Sick Bed Poems, Part 2

All poems written while sick in bed and then posted on Facebook.

I Love Saturdays

I was preparing to

Take a nap on my bed.

While staring out the window

There was afternoon,

Blue sky and green plants

Swaying in the wind.

There was dog sounds, car

Sounds and time going by

Too fast sounds.

Then a naked lady with

Beautiful breasts and

Trimmed brown pubic hair

Walked by on the telephone wire.

This is why I love

Saturdays.

Slavery

It is 7:28am.

A time of

Doing nothing. Just

Sitting here with

My coffee, my

Fever, my body

Aches- listening to

Records and watching

The morning outside.

I don’t want

To do anything

But the day

Ahead is filled

With adult responsibilities,

Which just means

Things that must

Get done that

You do not

Want to do.

Poop and Pride

This morning while

Picking up dog poop

I stepped in dog poop.

I became angry, indignant

At something so beneath me.

“I’m no better than poop,”

I reminded myself

Because pride never works.

I became humble

And cleaned the poop

Off my shoe.

My Wife

I’m often grateful

For the absence

Of fear in

My wife.

I’m so riddled

By fear most

Of my life,

Always present.

This is why

I’m often grateful

For the lack

Of fear in

My wife.

Laconian Laundromat

I went into a

Laconian laundromat

With a bag filled with

Dirty clothes.

But nothing made any sense

So I left.

Sick Bed #2

Day four of

Whatever it is

Confining me to

This sick bed.

This sick bed

Is causing my

House to smell

Like a sick

House.

I gathered enough

Strength to walk

Out into my

Backyard and urinate

Under the avocado

And lemon trees.

I watched a

Hummingbird, remembered health

And then I

Walked like a

Sick man back

Into my sick

Bed.

God’s Drilling

When a boy

I thought the sound

Of an airplane

Moving across the sky

Was God drilling a hole

To get out.

Short Poetry

I’m not a very good poet,

Not like some poets I know.

That’s why I like to

Write short poetry.

Pencils, Erasers and Indignation

I feel indignation

Much of the time.

But then I remind myself,

We are just pencil lines

Drawn through infinite space

Soon enough to be erased.

The Plastic Clarinet

There is a plastic clarinet

On my dresser.

It is red,

With blue and yellow keys.

It stands there, erect

Waiting

For someone to play.

But I never do.

Not anymore at least.

Childhoods forever gone,

So I wonder why I still keep

The plastic clarinet.

Birds and Bicycles

Birds are bicycles

Moving across the sky.

Don’t believe what anyone else says.

When you are lonely

Get on your bicycle and go after them.

You will see what I mean.

Health Care

When sick

I try

Not to

Go to

Doctors.

Instead I

Spend hundreds

Of dollars

On natural

Supplements.

Throats sprays,

Immune herbs,

Nasal decongestants,

Colloidal silver,

Vitamin C,

Eucalyptus oil,

Reishi mushrooms,

Wellness Formula,

Zinc lozenges,

Raw honey,

And sometimes

A random

Lover.

I assault

My sickness

With every

Natural remedy

I can

Find and

Afford.

However now

That I

Am married

And older

Lovers are

No longer

Apart of

My health

Care.

Why I am Canceling Work Today

I’m a therapist.

When I am

Ill, your problems

make no sense

To me. Your

Problems, my problems-

All a luxury

Of health.

Strong Character

Most people

Judge but

That is

Only because

Their character

Is weak.

How many

Of you

Assholes write

An entire

Book of

Poetry while

Stuck in

Bed, sick

With flu?

This is

What I

Call strong

Character.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sleeping Wife

Every morning starting at 8, I begin the long process of waking up my sleeping wife. She sleeps in the nude and at around 8am all the blankets are pulled off and her naked and supine body just rests there. Sometimes I imagine that this is how she would look if she were dead. The bedroom is completely dark even though the sun is very much new and alive outside.

I tell her it is time to wake up but she does not respond. I go back to reading my book.

At 9am I remind her that she is missing the best part of the day. Mornings are a time of renewal. Everything has a fresh start and is yet to be destroyed by the rest of the day and night. I try to entice my wife with a cup of two hour old coffee heated up on the stove, but her body refuses to move. Looking at my wife I often think how good her body looks in the nude but how much better it would look if she would just move.

