Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chapter __: The Little Way

In depression, everything is too much. Walking is too much. Talking is too much. And doing great things for the Lord feels like just too much. In this I can share with Therese of Liseux the belief that "there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passers-by." The depressed lie in the shadows of the great.

When I was going through my first suicidal depression, even the most basic functions required too much of what I did not have. My father would take me out on walks to get me out of the house and I would walk behind him like Frankenstein, my feet sliding like sandbags across the sidewalk. In public, my eyes never lifted from the floor. Conversation became an excruciating task. When it came to eating and drinking I wished for an IV since, as Virginia Woolfe wrote, I found myself "hating the need to swallow."

A friend of mine had driven up from D.C. to be with me during this dark hour. When he offered himself as a personal servant and asked what might make me feel better, the only thing that held any promise was something smaller than me, something so easy and undemanding that I could not fail at it, or be overwhelmed by it. We decided to go to Home Depot and buy some vegetable seeds.

When I felt like I could do nothing else, when my life seemed so big and broken that I felt incapable of ever accomplishing anything again, I found that in nurturing and bringing to life these little seeds I was able to restore a sense of competence and self worth that eluded me in bigger tasks. I planted them in potting soil in little dixie cups and watered them twice a day. When they started to sprout, I felt a glimmer of hope that things could get better, that life could emerge from a hard shell. I watched them grow bigger each day like a proud father. When spring came, I gave them to my mother to plant outside. Later in the summer, my parents were eating the tomatoes from the vine that grew from the tiny seeds I had planted that winter.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Sins

St. Teresa of Liseux was a scrupulous girl. She used to lament and confess her sins, which to the commoner would seem hardly worthy of being called imperfections. Saying a mean word to one of her sisters or grumbling when given a task to do were perceived as the most mortal of sins.

Teresa's sins seem ridiculous, hardly worthy of confession. But the weight of such imperfections is in the eye of the beholder. While adultery and idolatry might be avoided by those climbing the ladder of divine ascent, other, more particular sins, take their place. Like the gophers at Chuck-E-Cheese, you hit one, and another pops up in a different place.

In attempting to exercise control over my sexual appetite, I have been suffering more now from the sins of gluttony and sloth. St. John Cassian refers to this in his "Eight Vices" as the demons of the belly and of listlessness. After a change in my medication I have gotten my appetite back and eat with enthusiasm, putting on thirty pounds in the last month. But I often eat out of boredom, or to fulfil some (as Evagrius puts it) "sensual desire." An exercise in self control with regards to eating would be eating a modest breakfast lunch and dinner, and eating nothing in between. This is a form of fasting, and Jesus extols fasting as a means of driving out demons. Even though I hate fasting, it might be worth my while to practice it to guard my passions and exercise control over my will, if not to lose weight.

Thanksgiving is a time for feasting, but that time is over now. But I continue to eat voraciously at all hours, even waking up in the middle of the night and making my way to the refrigerator. A full belly invites the listlessness that John Cassian condemns. I eat, then sleep, getting up only to eat again. I may have work to do but I don't want to do it, and nap instead. Fullness of the belly causes heavy eyelids, and the cycle continues. Oh, what a bad monk I would make. But I will continue to practice, and will not be dejected at my weakness. I will keep my eye on the prize.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day Thus Far

Open eyes
Replace open cell foam scraps under reed mat with closed cell mat
Take laundry off drying rack, fold
Light incense, meditate
Make tea
Eat breakfast--oatmeal and bread with cream cheese and strawberry jam
Clean turkey carcass, chop vegetables for soup
Wash dishes
Take out recycling and compost

Monday, November 24, 2008

Excerpts from a letter to M.B., 24 Nov.

i don't think the monks will take me, did you hear? maybe i am not supposed to be a little monk, maybe some voluptuous lip smacking gold and purple flashing supertramp will scoop me up in some bar, some dance hall, some mountaintop. maybe i will burn with lust and love and renounce all my monkey business and devote myself wholehearted to copulating and the fine art of cleaning up dirty dishes after dinner.

i see tattooed arms and necks on the street, so crass, and imagine myself lying naked in my coffin, an untouched canvas of skin stretched on a frame of polished whitewashed bone struts. beds are made for two but coffins for one. my bus feels like a coffin, polished with little dishes and bed and chair, a place where wills go to die. poor bhikku, clutching white-knuckled the world.

when i see tattoos and eternal ink i get visions of altars where people stand side by side like pencils or fence pickets, smelting each other with golden brands, life bracelets, covenant bands. a wife, an inked arm, a coffin, hold places in eternity as my mind pants in indignation and unbelief.

