Sick Bed Poem, Part 3

All poems posted on Facebook first.

 

Who Cares

It

is

challenging

to

continually

post

poems

on

facebook

and

other

places

on-line

and

to

have

no

one

like

them

even

though

i

know

the

poems

are

good.

The

advantage

of

being

a

sick

poet

is

that

for

a

brief

period

of

time

you

get

to

not

care

what

anyone

else

thinks.

In

a

healthier

state,

i

would

care

more

about

my

poetry

not

being

liked

but

when

in

a

sick

bed,

who

cares.

I’m

doing

this

for

myself.

What

the

hell

else

is

there

to

do?

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The Inventor Of A Place Where The Place Is Not

I am an inventor of a place where the place is not.

I am pleased with the results of my invention.

Outside my back door I have simulated Northern California.

Outside my front door is the suburbs of Southern California.

I grew up in Northern Califonia. I currently reside in the suburbs of Southern California and experience a kind of subtle homesickness the moment I walk out my front door. This homesickysickness has forced me to become an inventor of a place. I call it a homesickysickness to reduce the painfulness of the expereince.

Homesickysickness creates a longing in a person to be somewhere they are not. It is a painful experience, especially when the longing is for a radically different place than the place in which one is.

Southern California is not that far from Northern California. An ambitous person could drive a car back and forth between the two, twice, in one day. But still, North and South could not be further apart. They are two totally different universes with absolutly nothing in common. I often state that a person should need a passport to go from one to the other. They are that radically different.

Make no mistake about it, California is a bipolar state.

The Southern California suburbs are even more radically different than Northern California suburbs. Even the birds, driveways, parks and mailboxes look different here.

In Northern California there is green. Green everywhere. And water seems to be more prevalent. And clean air. The light is different. The food tastes fresher. The lifestyle is more laid back. Artists and readers are not in hiding.

In Northern California I would often spend my days reading and felt fine about it. I would see other prolific readers around town. In Southern California I feel like I am doing something wrong when in a book for too long.

In Northern California my attention span and diet seemed to flourish. In Southern California there is too much distraction to care about these things.

In Northern California the culture is much more progressive and the people are slower, more bohemian and, well I hate to say it, but more well read. I lived in Northern California for forty years and never met a white person proud of their guns. In the Southern California suburbs white people are proud of their guns everywhere.

Televisions are everywhere in Southern California suburbs. It is probably the same up North but I like to think more channels are on public televsion networks up North. I could be wrong.

In Southern California there is brown and some green. My eyes spend an entire day searching for a significant patch of green in LA.

People here move too fast. People work too much. Facades masquerade for the real person. Image is king.

Heat and sun are constant. Style counts most. Culture is visual. Education levels are mediocre and general at best. The norm is found everywhere one looks. Those who are radically different are either in hiding or do not exist.

I never, ever, ever, ever see people reading books in Southern California but everyone is on phones. People tend to dislike each other a lot more in Southern California. It is a hostile place. The political zeitgiest is conservative.

I am a stranger in a strange land.

As a result I have become the inventor of a place in my backyard. I have grown trees and plants that are specific to Northern California. I have created an atmosphere that is Northern California. I even have a small redwood tree that refuses to grow.

My backyard is a laid back place with plenty of different areas to read and a teardrop trailer to nap in. I water constantly to maintain the green. I have built fire pits and hung hammocks from trees. I have captured several birds and squirrels from Northern California and set them free in my backyard. Most have gone back up North, despite being well fed.

I have stolen road signs from Northern California and placed them around my yard. I have taken these road signs down because seeing them just makes me too sad. I always end up putting them back up. And then taking them back down. And then putting them back up.

I am continually at work on creating a place where the place is not.

It has become an obsession. It is what I do to keep myself from becoming too depressed.

My wife gets mildly frustrated that I do not go out my front door as much as she would like. I tell her to please go run free in the world out there but she always prefers to stay with me. Okay then, lets get wine and smokes and go into the backyard, I say.