Sometime at around 11am I return to the dark bedroom and remind my wife that she is sleeping her life away. By this time her body has shifted into a different position. Often she is laying on her back and I will notice if her pubic hair remains untended to. Sometimes I will receive a response from some part of her that is still alive, which says something like, I don’t want to get up. Please just let me sleep. I love you. She seems agitated but calm and indicates that she wants to be left alone. What kind of thirty-year-old woman sleeps like this? Isn’t this the time when a young person should be most engaged in life? But I keep these thoughts to myself and let her sleep.

At around 1pm I will ask my sleeping wife if she would like me to bring her some lunch and she always answers no. Sometimes she will even say that she needs to be careful with her weight so please do not entice her with food. But doesn’t she need to eat? I will think about all the things which could go wrong from a lack of nutrition but not say anything about it. Not to mention what happens to a body when it goes without any sunlight. It seems as if my sleeping wife just wants to hurry up and be old.

In mid-afternoon I confess to becoming mad. What kind of way is this to live? She is neglecting so much in her life? Why can’t she just get it together and wake up? If she would just start exercising everything would feel better. She needs to wake up and tend to her life! It is just not healthy to be in bed this long. All these thoughts and more start racing through my head at around 3 pm. What I do not seem to understand is that my sleeping wife is tired of life. She can not handle the load of responsibilities she must tend to as an adult and would rather just remain asleep. I don’t think this is a good coping mechanism.

I realize that my wife is a shy person who does not enjoy interacting with most people but this is no way to avoid the world. At around 5pm I will tell her this. I will tell her that being an adult involves doing a lot of things that you do not want to do and this is why most adults are terribly unhappy and addicted to so many things. Rather than sleeping all day I tell my wife that she needs to find healthier ways of being an adult in this messed up world but my wife just continues to sleep. At this point she is usually laying on her stomach, on top of our comforter. I notice how healthy and appealing her butt still looks. I feel my libido spike and I want to reach out and touch her butt. I always abstain because I know she would become violently angry if I invaded her space. I think about masturbating right there and then at the edge of our bedroom but never do.

At around 7pm I go back into the bedroom, this time frustrated and indignant (it is the same every day) and notice that she is not there. She has finally gotten out of bed and is either standing naked in the kitchen or she is naked on the toilet. If the human animal could be in a state of hibernation all the time I know my wife would never get up. But because she exists in a human body she must wake up. Often I will find her standing in front of the refrigerator eating various forms of vegan food. I will ask her if she wants me to make her something and she always says no. I will ask her if she heard about the most recent terrorist attack and she always says no and that she does not care.

At around 8pm, after taking a long shower, my sleeping wife is back in bed and will remain there for almost another twenty-four hours. At this point I no longer bother her even though I am completely frustrated by this on-going situation. I understand that this is how she is choosing to respond to living in the messed up adult world but I feel like there are more proactive and responsible choices that she could make. But what can a man do whose wife has decided to remain asleep? You try waking a sleeping wife up. Any attempt to intervene just pisses her off. I have learned through time and effort to let her be and instead make friends with my own loneliness and despair by reading a lot of books.

I am usually in bed around 10pm and try not to bother her.

These Motherfucking Machines

These motherfucking machines. I am not happy about them one bit. Now, I use my iPhone just as much as anyone. I check my emails and text messages too much. I look on-line when I don’t want to do anything else (which is most of the time). I, like you, have given in to these motherfucking machines.

But I don’t like it.

I think they are bad, real bad for any depth or interestingness our personalities could have once had. I think they are ruining our ability to connect with others in meaningful ways. I think these motherfucking machines are turning us all into even more superficial and unsatisfied monkeys than we were before.

I wish I could fully give in. I wish I could love these motherfucking machines. I really try. But as a result of trying my attention span has been hacked into tiny little pieces. My creative output has dwindled. My sexual relationship with my wife has gone flat. My interest in engaging with others in person is gone. My capacity for handling solitude has been shot. My shopping addiction has gone through the fucking roof. My ability to be engaged while reading a book has disappeared. I love reading books and I can’t even do that anymore because of these mother fucking machines.

What a person does while they are alone determines the amount of depth that they have when with other people. If when a person is alone they are continually checking their phones, what kind of person are they going to be when around other human beings? Frightening thought, but let me tell you. They are going to be boring! There is going to be the absence of any legitimate substance.

Sorry, I wish there was some way around this.