* * *

i am getting heavy. i have gained back all the weight i lost since i was picking my ribs a month ago. i carry myself like an old jake lamata, wife beater and belly. after thanksgiving i think it would be time to start the fasts. i am not afraid of losing what i have at this point. fat to burn and money saved no rob will not starve this winter in his green bus, pockets full of rice.

when i think about being a bachelor i feel good. it would be a wretched state if i lived for myself but since i live for Christ (or have the audacity to claim so) such a wretched life does not belong to me. i am being leased. for a time i operate, performing this or that task, making a slight dent in the gluttonous appetite of despair, returning to my hut, my room, my cell to count my breath. is this a life? is there anything else worth working for? write soon.


On Dejection

St. John Cassian is becoming one of my favorite saints. The following is taken from his treatise "On the Eight Vices" from the first volume of the Philokalia, and are speaking to me in the present state of my spirit:

"Just as a moth devours clothing and a worm devours wood, so dejection devours a man's soul. Seizing the entire soul, it fills it with bitterness and listlessness. Then it suggests to the soul that we should go away from other people, since they are the cause of its agitation. It does not allow the soul to understand that its sickness does not come from without, but lies hidden within, only manifesting itself when temptations attack the soul because of our ascetic efforts. It is for this reason that God does not tell us to forsake the company of men; He tells us to root out the causes of evil within us and to recognize that the soul's health is achieved not by a man's separating himself from his fellows, but by his living the ascetic life in the compnay of holy men."

Friday, November 21, 2008

"All my selves will soon be steepenwolves"

"Let suicide be as stupid, cowardly, shabby as you please, call it an infamous and ignominious escape; still, any escape, even the most ignominious, from this treadmill of suffering was the only thing to wish for." (69)

"I had in my medicine chest an excellent means of stilling pain--an unusually strong tincture of laudanum. Once when despair had again got the better of me I had swallowed a big dose of it--enough to kill six men, and yet it had not killed me. I fell asleep, it is true, and lay for several hours completely stupefied. My empty brain was burning and I had almost lost my memory. Apart from a spell of insomnia and severe pains in the stomach no trace of the poison was left." (70)

"I had no motives, no incentives to exert myself, no duties." (74)

"We went into the dining room, and while I racked my brains again and again for something harmless to say, I ate more than I was accustomed to do and felt myself growing more wretched every moment. Good heavens, I thought all the while, why do we put ourselves to such exertions?" (80)

First Snow

Our words fall carelessly like salt
upon a virgin snow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Basho in the Evening

Tired of cherry,
Tired of this whole world,
I sit facing muddy sake
And black rice.

--Basho, 1682

Saturday, November 15, 2008


"I work in sporadic fits of manic productivity." --Felix Giordano

I competed in my first Poetry Slam at Infusion last night, taking fourth place out of four, but to my credit when the judges were holding up their 7.1s and 8.2s the crowd was booing for a higher score. Two of the slammers were amazing. It was fun after I got over my social anxiety.

Progress on the book is going very slowly. I want to give up. Slowly slowly. Bird by Bird.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Poems for the Evening

The Rain

the rain pitter-patters
and I wish I had a kitty
or something.
Why Every Civilized Person in America Should Use Fenders When Riding Their Bicycle In The Rain

Oh, I remember it:
the icy finger,
the sopping solitary vine
climbing my back,
an unwitting canvas
speckled with grit
and freckles of mud.