Why would I go out there more than I must? There is little I want to see, smell, taste or hear out there. Everyone is moving too fast. Normalizing Capitalistic Propaganda has been most successful here and everyone is pissed off about it happening to them. No, I prefer to stay in my backyard where sanity can be found.

Visualizing a landscape in Northern California can put me to sleep in under two minutes. I have not had the same result with my various Southern California visualizations.

I do almost everything in my backyard. I love my backyard in the same way a person loves a beloved dog or a penis or an iPhone. I only go out my front door when I must. I try to go for walks but always return home depressed. As a result most of my life is passed in the Northern California of my Southern California backyard. I prefer things this way. I feel home here. My anxiety is diminished and homesickysickness dissipates.

I am able to invent a place which is not the place I am in by creating an environment which allows me to forget the place I am in. This is the most important aspect of being an inventor of a place where a place is not- the invented place must be good enough that it enables forgetfulness and as a result encourages the imagination to become real.

Come visit me sometime in Northern California if you are ever in LA.

The YouTube Sensation!

Well, not really. Very, very far from it in fact. But if you like what you have read on my blog here and are interested in further explorations of madness, personal liberation, creativity and the general going ons in the mind of one obscure man please check out my YouTube page where I will be regularly posting my homemade electronic/experimental music and my philosophical diatribes/polemics. Spread the word if you can! Thank you. Now back to your normal programming.

The Making Of An Indebted Man

I was perfectly content spending all day and night in my chair. Yes, I dealt with intense anxiety but that is only because when a person spends a lot of time sitting still in a chair they become very aware of what everyone else is staying busy to forget- death. I was very aware of the inevitability of my own death and not knowing when it would come made me feel very apprehensive. But I dealt with it and aside from this, I felt very content spending all day and night in my chair doing whatever I wanted.

I read my books. I stared out the window. I watched the sun set and the sun rise. I drew pictures. I followed my breathing. I meditated upon various things. I remembered my youth. I masturbated. I ate food that was delivered to me from a health food co-op. I felt peaceful. I lived off money that was provided to me by the generosity of others. I was not doing anything with my life and as a result I felt like I was living fully.

My mother would occasionally visit me and become mad. She always brought me flowers (I don’t know why). My mother bringing me flowers made me feel very uncomfortable. Why was I just sitting in that chair? She was angry that I was not doing anything with my life (my father could not even deal with visiting me). She could not understand that I was doing everything with my life. She wanted me to get up more. She did not think that spending all my time in a chair, alone in my room was healthy for a young man. I told her that the greatest thing about my life was that I was a man free of debt (I told her this because I knew she lived buried in debt).

My father and my mother owned two large homes. They had numerous credit cards. Several cars. A small airplane. My main memories of my father and mother are of them sitting around the kitchen table with a large check book opened and stacks and stacks of bills piled up in the center of the table. As a kid I knew that I did not want that to be me. But then my mother said to me one day when she came to visit: Debt my son is a wonderful thing. It is what our society is built upon and it is what allows us to have a good life. I didn’t know why, but my mother’s words often had a strong unconscious influence over me. They made me do things that I knew I really did not want to do.

A man dressed in a standard business man’s suit came into my room one day. He was carrying a briefcase. I was at the point where I was trying to teach myself how to walk on the ceiling. I would not sit in the chair as much and instead I would learn how to walk on the ceiling. That would feel like a valid accomplishment to me. I was obsessed and fascinated with the idea of learning how to walk on the ceiling. My imagination was running wild. The man offered me an American Express Card, a MasterCard and the opportunity to have any graduate school of my choice paid for by a loan. He told me that these things would drastically improve my life and I decided to think about it.

