deserve of each other, is something.




There are times, my friend.  There are times when the normal lexicon of American cultural terms seems negligible as far as pertaining to actual life.  One that stands out, the concept of loneliness.  In cultural terms such a thing is to be banished, and yet, the reality behind the label is not far away from longer deeper truth, Buddha truth...
To go see the therapist is exhausting.  It takes away, steals the impetus of creative thunder, out of having to share what's on your mind.  Perhaps it's like an agent;  at a certain point you realize one would be beneficial.  But whatever you talked about, be it a sort of writing project, a spiritual project, having been shared it's harder to find the same enthusiasm and to get back on track...
I wake up from the dream on my bed, a light blanket over me, my arms folded across my chest, a hand close to the heart.  I have a summer cold, awake earlier hacking a cough, and on my back there is less pressure on the lungs.

In the dream I am struggling to get back ready for college.  Dorm set-ups.  I'm trying to get my class schedule straight and get to class.  This year I want to be a good student.  I want to do the readings and participate.

And she is there along with me in the audience of one of the classes I am trying to take, to not be pulled away by distractions and people who ask favors of me to help them with this and that.

It seems the dream has allowed me to return, to have succeeded in getting there, back to the college life.  And having seen in her in class, now that we all are back, in the dream I am calling her.  I want to tell her that I want so much to be friends with her, that I can be kindly toward her, that this would mean a lot to me.  For I am the vessel of God's Love for her.  That it would be inappropriate to be any other thing, or act not in keeping with that love.  I am hoping we can meet in the dining hall, now early in the school year, to get things right and straight, from the start.  Yes.

And then I wake up.  With all the foolish actions stuck in my own history, who knows why we put on such acts, egotistically...

I have failed.  Failed to be the vessel of God's love for her.  Failed as a student.  Failed to be a good person, why?  I have been false.  Diverted.


Life is the result of those failings, of those actions, of whatever rebellion...  You cannot go back and correct it all.  All the acts you put on, who knows why, the drinking...

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Day One of Restaurant Week.

I've got a cold.  I take a Buddhist moment getting ready for work.  I pack my courier bag, water bottle, reheated chicken sausages in case the staff meal is no good, etc.  I'm running a bit late, so I sent a text to my co-worker who'll be up at the bar tonight, Jazz Night.

I get to work just as the skies open.  MR opens the front door, I park my bike down in the basement next to the washer dryer and the vegetable cooler indoor walk-in, head back, Jesus Christ look at the reservation list.  F is running late.  He won't be in 'til six.  Jesus Christ...  Martin can go up and help you 'til Francis comes...  Okay...

Upstairs, I take off my wet clothing.  I have dry socks and boxer briefs in my courier bag and they are dry still, so I change, back behind the bar, as Hugo moves the furniture around for Jazz set up, the band in the corner, sorting out the sink ice bins for the chilled wines, full with back up, ready for ice, ready to go.  I calm down, what can you do, can't be mad at the kid, he's making that long drive back from Ithaca...  I've set myself up well enough the night before, the mis-en-place, the back-up silverware at both stations, the seven top is only drinking...  I write down all the reservations, ten of them, back upstairs, ready for it, water pitchers full, one for the band on top of the radiator stand.

Then it comes, then it happens, and you're in for the ride.d



There's always something that pushes you over the edge, and tonight it's table 57.   I ask my coworker, did they get their entrees?   Finally the guy comes up to me, uh, it's been about an hour...  Oh shit, let me go check...   The bar has been busy, full, not that I much feel like entertaining...  It's Restaurant Week, I tell them all.   I snap a bit at one of the regulars who's asking for his check...  Give me a fucking minute...  I've been downstairs, which is empty but for one table, and perfect calm.    I fired that an hour ago....  Too much, it's too much...


Such a night...  After they all left, the band, the last few guys hanging out at the bar, Francis who had come late...  The last table with the lost entrees to track down threw me, and then I felt bad I raised my voice in that moment of frustration...  I ate my sweetbreads appetizer, poured myself a glass of Beaujolais...  After a break I stood back up and went through all the credit card payment slips, putting the tip amounts into the system, tedium.  Another glass of wine.  I did the checkout report, calculated to tip out for the busboy, took the paperwork up the hallway to place on the office desk, and there was my guitar, so I brought it out in its case, then went back down to the basement to bring my bicycle back up, ready to go.  The dishwasher and salad station woman still cleaning the kitchen...

Wine and music, the only thing to wash down such a night...

And today, the host of Tuesday Wine Tasting Night does not have to work, given the schedule this week...


Friday, August 10, 2018

In life there are patterns.  To life, there are patterns.  There are biological forms.  The botanist makes note of shape and texture...

And one would suppose that beyond our own biped biological human form, even beyond Jungian archetype, there forms made note of, first in literature, particularly in spiritual literature.  Observations, ones that sometimes prove uncanny in their resemblance to our own states of being in life...  Musing on a neighbor's life, one sees himself.  Musing on a writer's life, a spiritual life, from story or reality, one sees himself.