When I realized I could
not outrun the Rain,
I resigned myself
to not ride at all,
to take the bus
with the rest of America,
and their umbrellas

sitting in puddles on the floor.
Claustrophobic, I smear a porthole
through the window fogged with breath
only to see an old man gliding
alongside our wheeled submarine,
pedaling his bicycle
like it was a great black Cadillac.

His machine seemed welded to the road;
fifty pounds of steel wheeled through the night
with a slight hand, and a steady clip.
He wore a tan coat that did not bear
the indignant stripe of one made
a slave to the elements,
as I had become, in my humid metal box.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Poem for the Evening


A plate of fried rice,
a cold cup of water,
a handrolled cigarette,
and pleasure
to be found.

Into the Wild

In the final scene of Into the Wild, an emaciated and poisoned Chris McCandless lies sprawled out on the floor of his abandoned schoolbus-turned-home, breathing his last breaths on earth. It is an incredibly moving scene. There were clouds, and Chris' Christ-like beard. I cried as I watched him die because I knew it could be me. He ran off to chase dreams of Alaska and ended up starving to death. Alaska never moved me, but I have chased a lot of stupid dreams, certainly none worth dying for. It was speculated whether McCandless was looking for a death wish, or if he was just naive. He definitely was naive, but he also wanted to survive, and he couldn't. He died defeated. It was the shame that made me cry. That, and that his suffering was so beautiful. He had no one--not his mom or dad to hold his hand, no one to stroke his hair. I have premonitions of my own desolate death and all I can do is cry and hope God will hold my hand. He denied God and died by his own stupid hand and He was the only one left looking down in the end. It was over. It was dreadfully over.

I can see my breath, but it is surprisingly not that cold. Maybe the bus holds the heat from my little scrap-made candle pretty well. It puts off a pretty good light with its thick wick in the jar but the light inside is still dim. It is like a cave. I set up my books, put my clothes and food away, take out my contacts. I am alone. Why does it feel different when I am physically alone, removed like this...and yet all those times I felt I was in a void in a crowded bar, with friends, suffering from the vastness of space and choking nothingness? I WANT TO DO GREAT THINGS WITH MY LIFE. And I want it to COUNT for something. I will lie down on my mat and pray my beads until I fall asleep. Then hopefully I will have the discicpline to do it again tomorrow. And then maybe something will seep in, and take over, and consume me until there is nothing left.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

3:30 to close

i am not under the influence of drugs, or any other substance other than espresso and caramel corn. writing til close.

i cannot decide whether i would like to see david byrne in concert. he is a stranger bird and his eyes are like great swirling ego fleshpot, threatening to swirl around and around my ankles ti i scream, 'david, no more!' to sit and watch david byrne even for a one-on-one show...i would probably scalp my ticket for a pack of cigarettes.

* * *

these are just nonsense words. it is so hard to write when everthing is nonsense. and by nonsense i don't mean jibjabyabyab; i mean that the letters stand together as empty shells, like those russian egg dolls; they are pretty, so pretty and intriciate with old russian peasant women paining so delicately with old wrinckled thick dog skin and leather hand chapped with a tiny tiny painbrush so much care...but it is a shell. there may be another doll inside (baby doll!), and another, but then the dolls will get so small there will be no more, and we have reached the eschaton, the omega point where there are no more words....they have simply run out.

it is hard to write when the words have run out. but when the meaning and grand importance of all words have bled out onto the floor in a puddle of convolution and the newsboys run out into the street screaming "WHAT TO PRINT!? WHAT TO PRINT!?" people speak and their words are worth naught; the bottom has dropped out. What does one say? Hold up a flower. Then what does one do? Put down a flower. What is the essence of language. Pick up the sack. What is the nature of language? Put down the sack. I wish I were an enlightened chinaman. then i could give little cakes and donuts to children all day fat and happy. no. i don't want that. let's investigate that...