I try and ignore it with my wife. I love her (a bunch) and I want everything to be fine but my wife checks her iPhone all the time. She is always on the fucking thing. She works on the thing. Socializes on the thing. Makes art on the thing. Entertains herself on the thing.  Talks to me and then is right back on the thing. Watches something on TV and is right back on the thing. Takes a shower and is right back on the thing. It is constant but I try to just accept it. It is the way the world is going so you better get in line Randall. But sometimes I pop. Sometimes I lose my shit and say things like:

Is this what we want to become? This couple who is always on their phones? Really? Is this what we want to turn ourselves into? Bored when it is just you and I unless we have a phone to check? Always pulled by this desire or compulsion to check our phones. To refer to our phones for every bit of info we need or interest we have? Is this what we really want to do with our valuable time? I mean we don’t even fuck much anymore. Shouldn’t we be more focused on that than always caught up in digital worlds inside our phones? You have so much potential. So do I but do we really want to be giving it all away just so we can be more in touch with other people? Just so we can check what pic is newest and latest on-line? We are becoming people without depth. You think Father John Misty could check his phone a hundred times a day and do the kind of work he does? Why are we letting oyrselves become like this? I am sick of it. It pisses me off. I know I am just as bad but really you are worse. You are fucking addicted. You need help. I need help. It is going to ruin our entire lives. These fucking machines are turning us into superficial idiots glued to a screen. I just don’t like it no matter how hard I try.

And then I feel bad, even though I meant everything I said. I try and go back to just accepting these motherfucking machines in to my life. I tell myself this is just the way things are now. So I can’t really read a book anymore? Who cares. At least I am in touch and on-line. These motherfucking machines fill the space created by my loneliness, emptiness and laziness but what bothers me is that before these motherfucing machines that space was filled with books, films, creativity, music, solitude, long afternoons wondering around with my head in the clouds and other people. Now its just a continual digital screen.

Again and again.

 

Instagram Stole My Wife.

There is a new kind of addict around. No one has seen this kind of addict before. The vast majority of people do not even see it now. Not yet at least.

This kind of addict is continually being pulled by uncontrollable compulsions to check their phone. To see how many likes they have received and if anyone has commented on their posts. They want to feel connected. They want to feel good about themselves. They want to feel like they matter and with every like they receive they feel better about their standing in the digital world.

Last night I was up until two in the morning talking with my wife about what I think is a full blown Instagram addiction. It was a stressful conversation that gave her chest pains and kept me up most of the night. The conversation consisted of me trying to make her aware that she has a full-blown Instagram addiction and her begrudgingly confronting the truth about her own addiction with a reluctance to want to do anything about it. She was trying to appease me by saying she would give up Instagram for good but it felt like I was forcing her to do something she did not really want to do.

I do not need for my wife to give up Instagram. I need her to get more control over the compulsion that are causing Instagram to take over her life. Even though she still denies it is a problem, I know that my wife cannot go twenty minutes without feeling the pull to check her Instagram page. She is addicted to seeing who has liked her posts. Who has commented on them. “Her baby, you look hot!” “Awesome drawing! You are brilliant.” “Sexy! You are so sexy!” Stuff like that really gets her off. She says that this makes her feel more appreciated and noticed. She admits that she is addicted to the likes, to the positive feedback from other people she will never know. I am glad that she is getting this kind of positive feedback from the pictures of herself and her drawings that she posts. She deserves this since she is such a good woman. But being pulled by compulsions to secretly check on her Instagram every twenty minutes or so is something I seriously dislike.

This is not the woman I married. Instagram stole my wife.

My wife used to love the culinary arts. She was a prolific reader who finished almost every novel she read. And she read long novels! She wrote poetry and exercised on a regular basis. She went to regular yoga classes and engaged in regular deep conversations with me. I could not keep my wife’s hands off of me since she was always sexual in some way. Since my wife started regularly posting on Instagram, I feel like all the above has practically disappeared. What remains is a shell of what was there before. My wife no longer writes poetry. She does not attend yoga classes. When she cooks half the time is spent on her phone and the lack of interest and focus on what she is cooking has caused her enjoyment of the process to decline. My wife rarely finishes books that she starts and does not exercise anymore. I have to literally force her to go outside for a walk if I am going to get her to go exercise outdoors. My wife spends more time in the bathroom than she ever did before. Now she will go into the bathroom six or seven times a night for a long period each time! I never remember this happening before Instagram. And most of her sexual engagement with me is gone. It is just not there anymore. If I talk about any of this, she will get immediately and immensely combative and stressed out.

