Sick Bed Poems, Part 1.

All poems written and posted on Facebook while sick in bed over the past week.

“Fuck”

After being

Up for

An hour

Or so,

Taking care

Of a

Few Sunday

House chores,

After being

Sick in

Bed all

Day I

Sat back

Down on

My bed

And said

“Fuck” out

Loud to

No one.

Health

I want you

Back so bad

That I’m willing

To lay here

In bed for

Days on end

To have you

Back with me.

Failed Experiment

I’m a failed

Experiment.

I was raised

To be upper

Class.

Wealthy beyond all

Measure.

My childhood and

Young adult life

Filled with Private

Schools, Symphonies, Tutors,

Museums, Country Clubs,

Five Star Hotels,

Finest of Dining,

Exclusive Summer Camps,

Brand New Cars,

Clothes Shopping at

Nieman Marcus and

Nordstrom.

But for whatever

Reason it did

Not feel right

And I dropped

Out.

Now I’m an

Older man living

A lower middle

Class life and

Sometimes I wonder

What I would

Have been like

If I were

Rich.

Sickness Favors The Poet In A Person

The thing

About poetry

Is that

It is

Impossible to

Write it

When you

Have much

To do.

Poetry comes

On its

Own time,

And if

You force

It, it

Is crap.

Poetry requires

Empty space

Within which

To arise.

A busy

World like

This world

Is a

World with

Absent poets.

This is

Why being

Sick in

Bed for

Days on

End can

Favor the

Poet in

A person.

Small Pleasures

It happened once when I was 6 or 7.

Today it happened again.

I was watching a fly,

Resting on a window

With the afternoon sun warming its belly.

I could swear I saw it smiling.

Sick Bed

The past two or

Three days I’ve been

Stuck in a sick bed.

Days ravaged by

Exhaustion and nights

Tormented by a stabbing

And swollen sore throat.

Writing poetry on Facebook

For a few others to read,

It’s a remarkable thing.

Who would have ever

Thought that a sick man

Could still be creative in

The world even while

Stuck in a sick bed.

A Thought From A Psychotherapist Sick In Bed.

If you knew

The stories

I’ve heard.

Again and again.

The vast majority

Of people are

Absolutely crazy and

Completely emotionally unhinged.

Centers of a

Made up universe

That only exists

In their self

Centered and deluded

Heads. And for

The most part

These are the

Ones who don’t

Or won’t or

“Don’t need” therapy.

Just a thought

From a psychotherapist

Sick in bed.

MTV Overdose

It doesn’t happen

Anymore.

But when young it did

A lot.

I would overdose on

MTV.

Often at 1 or 2am.

When this happened

I really

Believed I was

A rock star.

Sometimes the effects lasted

Days.

Courage and Likes

It takes courage to write

Poems no one likes.

But Note To Self:

If people liked your poems

You would not be the kind of

Poet you are.

Not Giving A Shit

If

Sickness

Has

Taught

Me

One

Thing

It’s

That

I

Need

To

Improve

At

Not

Giving

A

Shit.

My Wife Likes My Poetry

Almost every

Poem I

Write I

Read to

Her.

She always

Seems to

Like most

Of what

I write,

Which is

Good since

I’m always

Unsure.

Collecting Lemons

All the

Lemons had

Fallen to

The ground.

Some decomposing,

Some not.

I felt

Bad, the

Lemons took

So much

Time to

Grow Into

What they

Became. So

I got

A green

Plastic grocery

Bag, got

Down on

Hands and

Knees and

Began picking

Them up.

“Lemons are

A good

Source of

Vitamin C,”

I told

Myself with

Mud on

My hands.

Vitamin C,

Always good

For a

Sick man.

 

(Part 2 coming tomorrow.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leonard Cohen Died Tonight

unknown

Prince, then David Bowie and now Leonard Cohen. What a terrible year this has been for those of us deeply touched and taught by these creative visionaries.

Leonard Cohen was once a wild man. Then he became a Buddhist monk. But he was still a wild man, even when he was a Buddhist monk. I love the story of him sneaking out behind the meditation hall early one morning to drink his coffee and smoke a cigarette.