* * *

Let's talk about the killers first.

save some face you know you've got one change your ways while youre young boy, one day you'll be man oh girl, he'll help you understand smile like you mean it looking back at sunsets on the east side we lost track of the time dreams aren't what they used to be some things slide by so carelessly smile like you mean it and some one is calling my name from the back of the restaruaant and someone is playing a game in the house that i grew up in and someone will drive her around down the streets that i did on the same streets that i did smile like you mean it

* * *

back to words and their empty currency. if words express an essence, and true essence is nothingness, what can be said? what word can i squeeze out between my lips like a larvae discharged into the world, to be let writhing? to smash? to hold between the fingers? ah radiohead, such beautiful music. i will never be a beautiful radiohead. because my words are empty larvae currency. i am like the worthless steward who buries his words in the ground and when the master digs them up and his eyes light wild FIRE like Zeus and exclaims, "What's THIS!? A thousand rascals beneath your eyelids!" Zeus holds the words of every lasting life, and I bury mine like smoldering chunks of charcoal, modest black turds to refill the earth's coffers.

* * *
I have started working out again, a little; pushups and situps. i want abs like 50. I may start boxing again. I'm sure I could muster some rage up somewhere down there. Dark basement, musty wraps, and bricks wrapped in sofa cushions and ducktaped, rattling like an abused ghost from the rafters above. Smashing until the arms come off.

* * *

Taking a bottle of benzos was fun, I have to admit. I knew it wouldn't kill me, though it was kind of dicey, since I didn't know the dosage one can O.D. on. I have been drunk enough a few times to have had to had the night recollected to me; that was pretty much the picture here. I took four, then five, then another three pills i think, then rode my bike to kate's. she said i was about half an hour late and that i told her it was kept falling off my bike. then i fell off my bike in her front yard. then i was aparently talking enough nonsense that she thought i should go to the hospital. so her and her roomate took me to chestnut hill, where they admitted me. apparently i kept trying to break out. i also kept tying to get kate's roomate to smoke a bowl with me in the E.R. When they tried to take me to Friends Psychiatric I wouldn't let them, i guess i was lucid enough to have convinced them. I'm afraid to say I don't remember anything after that, where i slept, where i woke up. It's past history now. I don't know if i have a substance abuse problem, but i would not be surprised. i will eat up drugs like candy if they are given to me. so i try not to have them given to me. but those benzos were just sitting on my counter and being careless with my life at the moment i was not surprised they made their way down the hatch, or rather, i put them down there. Although I knew they wouldn't kill me, and I knew I was too much of a coward to play that one out, I still wanted, without a doubt, to be taken out of the picture.

* * *

What now, what other nonsense can I write about? There is a girl in front of me drinking a tea in a tan pea coat. i don't know if she is attractive or not. i have never met anyone in a coffee shop like tom waits says, 'you don't meet nice girls in coffee shops.' but i keep trying, except that i don't really try, i just scope out possibilities. and i think, 'hm, what would i say? hello, i am a complete stranger and i don't know why i am talking to you in particular, but here i am. so what do you say, do you want to go out on a date with me?' No, I think my dating days are numbered.

* * *

Fuck this I'm leaving, fucking coffeeshop and their red stools and their peacoat wearing girls that won't talk to grizzly Rob. How will I ever procreate? Maybe it is best that it is as difficult as it is.

I will go back to the bus and stay for a while. Maybe I will fast, but I will probably not be able to cut that. Maybe I will eat rice balls. I will read St. Nelios the Ascetic and hang my head when I think of donuts and la-z-boys and 401ks and breasts. I will gather my supplies, I will pack tight my rucksack. I will eat rice balls and tea and soup. Maybe someone could come visit me. No. This place is for one. Maybe I will die in my bus, just like Chris McCandless. I am sure I am as big a fool.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Half a bottle of Klonopin
and I'm still here.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Windowsill Tablet

i have just swallowed a half bottle of benfoes (klonopn); it was there, an innocent bystander. but i am ravished and empty and looking to consume. I am a failure as an ascetic; I love the world's filthy bedclothes too much, and are repelled by their deceptive and this world lies my eternal agnst.