I realize that life is all about change. Nothing remains the same. People are verbs not nouns. Things that we used to do and/or be like is not what we keep doing or who we remain. But I would like to think that people have the ability to become better at the things they do. We can become more masterful and refined with regards to the things we work at. The problem with Instagram is that the Instagram user is striving for things that only exist in the Instagram world. Instagram is an end unto itself. A destination and any fifteen-year-old with a phone can get there. More likes, more recognition, more followers. But very rarely does any of this translate into something tangible in the external world (very few people actually make a career or something tangible out of their efforts on Instagram). But what does happen with hourly Instagram use is that everything that a person strives for in the external world goes into great decline. A person has less of a need to put the energy into various things in the external world that these things require to grow and evolve. Instead, with Instagram, people do just enough to get by. Just enough to get that post up and get those likes. When someone is getting their satisfaction from likes and comments on the mediocre things that they post on Instagram, they have less of a need to get this satisfaction from things that require effort and attention in the external world. As a result, Instagram is a breeding ground for a unique kind of mediocrity that bleeds out all over a person’s real life.

I have tried to talk to my wife about how she seems much less interested in our sexual life. She does not ever talk to me about having kids and we are not getting younger (I am 45 and she is 32). She says she wants to be in better shape but she does very little about it. I don’t see her putting much effort into advancing her career. Books remain unfinished (I am not allowed to talk about the fact that now she is only able to finish graphic novels and the more intellectually challenging books she used to regularly finish remain unfinished). The car is not getting cleaned. Dogs are not being walked. The house is not being tended to as much (I do most of the cleaning and decorating). The act of cooking brings her less pleasure. Clothes sit in the washer for days (I have taken over the laundry). Closets are a mess. And our relationship exists in a continual state of strain. Every time she checks her phone my nervous system is now triggered. If I bring up the issue of her intensive Instagram use she gets angry with me. She says things like, “Can’t I just relax right now. Do we have to always talk about this!” I continually notice her sneaking off into bathrooms or someplace else to check her phone. If I talk about this she gets mad and stressed out. She feels like I am trying to control her. Many years ago I dated a serious alcoholic. What I am experiencing now with my wife feels like exactly like what I went through with her. The secrets. The sneakiness. The outrage. The: “I only had a few drinks. What is the big deal? Jeeze you are always making a problem out of it. Cant I just relax!” Meanwhile she was drunk almost every single day.

I really do not know what to do at this point. There is no doubt in my mind that my wife and hundreds of thousands of other people are seriously addicted to Instagram. That person sitting at the dinner table with their partner while being on their phone, is probably checking some form of social media. They probably have a serious social media addiction that is not allowed to be spoken about right now. After all, almost everyone is doing it and several more years of lives falling a part because of it need to happen before people begin to really see the problem. But it is a serious problems that is currently destroying lives and relationships. People have no boundaries with regards to their social media use. It is “all on” right now. Full-time use. A pack a day or more! My wife is still young and could be using this time to steer her life in the direction she wants it to go. She could be getting her body into optimal physical condition. She could be cultivating her life with her husband. She could be doing whatever it would take to have children and work on reestablishing some kind of sex life with me. She could be spending more time just enjoying her life in the present moment. Cultivating in person relationships with other people. Growing that vegetable garden she has talked about for years. But none of this happens because she is getting all the pleasure and satisfaction she needs from Instagram. She is continually being pulled by uncontrollable compulsions to check in with Instagram even as we sit there having dinner together (I now always feel like I am keeping her from something she would rather be doing- checking Instagram). Meanwhile we are growing apart. I am becoming more and more despondent because I am watching a woman that I love, seriously neglecting her real life. If I talk about this I just stress her out. If I don’t talk about it I feel very uncomfortable inside. This Instagram things is just this massive presence in both of our lives, but neither of us seem allowed to speak about what is really going on. I resent her for this. When she goes into the bathroom for the sixth time that night, I have to just accept this as a normal part of our life together now. Fuck. I don’t like it but I am trying to roll with it. I just want my wife back.

Sundays and The Perfect Prostitute, Then and Now.