Should I give up learning how to walk on the ceiling? Should I not be spending so much time sitting in my chair, enjoying my life? Suddenly I felt bad for the way I was living. Irresponsible. Failed. Maybe there was a more adult way to live? Maybe debt could give me an even better life than the one I already had? I would at least make my mother, father, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt, wife, creditors, debtors, president, congress people, advertisers, business owners and others that I was not aware of proud. When the man dressed in the standard business suit returned to my room I told him ok. I signed several things. I took the cards. I chose a graduate school that I would attend and the man told me when I could start. He gave me a check that he told me I would pay back someday in the distant future. Congratulations son. You have made a smart choice for the direction of your life. Welcome to being a contributing member of society. This idea made me nervous but I went to graduate school anyways.

I got a graduate degree. I was then offered a house and decided why not. It would be nice to have my own home. A different man in a suit told me that the house could be all mine if I just signed here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

I got the house. It was a nice house with a large backyard. I bought furniture for the house with the cards that I was given by the first man in the standard business suit. I was then offered more cards by various strangers who seemed so happy to give them to me. Credit cards were being offered to me by everyone. I had never felt like such an accomplished and trustworthy person before, so I said yes to all of them. I figured this was the responsible thing to do. I had made it! I bought a car. I rented an office and started the business that I was told to start by the people in graduate school. I bought more furniture for my office with the cards that proudly displayed my name on them. Suddenly I felt like someone important. I felt like I was living a legitimate, adult life. I bought patio furniture.

My mother, father, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt, wife, creditors, debtors, president, congress people, advertisers, business owners and others all seemed proud of me. They all wanted to talk with me. When I walked into other people’s businesses I was treated with respect. I had accomplished great things now that I was a man in debt. Suddenly people wanted to spend time with me and pay me for my time. I could buy whatever I wanted but the strange thing was that I started to feel very sad and had no idea why.

I missed those days when I spent day and night just sitting in a chair. I regretted that I had not learned how to walk on the ceiling. I was too busy and occupied now. If I spent too much time sitting in a chair I noticed that I felt bad. I tried but I always felt like I should be doing something else. I checked my iPhone a lot. I had a business to attend to. A house to run and keep clean. Things needed to get done and just sitting in a chair felt like I was letting important things remain undone. Now I was not anxious because of the reality of death, but I had dozens of others things that I worried could go wrong. My hair started to thin and fall out. I felt a dark despair in me that I had never felt before but began using my cards more to buy things and an effort to get the despair to go away. I bought expensive healing products to heal the diseases I felt like I was vulnerable of catching as a result of living a more stress-filled, adult life. I drank more wine to make the anxiety dissolve away.

I would forget to pay bills. I didn’t have energy to pay bills. How did my parents do it? I didn’t want to pay certain bills. Why should I pay my student loan back, when this was the life it had gotten me into? The man in the standard looking business suit had not told me the truth. I felt more and more depressed. More and more trapped. I longed for the simpler times when I was perfectly content just sitting in my chair. I just wanted to be able to walk on the ceiling and do other spontaneous and creative things. Instead, my life became routine. There was nothing else to do.

No one else seemed to notice how much I was suffering. I thought about ending my life. I thought about how trapped I felt. I felt rage towards the men in business suits and my mother for giving me terrible advice. I felt set up. I started experiencing anxiety attacks and was given Lexaproby another man in a nicer suit. After several weeks of taking the pills I started to feel better. I started to feel a bit more relaxed and content in my life. It was working! The despair and anxiety subsided and gradually I was not so miserable going to work. My sex drive vanished, I put on a bit of weight but when I sat down at my kitchen table and paid off the stack of bills, it didn’t feel so bad. Now I could begin getting my credit score back on track. I could start exercising, meditating and maybe even reading again. I could begin to just enjoy working, driving, buying things, hanging out with other people, taking care of my house and living an average life in the suburbs. It felt nice. I lost all interest in learning how to walk on the ceiling but who cares, that sort of thing doesn’t matter anyways.