I dismantle a bic pen and make a cigarette holder. I plug the end with the thin garlic white stub and light and blow through the screen. They are released, and I am set here on this windowsill looking for ways to die, acceptable ways that would not be an embarrassing abomination to the people who are left to have to pick up the pieces. I am close to tears when i think of my parents havin to picks flecks of crainaiel matter from the wallk dicinsfinct the pooldof blood seeping into the bone white lineoulisum. Churchbells hammer softly in the distance, calling us all to prayer, and no one pays it mind. It is nice background music in the damp October air, the slick of maple leaves covering the glazed trollertracks.

* * *

Living is a bad accident. Please let me out, please, give me a pass. I will gladly give my life for anyone who needs it, just give me a name. This medicoracy is nauseating. I smell it over flapjacks and coffee at breakfast when I did Sunday moning, to get nourishment, to live another day, to want to die another day. Wouldn't it make more sense to stop eating? That is alwyas a possibility.

I run from suffering like a scared boy but i wish someone would just grab my wrist and have a wail a nail into it, ripping the ligaments, and flushing me with red, with what it means to really suffer. Mhyl lfe drainign at fieet my feet n bluddles. My little play life, with its play crucficionl

My friends are playing pool, or drinking beers. Oh God, can I trust the, If i was on the bathroom floor (what else is in the medicine cabinent there to the stomach...ah, aspirin), who would find me? If i had a dog it would be gnawing on my corpse trying to get help, but he would know where to go, would probably forget, and go roaming over the great concrete escape, up Price St., to meet up with other dogs and cats in their lot, an animal fellowship. I have no trust in animals. He will say, "my master is dead," and they will all nod in great solemnity, because prayer is beyond animals; it is a foregin thing. But I will still be on the floor, breathing my last.

* * *

I get up, head pounding. i am not dead dammit. i throw myself into one wall limply, then another hoping to crumble the plaster, and decide to do jumping jacks and other aerobic workouts until the blood in my head becomes too sick and i collapse once again; and once again, there is no one to pick me up, so i make my existence on the hardwood floor. If i was in with God no place would be everyplace; but since i am not, it is a wretched geographic boredom, like waiting for buses in Mexico and Thailand, buses that came "when you did not know the time nor place." Then they come and you are taken up into the four wheeled ship among strangers, a vessel to someplace else.

I took ten benzos and I feel the same as an hour ago. Mybe I will have to finish the bottle. Wicked side effects. Memories of happiness are my crown of thorns and puple rose. Really, I don't remember them anymore, they are snipets in a fog in folders titled 'happiness' and 'suffering.' I don't reach into the anymore; I can't. They are lies and spectres of things that dont exist. And yet they constituted the marrow of my being, these experiences. Sometimes I think of my brothers and cry--when such crying comes--Because they are mykin foreever and as long as they live I am more than myself. I have few lasting connections in the world--they are two.

* * *
I woud like to have sex for a night, someone who I can commune and exchange energy with. I want to taste a woman's lips and feel heat.

I am a wretced ascetic. I want to have fun and enjoy life. I see hipserts outsie the artists studios talking and smoking and realize this a 'group,' I group I can ejoy. But when i talk about the uncomfreheiblse ness of God I see we are at differet places. To my credit I have been tryig very god with my vices; I am tryig.

* * *

But what do I do? It is the plaguig question. I know who I am, or am working on it. I read books durig the day and makr coffee oin the morning. Is this the extent of my life? Being so worthles, I pray with all my streanth to be taken out of it all--the nights watchig tv with friends, the drinking, the rorced nsumation with another to bring children in teh world to go through this same suffering. Is it reasonable to put a cap on babies. Women love their babies, so I dont' tknow how this strongodl could be breached. I pot on my wool har at set off for the north, boarding in a fishman's inn on the Pacific Ocean in Maine. I set in the armcair and watch the Olwsehead sadld slake and thik the cofoglomation of thoughs brewing from monelines--how does one kil oneself in a way less embarassting to those to thom it mattes to.

My mom doesnt want me to do it. She is invested in me, her flesh an all. A son's suicde to a mother is

Steppenwolf--On Suicide (cont.)