The Buddha...  As a young prince, entitled toward every pleasure, he took a ride with his charioteer outside the walls of his father's kingly castle, and there, he saw it, sickness, decrepitude, death, the basic forms of suffering that are so evident upon seeing them firsthand.  How could such things prevail in this world he thought he knew by his own experience?  So the story goes.



The hack science fiction writer had returned from visiting his aged difficult mother, and of course, he returned to his job behind the bar.  He'd gotten in about eleven the night before, parked on the street, unpacked his traveling gear, his clothes and shoes and jackets and the medicines and the toiletries, returned the rental car to the parking garage, the night before.  After the long drive, eight hours or so, the last two in the darkness of night, he felt he had needed some wine, to sooth the pain and the nervous system's befuddlement at the whole thing...  But his first night back, he avoided even the slightest drop of wine, and when he returned to the apartment after his shift, he had enough energy to do some cleaning and sorting, to put away the clean garments and set aside the laundry in small piles...

The thought had come across him that he was not of the "right profession" as far as the Buddha's Eightfold Path, that because the job came with the offer of wine and other intoxicants, with the pleasure of good dining, it was rather the wrong thing to be doing.  If that was what he was doing, and as the night grew longer, he was more susceptible to a need for calm, and even worse, given the sort of people who would come in later in the evening...



The hack science fiction wrirer had done his best from winter on through spring and a good part of the summer to be Christian minded and Christian believing and following, and wore his Byzantine Cross with a new stainless steel chain he'd purchased with his mom, but now in his life the moon of Buddha Wisdom was coming up, and he felt he'd sort of worn things out anyway, as far as being a devoted Catholic toe-ing the party line, and there had been another Bishop sex scandal involving pressure and boys and anyway, the old book of his father's, from the London Buddhist Lodge, had served as reading material on the road, even though his mom, drinking her coffee above him over in the corner Eames chair talking to the cat as he tried to sleep, tired by worsening grass allergies and travel, the long drive through the torrential rain, even as she picked the old thing up and pronounced it, quite negatively, as "hooey."  He had turned over on his green Thermarest mattress as he rested in his REI Travel Down mummy bag and pondered, this woman and her belief system, and then his own, as his body lay down unwilling to move.

It was not hooey to his father, nor his mentor, old Dr. Torrey, and it was not hooey to him, and has he thought about it now, back in his own space, it occurred to him that many of the things he would in states of morning depression deeply regret, were in fact sings of a nascent philosopher following the path, whatever the path was, and Buddhism had a lot to do with it, perhaps more so than a pure belief in Jesus as other people seemed to believe in Jesus.

It occurred to him now as he read, that all he had to do, was do a bit more of the follow through.  Yoga.



We all are patterned to fail the first time around, even with many attempts.  Siddhartha made many attempts, and for a long time he was an ascetic, to the point of suffering and extreme and even starvation.  And then some others work to it as gluttons and wine-drinkers and friends with the wrong sort of people...  How far away is the story of the Prodigal Son, how far away the story of Jonah, and Abraham, and Moses, how far away are those stories from the story of the failing would be seeker as he narrows in, through his own experiments and failures, on the true pith of life...


The regrettable thing is the widespread focus on the wrong things, with the illusions and the appearances...

With all the nuances within, why not take the time to focus on the self;  why not focus not on the outer appearances and all the things that come received by the world around us through its particular materialistic focus, but on the worlds within ourselves, as might be apprehended through yoga and meditation and considerations of the Buddhist path...

Rather than being sold on everything and trying to belong, one could remember his own life and karma...  And if one did, who knew, what could open up, what sort of vague memories, largely a peace with all living things and the earth one felt from time to time, when not distracted and stressed and preoccupied...

It had taken him, the hack science fiction writer, a long time, and a good amount of mental suffering, to realize the truth of self-reliance, of Buddha's enlightenment...  It takes false starts, errors, vast mistakes.  But now and again, you remember a bit of it.  It takes maturity, it takes time...



It is an unlikely measure, to go against all the things built up by society in the world, to back away from all that, to see life as a more intimately available creation.   You find you need nothing outside of yourself, that after all incarnations you are ready to enjoy life as it, yourself just as you are, without the things that lie outside the life.

But there is no choice.  Absolutely no other choice.

(Thus the evil of constant invasions into the natural curiosity of the thoughtful mind, news, the screen, dating apps, the constant news stream, the constant temptation of the outer upon the inner, made ever worse by profit minded egos attempting to conquer and change the world with no thought as to what that world would then be like for the human being...)


Thus, you can say goodbye to being a certain kind of writer, out to please a certain audience.  The audience is that within.  You can say goodbye to the one seeking pleasure and satisfaction outside the self...  Mara's Temptations...


Life is terribly sad if you look at, no way around.  (Though joy may by found in the present, in the transitory nature of life...)