Why I Quit Being An Artist In America

I am not happy about it. It is the source of a feeling of daily defeat and frustration for me. I have yet to reconcile myself to a less creative and more economically driven life. But I had no choice. I gave it all that I had for many years, but I was getting older. I was reaching a point of no return. I had to make a choice. I chose to go back to graduate school and become a “professional.” Is there anything more antithetical to being an artist than being a professional? I don’t think so. It is the ultimate insult to a creative life.

But this is what America does to people. It turns them into professionals of one sort or another. America forces a person to specialize in order to make a legitimate income. Most people go willingly. They prefer to specialize and live a more comfortable life. Life certainly is easier this way. Get a degree, a license, and start a business of some sort and you are on your American way. With enough commitment, anyone can get there because this is the American way. There is nothing more normal in America than a degree, a license and a business. It is just what the vast majority of people do.

But in one way or another, the artist resists this kind of normalization. This is why they have chosen to be an artist in most cases. They want to live a different kind of life. They want to live a life not defined by degrees, licenses and business transactions. Artists are searching for a different, less specialized, more creative way to live a life. But America does not like this. America wants everyone to do what it believes is culturally and economically correct. America wants everyone to conform and for those who don’t- they will be punished. They will be punished by having to work marginalizing jobs, live in undesirable conditions, experience disappointment from family members, receive no government or family support, constant public shaming/disregard and a chronic feeling of failure that often will not leave the artist alone. To be an artist in America requires an immense inner strength, conviction and courage that most Americans have squeezed out of them by the time they are handed their college diplomas.

I still make art. I hope I will always make art. But I no longer make art in the way a person needs to make art in order to earn the title of being an artist. An artist is not someone who makes art on the weekends or when they can. An artist is committed to art. This is what they do. They make art all the time. 9am until late in the evenings. Almost every day. I cannot think of any other profession or line of work that requires more time and self-discipline (with as little economic and societal reward) as being an artist does. Being an artist is a remarkable thing but it is also brutal. When you are in the process of making the art there is nothing else in the world that feels more meaningful and rewarding. You are doing exactly what you feel you should be doing with your life. But when you step out of the creative process, life can feel pretty bleak. You need to figure out how you are going to pay that bill or you need to bundle up because the room that you are renting or the apartment in the ghetto is freezing cold. Make no mistake about it- being an artist in America absolutely sucks.

Look at who the vast majority of Americans admire. It’s men in suits, hard working professionals slaving away at their jobs. People in the military or government jobs. Bureaucrats and athletes, doctors and lawyers. When have you ever heard a newscaster or a politician say the word “artist” outside of when a bunch of them tragically perish in a terrible fire? Most Americans think that these American Idol winners or high grossing actors are artists. These pop stars and Hollywood actors have colonized the word artist but they could not be any further from what an artist is. Instead, they are just cut out figurines posing as artists. They just end up making life even more punishing for the real artists at work in America.

An artist in America is usually a poor person who works day after day at their art with little or no recognition in return. An artist is someone who is doing what they are doing not for the money but because they love the creative process. If they make money from the creative process, great. If not, great. Either way they are committed to the creative process in a way that makes most other people’s level of commit to their work look flakey in comparison. But to be a professional in America you do not have to be that committed. You just need to show up and do your work with a smile, no matter how painful it feels. You need to be able to fake your commitment really well but when you go home at night you can enjoy the comforts of a warm home and talk lots of trash about how much you hate your job. An artist never does this. They are in love with their work, even to the extent that their work has forced them to live in the freezing cold.

Fuck America for doing this to its artists. This country should be ashamed of itself. We are all slaves to the mighty dollar and anyone who is not- we punish. I could no longer hang with the punishment, so I quit. I called it a day. I threw my brushes out. I couldn’t take being demeaned in my bartending job anymore. I couldn’t take the feeling that I was a failure every time I sat down to a family meal. I could not take not having enough money to support myself. I could not take other people’s disappointment in me. I couldn’t take knowing that I was possibly going to still be broke at the age of fifty five. I couldn’t take the immense amount of silence that I received when I tried to get my art out into the world. I could not take the feeling that being an artist in America really had no point (unless you are willing to completely sell out and become a professional artist).