A lover of women, words, good whiskey and wine. A fine poet indeed. A man with impeccable style, in so many more ways than just how he wore his clothes. The kind of youthful charm Leonard Cohen had well into old age, was proof that a man can grow old without growing old. Every time you heard him speak you listened and learned something original and new. A real philosopher and poet he was. Not many, if any, around like him anymore.

Leonard why did you have to go? I know you were almost really old, but couldn’t you hang around a few more years? I am not quite ready to make a go of this without you in the world.

His novels, poetry and songs where doorways into imaginative landscapes and lovescapes, the likes of which a person never heard before. Without even knowing it was happening he taught you how to live and how to die. This world will no longer be the same place without him in it.

I don’t know as much about Leonard Cohen’s songs, books and poetry as I probably should. I know the basics of Leonard Cohen’s life but I can’t tell you specifics from his biography. For me Leonard Cohen was an example of how to live as a man and an artist. It is strange to me that I have the deepest reverence and respect for a man I have never met. I studied his interviews and from that I learned what I needed to know. I have his album Songs Of Love And Hate hanging on my wall, in the same way that someone would hang a cross or a picture of their hero.

I suppose this is what Leonard Cohen meant to me. He was my teacher. He was a man who spoke more eloquently about how to live life and deal with the various demons he struggled with than any other man I have heard speak. He made me feel less alone with my demons and despair. He showed me the way to deal; through solitude, meditation, occasional nights filled with wine and women, books, music and filling up journals with words and art.

How many people become icons but continue to live in very humble conditions, on the second floor of a small home (his daughter and her family live below) in a lower economic neighborhood? He didn’t care much for more ostentatious material things. Money was not his main thing. How rare to find a human being (especially a successful one in America) who puts his art and his life before preoccupations with money, status and more materialistic things.

In today’s America, it is the poets and artists who go unseen. No one talks about them. Leonard Cohen broke through the thick cloud of obscurity and showed generations of artists and poets that they do not have to live a defeated, delegitimized and conformist life. He showed artists, poets and writers that there are alternative ways of living where you can keep your edge and remain in the poetry.

I could be wrong but I think Leonard Cohen somehow knew me. I often felt like he was talking right at me, especially when talking about isolation, loneliness, women, love and art. But I know everyone who loved him felt this way. That is what made him so great and this is what makes things feel so much more hollow and empty now that he is gone.

Thank you for everything Leonard Cohen. You were such a class act. I will continue to live the things you taught. Hallelujah.

Stuff To Make Sandwiches With

Mayonnaise.

All of our lives are running away from us and all we have to let us know that this is happening is our withered reflections when looking in mirrors. I am someone who is continually aware of how my life is running away from me. Often I will look at pictures of people in the 1950’s and 60’s and think about how their lives have completely run away from them. I am well aware that I am up against the same fate, every moment of every day.

I have a particular practice or daily exercise that I employ for better managing the feelings of dread and futility that arise when a person is aware of their life running away from them. I make sandwiches. I try to make at least two sandwiches a day but on a bad day I will make five. There is no greater satisfaction in my life than eating a sandwich that I have made. The thicker the better. I do not enjoy thin sandwiches. Thin sandwiches are for those who are not courageous. Thin sandwich makers are so afraid of the realities of life that they do everything to calorically restrict themselves so they can feel the illusory impression of being immortal and unaffected by aging. I prefer thick sandwiches because not only do they satiate the more fear prone parts of my brain, but they also allow me to better enjoy a life that I know is running away from me.

I use the healthiest bread that I can buy. This means bread with a high fiber and seed content. Not only is this bread delicious but I do not feel so guilty after eating large amounts of it. I know that I have superseded my daily recommended fiber intake and this helps me feel more confident about the workings of my bowels. I prefer using organic mayonnaise on whatever high fiber bread I use, but since my wife is vegan I normally have to resort to using organic vegan mayonnaise. The good thing about using organic vegan mayonnaise is that I can use larger amounts of it and not feel so doomed to coronary heart disease. I also like to use large amounts of organic spicy mustard, the names of which I can never pronounce. The combination of organic vegan mayonnaise and organic spicy mustard usually and temporarily suspends any kind of existential dread.