"On the other hand, all suicides have the responsibility of fighting against the temptation of suicide. Every one of them knows very well in some corner of his soul that suicide, though a way out, is rather a mean and shabby one, and that it is nobler and finer to be conquered by life than to fall by one's own hand. Knowing this, with a morbid conscience whose source is much the same as that of the militant conscience of so-called self-contented persons, the majority of suicides are left to a protracted struggle against their temptation. They struggle as the kleptomaniac struggles against his own vice." (49)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Steppenwolf--Another Excerpt

"In this aspect suicides present themselves as those who are overtaken by the sense of guilt inherent in individuals, those souls that find the aim of life not in the perfecting and molding of the self, but in liberating themselves by going back to the mother, back to God, back to the all. Many of these natures are wholly incapable of ever having recourse to real suicide, because they have a profound consciousness of the sin of doing so. For us they are suicides nonetheless; for they see death and not life as the releaser. They are ready to cast themselves away in surrender, to be extinguished and to go back to the beginning." (48)
My beard is long, and I am still a chaste bhikku. But I would really, really like to make love tonight.


In the spirit of Thoreau, I'm taking stock of my finances in my attempts to get a hold on what it costs to live. The following are monthly expenses.

Food and misc. expenses are estimates, and would probably be more in actuality. I have been trying to eat simpler fare--beans, rice, potatoes, bread--and try to shop for most things at the Russian produce market, which sells bags of potatoes for $1, bags of onions for $1, etc. I am also going to see about getting food at the food pantry at St. Vincent's.

My rent is incredibly cheap because my housemate Chris is incredibly gracious. He did not allow me to pay more even though I offered. He pays $750/mo for a nice two-bedroom apartment. I guess it is offset by my staying in the bus 2-3 days per week. We do not pay for internet, as we pick up a wireless signal from the guy living above us.

The kicker is my medications. I got spoiled by my prescription plan at work; now I have a $500 deductible and they only cover 60% of generics and 40% of brand name drugs after that. I have averaged the deductible over a 12 month period, which is included in the list. This does not include the medication that is $440 for 30 pills, which I am going to try to go off of.

Health Insurance: $162
Car Insurance: $75
Rent: $160
Phone: $63
Groceries: $70
Coffeeshop: $15
Food (out)/misc.: $40
Medication: $80
Transportation: $7

for a total of:

$672 per month

What could be cut out of this? the coffeeshop is my place of work, but i guess i could just as easily go to the library. If I got food at the food pantry that would cut that $70 in half. Eating out and getting donuts at the donut shop down the street could be cut out. Phone could not, and rent could possibly if I lived in the bus full time. Medication could not, neither could health insurance. I wish I could cancel my car insurance since I don't drive the bus, but apparently it has to have it. Pretty cheap by most standards, but also pretty expensive by many in the world.

First Light

It is a mild morning at first light. The bus windows above the bed--four dark blue panes of muted dawn hanging like portraits on a wall--are my first indication that I am opening my eyes 'somewhere else,' that is, in an alien bed. The day is right there, segregated from me by two thin walls of metal and a few inches of rotted fiberglass insulation. I remember the wind howling last night as the rain tentatively spattered against the roof. But I didn't feel a thing. Nature was like a bratty nephew...I liked to be close to it. But not too close. The bus seemed to be just fine.

I put water in the charred pot for tea. I had tried heating the pot over the 9-wick candle I had made last night, a snarling medievil candle snorting wicks as thick as fingers. The water in the pot boiled fast but the candle creamed the bottom with soot. When I went to clean the soot in the dishpan, it made the water black. I poured the dirty water in the sink for the first test of the sand filter. It failed. The water came out just as soapy and black as it was before The sand and charcoal is in a two liter bottle and I am guessing it is not enough to clean the water. Luckily I have another hundred pounds of sand I can use to make a bigger filter. The sink also leaked around the base, so I will have to caulk that today.

I slept well, did not fall off the bed. It seemed to be a mild night, no need for the heater. I wore a wife beater to bed and when I got up to pee in the carbon/sand urinal, I was not cold. To save on propane when it gets colder I am going to run the car heater and the 12v heater while the alternator is running. I need to start the bus once a week anyway since it is just sitting.