I now have a warm house. I have some money in the bank. I don’t have to ask my parents for cash (thank god). I have several dogs and a few cars. I run my own business and have a profession. I have the respect of some others and my family seems proud. I am grateful for all of this but I am no longer an artist. This is a source of a lot of pain for me and I cannot seem to make this pain go away, no matter how much I meditate and do yoga.  I am just one more victim of the out of control, anti-creative, American money obsessed machine. Ultimately I have no one else to blame but myself. I jumped ship. I allowed other people’s concern to get the best of me. I chose to go back to graduate school. I am the one who after years of resistance and conviction, became afraid and gave up. The American punishment worked on me. There is no person who I respect more than an artist over the age of 40 in America. The fact that they are over the age of 40 and still fully committed to the process of being an artist is truly a remarkable thing. In my eyes, they are heroes. Despite the harsh conditions and public disdain, these people have managed to continue to stay the creative course and remain artists in a country that resents them for it.

Almost Suicidal

You have not decided to isolate yourself from the outside world. You have just become an isolated form in your own inner world.

It just kind of happened.

The strings or shackles have been cut. You just don’t care anymore about responsible things that need to be taken care of in the world. What happens will happen. You just don’t care.

You have withdrawn or melted into a very isolated and solitary space. You are not sure if this is space is in the world or in your head. Maybe it’s both- like a room within a room.

You don’t really know if this space is real or daydream. It is probably all daydream you suspect but you can’t wake up out of it.

You are just barely getting by.

You feel like you have been beaten down or beaten up by the outside world. Your tank is on empty. You feel drained of all vital energy. It’s as if you were inside the high spin cycle of a claustrophobic washing machine for the past several days. You have just gotten out.

Now you have cut all the strings. You have retreated like a wounded animal into its hole.

You are tired, too drained of vital energy to do much of anything. Even masturbation feels like no fun.

This is not what good feels like even though you say to no one that you are fine.

Continually on the edge of wanting to cry.

Dogs bark. Cars go by. Shadows move. Leaf blowers make ugly mechanical sounds in the distance. You know there is an engaged and active world out there but you are no longer a part of it. You are on the other side now. The side which is totally removed.

A someplace state in between waking and being sound asleep.

You feel alone with what your life has become and have no idea how to make it something you feel happy to share with others. You look for self-help and necessary consolation in the creative works of others. Sometimes you are so grateful to find it there.

Every week it is the same ascent and descent. Again and again. The struggle. The spin cycle. The ass kicking and then the immense, solitary drain. Is there any escape?

All life gradually goes flat inside you. Not even the sunshine helps much anymore.

But why not be happier? Why not just stop the grieving? Stop the wallowing in all the negative thought about what your life has become? Can’t you just accept that this is the way your life is now? That you will never be that?

You take your daily vitamins and pretend like you are taking a handful of sleeping pills. The bright white paint on the surrounding walls feels institutional.

When you hear yourself saying “I love you too,” you feel nothing. You want to mean it so much but you can’t find meaning anywhere at all.

You know you have things to do but you do not care. You are somewhere in the world but no longer of it. You want to create your own, more desirable inner world. You want to listen to strange sounds. You want to become idle while watching the day go by. You want to read even though you don’t really absorb the words. You want to have a drink but you know it is much too early.

You try though. You try to fill the empty space with meaning. You try to fill your hole with the things you like to do. To recreate the more authentic and desirable life you feel disdainfully ripped out of most days of the week.

It hurts.

There are no new emails in your inbox. No new text messages on your phone. No one is thinking about what you are currently going through. No one cares about anything you write.

There is present pain that no one can see. You walk around in a daze. You do not care that your body is not clean and your hair is a mess. Outside of the dull existential pain and the heavy lethargy you can’t feel anything at all. It is a heavily muted state. At least the anger and anxiety is gone now, you think.