My wife and I both try to keep our refrigerator loaded with stuff to make sandwiches with. My wife is younger than I. Not much younger in terms of the span of human history on planet earth but much younger in terms of the deterioration of the human body. Fourteen years can make a massive difference when it comes to the ravages caused by aging. But because my wife also suffers from a certain existential awareness (a fundamental signifier of an intelligent mind) she too is aware of life running away from not only herself but also from her beloved husband and her even more beloved three dogs. In a way I envy her youth. Even if in youth a person is aware of their lives running away from them they still have the underlying comfort of knowing that they still have a good amount of time to lose. Once you are older, the awareness of life running away from you fills you with more despair (or denial) because you know you have much less time to lose.

My wife has picked up the sandwich making practice from me. She also finds it an effective way to deal with the awareness of a run away life. I appreciate that she dedicates just as much interest in keeping our fridge filled with stuff to make sandwiches with as I do. Because my wife is still young enough where she still has the ability to have an incredibly attractive figure (which often provides a person with the fit illusion of being immortal) she does not make her sandwiches as thick as I do. She usually makes her sandwiches with things like organic vegan cheddar cheese, organic sprouts, organic pickles, organic lettuce or organic kale and organic sauerkraut. For some reason she always insists on toasting her seeded wheat bread, which is something I never do. This is another luxury of being young- you feel like you have more time to spend on doing trivial things. I never toast my bread, only because I feel like I just do not have the time. For her she still has a good amount of time to give to such superfluous things. (This is why most good art, literature, film and music is made in youth. A young person has more time to spend passionately dedicated to such things. Once a person is older they just want to spend time with life or living because there is less time and energy to give towards working at things that feel more superfluous the older and sicker a person gets.)

I stuff my sandwiches with a plethora of different organic things. I use various kinds of organic nuts, organic onions, organic vegan cheeses, wild tuna or wild salmon from a can, organic humus, organic pickles, organic sprouts, organic vegan sausages (usually uncooked), organic cabbage, organic kale, organic mung beans, organic sauerkraut, organic habaneros and organic baked barbecue potato chips for extra crunch. I find that stuffing my sandwiches with things that create a crunch effect allows me to discharge a lot of the anger and frustration that I feel with regards to a life that is running away from me and everyone I love. Crunching is a very effective way to deal with this chronic frustration that I feel in my life.

It requires mindfulness and slow movements to keep everything in the sandwich, rather than falling out onto the plate. What I have found is that with the right positioning of everything inside the sandwich and with mindful movements, overboard condiments can be avoided when eating a thick sandwich. Whatever things do fall out on to my plate, I make sure to eat once I am finished eating my sandwich. I look as this as a kind of dessert.

My grandfather, on my father’s side, used to do a similar thing. After the age of forty he was also very aware of life running away from him. He often spoke about how he could not believe how much older everyone was getting. “One minute they were young and filled with life and now they are older and filled with all kinds of unwanted obligations, wear and tear,” he would say when talking about friends, family members, old lovers and celebrities that he liked. Every day for lunch he would eat a large hoagie sandwich. He lived in Philadelphia where there was a hoagie/steak sandwich establishment on every corner. Philadelphians obviously are also very aware of life running away from them and deal with it by making and eating very large sandwiches. Have you seen how big these things are? Some people refer to them as subs, because they are so long. My grandfather would eat one all to himself. Everyday. All alone. A sandwich filled with not organic cheese, meat, hot peppers, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar and oil. He would shake not organic pepper and salt on top and whenever he took me to a hoagie place on one of my yearly visits he would always say, “It is all in the bread kid.” To this day I still believe that to be true but instead of using freshly baked white sourdough bread, I use high fiber wheat or rye seeded bread.

I have found that making sandwiches on a daily basis has been an effective, short-term way for me to deal with the day-to-day knowledge that my life is running away from me. The thicker the sandwich the better. But I also realize that this is a short term solution. I have to keep making sandwiches, sometimes several times a day in order for it to work. Once I am done making and eating my sandwich it is a matter of an hour or so before my sense of life going quickly by returns. I notice when it returns because I feel somewhat depressed. This is usually when I will make another sandwich. If I am away from my home and not able to make a sandwich I will settle for having one made for me. It does not work as well, but it still eases the pain of knowing that it is all quickly passing by.

By the way, now it is Fall. I stay inside as much as I can when it is Fall. Fall is a season that can literally fall on you, so please proceed with caution. Look up, even as you eat sandwiches.