I used to spend my Sundays driving around in my 1991 SAAB, all over East Oakland and West Oakland, searching for prostitutes. I would listen to jazz music on my FM radio, drink cold beer and smoke cigarettes as I drove. I would drive around and around the ghetto, searching through various side streets and known hot spots, looking for that perfect prostitute. Often there would only be crack addicts and junkies standing there, waiting for someone to pick them up. But sometimes there would be a perfect prostitute standing there looking like she just walked right out of an amateur pornography film. These kinds of prostitutes would be gone in a second, picked up by the closest driver and highest bidder. You had to keep your eyes wide open as you drove because you never knew when one of these sexual fantasies made flesh would appear.

But they would often not appear and I would just drive around and around, in continual pursuit of satisfying my sexual yearnings. I would stop for lunch at a hole in the wall Mexican food spot in Fruitvale and eat a vegetarian burrito with lots of hot sauce and jalapeños. I would also eat a side of tortilla chips and quench my thirst with a tall Horchata. Then I would get back in my car, turn on the local jazz station, light a cigarette, open my sun roof and drive around and around.

Now, many years later and far away from Oakland, I spend my Sundays doing nothing. Sometimes I will spend the entire day slightly high, but not stoned. I will sit in my backyard and look at the plants and watch the various birds and bugs. I will draw, listen to music, take naps and not walk out the front door of my house. I prefer to spend my Sundays completely isolated from the outside world. Other than my dogs and my wife, I do not want to interact with anyone. I want to be free, I want to do what I want, I don’t want to be bothered. I have to spend my week interacting with other people, trapped by various obligations. On Sundays I want to be free. I want to stay home and forget about the outside world. I want to pretend that I live on my own planet far from any other humans. I want to spend the entire day sitting in my backyard garden surrounded by trees, ladybugs, flies, bees, uncut grass, plants and drink a few glasses of cold white wine while I watch the sun set. I want to remember those wonderful Sundays many years ago when I had no idea I would ever have my own house, backyard and a beautiful wife and would just drive around and around in search of a perfect prostitute.

The Disappearing Marriage

I’m going to write now. I told myself that I would take a month or so off from writing, but sometimes this need to express things is stronger than my ability to not. Especially when I am loaded on caffeine. So let me say this, my marriage is dissolving. It is flattening out into a very dull two-dimensional image that looks nothing like what it used to be. Fuck.

I love my wife very much. I think she is a very good and sweet person but I am terribly bored. What have we done to ourselves? I often think. We have just about let all things pertaining to maintaining a working marriage go. We have stopped having sex. We have stopped trying to be sexy for the other. We have stopped really talking about interesting things. We have stopped holding one another. We have stopped kissing (this is especially my fault since I notice that my head slightly turns now when she comes to give me a dispassionate peck on the lips). We have stopped enjoying our time together because now when we go out anywhere together we usually fight. In the same way that a feeling of disillusionment and fear has taken over the American landscape, resentment and boredom seem to be taking over my marriage.

I am not good at this marriage thing. Not good at all. I was married before my current wife and that marriage failed long before it’s end as well. My first wife and I really loved each other but we stopped working well together. We fought a lot. We stopped having sex for years. We resented one another even though we were both good people. We grew fatter together. I left my first wife to be with my current wife. I felt like my second wife would be a chance to have a new kind of life, one not shaped by my parents unhappy fate. She was the one who would offer me, after a lifetime of trying, one of those happy and healthy relationships I occasionally saw people involved in. One of those relationships where the couple actually looks happy together. Where they actually get along. Where they actually seem happy when in one another’s company rather than lost on their smartphones. Where they actually maintain an active sex life after years together. Where they are connected and engaged with one another. Where when one of them is acting like a jerk the other can have compassion and not take it so personally. I thought I would be able to have this with her and for a while I did. But old habits die hard, and of course I managed to maneuver my marriage back to the same place where every single one of my relationships seem to end.

My wife is attractive and a lot younger than I (fourteen years younger). She is smart and sweet. She is a kind and loving person (she really loved me a lot). She has a lot of youth left in her. With her I had the best sex of my life (and this is saying a lot since I have had a good amount of sex in my life). She was sexually skilled and masterful at certain things. She had no shame sexually. An exhibitionist at heart she could be sexual and naked anywhere and in front of anyone. I loved it. And what a body! To see how our sex life has ended up today, really is a tragic thing and I realize that much of it is my own fault.