Maybe you are really sick. In the body or head?

You will put headphones on, listen to beautifully strange, ambient music that induces a kind of liminal state as you walk around the park. I’m this isolated and detached from the world all around, you will think. But you know you now prefer it this way because it is the way it often is.

You look in the refrigerator, again and again, but keep finding the same nothing there.

You talk to no one. Words don’t want to come out. You are surprised to notice that you are not even thinking that much. It is as if everything has been droned out.

You want to be productive but can’t. Nothing is now happening.

Effort has to be made just to exist. Just to get from here to there. There to here. You want to clean things but you can’t find the point. Anyways, there is no energy to bend over and pick things up.

Exhausted and alone. Like what it may feel like on the inside of a dead egg.

You slowly move around like a hypnagogic patient convalescing in hospital after a traumatic event has taken place. You are like the broken and depressed dried leaves you notice all over the ground. The barking dog in the distance. The fly frantically circling above your head.

Maybe it is now all over for you. You know that the world is really busy out there. Rush hour traffic is soon to begin. All kinds of things are going on but you no longer know how to happily participate in any of it outside of being drunk.

You hear passing sirens and are briefly reminded of the thing you always fear.

It is hard to imagine tolerating this much more.

When you stand up to swat the fly you realize you were just in some kind of dreary, high-pitched sound in the ears, altered state.

Maybe you should put the sharp scissors away?

I’m Mad

My wife just asked me, “Are you mad at me?” I said, “No, I’m just mad.”

I am mad about everything right now. What is wrong with anger when it is a logical response to a terrible situation? I am mad that a man like Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States. I am mad that I live in a country where the majority of people voted for a man with OBVIOUS and SEVERE Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I am mad that all the white, male, power hungry men have won. I am mad about what this will mean for the values of freedom, intellectualism, peace, non-violence, creativity, equality, social justice, integrity, honesty, sharing, environmental consciousness, non-authoritarianism, independence and autonomy that I believe in. I am mad that police officers and the military will get more praise, power and prestige. I am mad that there will be more conformity and worship of money and business. I am mad that people who are not cool will now be in power. I could go on and on, but I am just mad.

I realize that anger is an emotion that arises and then gradually dissolves. This too shall pass. I am mad about this because I want this anger to remain. How else will I be able to continue to oppose and not give in to this catastrophe? The society in which I live will be forever changed. I am mad that American nationalism has now taken over. I am mad that people think that a multi-billionaire is the fit leader of a working class revolution. I am mad at the degree of stupidity and arrogance that has become confused as the way to “Make America Great Again.” America has never not been great but I am mad that it just got a lot worse. I am mad that America is only going to become dumber and even less tolerant than it was before. I am mad that racism and sexism has just been normalized. How does a man who said all the awful things Trump has publicly said get elected to be President? How does a woman who seems like her husband’s puppet get to be first lady? I just do not get it and I am mad about this.

I have a long day at work ahead of me. How am I going to go to work feeling so mad? I was supposed to exercise this morning but I was too mad. I can hear ringing in my ears. I don’t want to leave my house. I feel afraid of anyone who thinks that it is a good idea that Trump has been elected as President. I hope I will be able to control myself if I am confronted by someone like this. I am mad that after having one of the better, cooler and more intelligent Presidents in American history (Obama) we end up with far right, extremist, Republican, uncool, opportunists seizing control. People who actually think building a wall and shooting dissenters are great ideas are now in power. I am mad about this. I am mad that uncool people are now seen by the mass of Americans as being cool. I mean look at Trump’s Vice President. He is a robot. As uncool as a person can get. I could go on and on but I won’t. I know I already said I would stop but when I am mad sometimes I keep going on and on even when I know I should stop. But even my dogs are mad. They have been barking all morning.

*Sorry for any grammar errors. I am too mad to care.