He opened to kitchen door to the porch so that the fly would see the light of day, and soon the fly was on the screen, obeying the law of light, and then he had only to open the screen door, and out went the fly.  As he heated the bone broth in a small pan, he let an incense stick of Frankincense and Myrrh and soon he was calm and feeling positive about things, such things being that he had to get to work and then take Jazz Night as it came...  There wouldn't be much time for yoga.


To mount such an expedition as climbing the mountain of the night shift all alone--you had to have been mad--you needed equipment, much as in those old books on mountain climbing expeditions he read as a kid with their lists of gear, how much rope, stoves, tents, etc.    Things you needed:  a therapist, an antidepressant, vitamins and other nostrums, a Fleshlight, any improvised device to bring vibration to the prostate, a mirror to help foster some self-love and esteem, acceptance, a Light Box and an Ott Lamp, strong light lamps for winter blues, green tea, sausages, iron pans, green tea... a bicycle and a courier bag to get back and forth.




Sunday, July 22, 2018

The weekend, apart from a lovely dinner with an old friend starting a new life after the passing of her husband, and the accomplishment of laundry and dishes, has been pretty much a waste.  The workweek left me exhausted, and Saturday, heavy rain the entire day.

It is not until 6am that I finally have any chance too write, but one takes what he can get, and has a glass of wine.  Don't take work too seriously.  How can you anyway.

A chance to read Knausgaard on Turgenev.

It is true, and learned from the highest of minds, that life is suffering.  And I have no idea how much more suffering one's own little stake of life will see.

Talented people are very lazy.  And they are quiet.  They do not wish to exacerbate, but rather get home safe and find a moment conducive to the oddities of their own.

No one can ever grasp the talents hidden in another being, and as with oysters, and creatures, who cannot speak to us directly themselves, I prefer talents raw, as if out of a great unrehearsed peasantry, spiritually minded so as to find their native gifts.  Who taught the bird to sing?  Who taught me to be a good barman?  In all its confusing and exhausting and contentious angles.

At six in the morning I am tracing the Buddha's thoughts back to the initial irritated and craving amoeba, seeking a sense of purity, as if looking for an excuse out of such a Hamlet-show of a job.  How much it costs, personally.  And yet, there is something to be said for it.  It is, as cruel as it is, real.

Alas, there is no better way, to meet people and to get their stories.  And I, a member of the intelligencia, must look to a likened style of understanding, the eye of an anthropologist stuck in himself.  Of course, this was sad, that there was no better way to come upon people in their own habitat, to get their stories,

As a venerable musician explained to me, as I asked him about where he grew up and what it was like back then, the main thing was that you could walk.  You could be home all day, stopping to look at things, that no body, as if trying to protect a neighborhood , would stop you, thinking you were weird.

In a dream I go back to the old hillsides where I grow up.  It's summertime, the corn is high, the green is at its most impossible richness.  And now it's getting closer to dusk, but the light is strong, and making shadows to show the depth of these valleys and all their pockets.  I must be getting on soon, dinnertime.  I linger, taking photos with my phone.  I cannot stay long.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

It is the selfish who survive.  They control conversations, have children, run down our world.

They come in late, just before the kitchen closes, after the working people, decent folk,

have worked hard all night, very hard, from the beginning.  Just before five hours

of absolute running and discordance, they come, loud, presumptuous, more than half

intoxicated.

Adding two hours to each and every night.

Such that when I finally get home

after sorting it all out

I am stuck in the second rush of adrenaline to get through it, there at ten

when I finally accepted my spiritual duty to a brother man,

now at four in the morning still agonizing.

And I have a long way to run, a long way to pace like a wild animal,

in defense of myself.  Just to calm down,

which is impossible.  The Leopard in me must pace on for miles

in the jungle of the night.



It's five in the morning, and to feel like a normal human being, all alone at this hour,  there is water heating, ready for (gluten free) pasta.

Toward the end of his trout entree, I am finally able to tell my friend, his summer vacation time coming, "life is suffering."  That's what we are here to learn as students.  The universal lesson on life.  You know that, I know that.  It's the lesson we get as living beings.  I nudge my still-standing chin in the direction of the people in their queer animal state, making noise.  "My view on pleasure."

There is always the suffering part of any pleasure, come later or sooner, in or out.  I can hear myself in all their talk, me thinking it was, once upon a time, fun to be so... Alcohol increasing the desire but lessening the ability...  booze having its way, picking the brain, in an enjoyable way.   The intoxicated find themselves having great verbal abilities, masters of conversation, masters of wit.

And to see now, somehow I get it now, the misery evident in people trying to enjoy themselves, it is unnerving to see.

These are moments when you realize you must help people understand the Buddha's lessons.  Your only real job ever is to help out fellow beings.


Is it worth mentioning, that life is suffering, as Buddha said..  It might not help you so much, as a writer.  For then writing too would be miserable, at attempt at pleasing one's own self, another illusion.