The guy who owns the lot left a note for me and wanted to tow my bus. I talked to the other guy in the building, since he parks there too, and he said he would give him a call. After speaking with him, the guy said we can park in the far corner of the lot, which is fine with me. The front windshield and right side windows (including the side door) will not have to be covered since they face a fence-full of vines and scrubs. The rear windows face the street and will probably have to be covered, as will the left side windows.

I had to go to the bathroom this morning--of the solid nature--so it was time to test the sawdust-toilet theory. I lined the 5 gallon bucket with a trashcan and did what needed to be done. I was concerned at first since it smelled pretty bad. But after I had covered it with a few inches of potash and put the lid on the bucket, I couldn't smell a thing. I was very impressed. When I left the bus this morning I threw it in the trash like all those dog owners slyly dropping their doggy's business in unsuspecting trashcans.

The inside of the bus is not spacious, but it is not cramped either. I took the driver's seat out and put it in the basement just to free up some space. I slept well on the bed with the bamboo mat last night, and there is now plenty of room for storage of clothes and food and other things. At this point, I could probably put everything I own in it comfortably.

My food is simple fair for two to three days. Canned soup, bread, jam, rice krispie treats, tea, soy milk, peanuts. Nothing really needs refrigeration, which means it does not need electricity, which is nice. I dismantled and sold the solar panel; I ended up not needing it, but it was good experience building it. I light my space by candlelight and am very happy this way. I will probably bring in the battery packs next week just to give the computers some juice, but I am off to the coffee shop now to write and will charge them up there.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Into the Wild

When I was in Paris I walked through the cemetery in Montemarte. There are lots of impressive tombs and monuments. Each tomb I came to, whether the stained glass windows were broken and it was filled with leaves and bugs, I pointed it out to Jeannie and told her how much I would love to spend a night in one of those creepy tombs. I can even see them now in my mind.

I will be spending my first night in the bus tonight. I have my rucksack filled with my sleeping bag, clothes, books, and food. To be honest I don't really want to go; it is cozy here in the house, and it is raining outside. I will stay in the bus through Thursday or Friday. I will pray and read, make tea and eat bread, wash dishes, write. Not much to do. If I was going to be an anchorite, this is what it would look like. So we'll try a couple nights and see how things go. Society is corrupting, but I am even more corrupting to my self. I will pray to St. Julian of Norwich, the Anchoress, for strength in prayer and for direction in a life I don't feel much like living these days.

Treatise on the Steppenwolf

"Sometimes, indeed, he seemed positively happy. This does not mean that a new and heavy depression did not follow immediately. All day long he lay in bed. He had no desire for food. At that time the young lady appeared once more on the scene, and an extremely violent, I may even say brutal, quarrel occurred which upset the whole house and for which Haller begged my aunt's pardon for days after. No, I am sure he has not taken his life. He is still alive, and somewhere wearily goes up and down the stairs of strange houses, stares somewhere at clean-scoured parquet floors and carefully tended araucarias, sits for days in libraries and nights in taverns, or lying on a hired sofa, listens to the world beneath his window and the hum of human life from which he knows that he is excluded." (20)

"Rather, it had been just one of those days which for a long while now had fallen to my lot; the moderately pleasant, the wholly bearable and tolerable, lukewarm days of a discontented middle-aged man; days without special pains, without special cares, without particular worry, without despair; days when I calmly wonder, objective and fearless, whether it isn't time to follow the example of Adalbert Stifter and have an accident while shaving." (26)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Poem for the Evening

Do you want to die?
What kind of question
is that. Of course
I want to die.
As soon as possible.
I'm going to have 'D.N.R.'
tattooed between my knuckles."
Why would you say something like that?
Because I'm tired godammit. This life
is a sentence
and I want parole. I just hope
someone will put in
a good word for me.
When they lead
the dead past the block,
shuffling his feet,
I burn with envy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

New 'Fu

This is my new zafu. I made it with scrap fabric; it is filled with beans, lentils, and sawdust. I hope it will keep me sittin' pretty.