I am fucked up when it comes to relationships. I blame my intrapersonal dysfunction on my mom and dad. They had a terrible relationship when I was growing up. My dad was a complete asshole and still is most of the time. My mother withdrew into resentment and submission. These were my teachers and now I have not a clue about how to maintain a relationship without the presence of continual conflict and difficulties. How do people do that? How do people actually love and desire one another most of the time? It is hard for me to be sexual with the person I am close to. I become shy and withdrawn. I have a hard time desiring them after a while. It is only with people I do not know that I can avoid sexually freezing up. I am often critical and upset. I notice all the things that my partner is not doing. I become hyper aware of all their failures to be this ideal version of themselves that I need them to be. Why don’t you exercise more? I can’t believe you are so messy? Why can’t you get more organized? You are never sexual with me anymore? You have let yourself become a boring person? You are way more interested in our dogs than you are in me. You have stopped trying to make yourself sexy. Why don’t you go out more? Go out with friends. Go out and sleep with other people. Go do something to make yourself more interesting. Stop being on your phone all the time. We have both become so dull together. It goes on and on like this. And I seem incapable of just keeping my mouth shut when I am really upset.

Maybe relationships are not supposed to work out. Maybe this is some kind of deluded dream that humans have thanks to Hollywood. Maybe a marriage that really works well after a few years of constant use, is an illusion. A fantasy. A bluff. Why we keep holding on to this fantasy I do not know, but maybe human beings are just not meant to be married and live together in harmony for long periods of time. I mean who does? The fact that a marriage gradually grows bitter and asexual may be much more realistic than this idea that a relationship should remain sexual, engaged and connected for long periods of time. Maybe our collective failure to embrace the reality of what happens when humans partner up together for long periods of time, is what keeps us miserable.

Maybe.

I know that I am unhappy. I know that my wife is struggling. She loves me very much and I love her but we are no longer working well together. We have too much responsibility. This married life has caused us both to bite off more than we can chew. House, business, dogs, cars, bills; maybe we have cracked under the pressure of these things. Maybe these day to day domestic shared responsibilities are the greatest threat to the couple’s shared libido. Whatever the case, I do not like what our relationship has become. I do not like feeling bored and asexual. I do not like feeling like my wife resents me. I do not like knowing that at any second any conversation we have can turn sour. I do not like not feeling very attracted to one another. I do not like feeling like she is very depressed and discouraged and this is why she struggles to apply perfume and purchase new razors and deodorant when she has long ago run out. None of this feels good but I can not seem to stop focusing on all the things that I do not like.

Old habits die hard. I am doing it again. I am turning my marriage into something I don’t want it to be. I’m always upset, my wife tells me (so is she). I’m rarely happy. I want to sleep with other women. I want to be left alone. I want to be with her. I have no clue how to keep this marriage from becoming the disappearing marriage that I fear it has already become.

The Countercultural Icon, #1

I have always wanted to be a countercultural icon. A rugged individualist who defines his own position in the world. Not dependent on licenses, state regulations, bosses, boards, companies, customers and governments to make a living. A man who has made his own way, possibly the result of natural talent.

I have the natural talent but lack the recognition. At least I think I have natural talent but I know that I do not have the recognition. Nothing is happening for me creatively, outside of my own solitary creative process. My computer is filled with my writings and my studio is filled with my art. Outside of this, there is nothing happening for me. I am just another ordinary guy.

Today I have to reply to several emails. I have to make a payment on my financial aid. I have to call back several potential clients. I have to meet with eight clients, for an hour each. I also need to water my plants, meditate and exercise. The dogs need to be fed and I think a few other bills need to be paid. It is Monday morning, the beginning of yet another work week. What could be less countercultural than this?

Instead of a countercultural icon, I fear I have become the status quo. I have an office. I own a home. I am married. I have five dogs. I have a camper van. I have a hot tub. I have lots of Danish Modern furniture. I have a backyard garden. All of these things are wonderful. These things unto themselves do not make me status quo. What makes me status quo is that I have to work at a job that I do not like, a job that is not really an authentic expression of who I am, in order to have these things. (What I mean is that I have to pretend to be happy about being at work, I have to pretend that I am into my work and this is often a main indicator that a person is not being authentic.) I would be happy to have the things that I do if I earned an income doing something I at least enjoyed (writing, making art). The fact that I have to earn money doing something that I have to pretend that I am interested in (or force myself to believe that it is not so bad), there is nothing countercultural about this. This in fact is the norm. There is nothing more status quo than feeling stuck in your work (job) because you have to support your lifestyle.

A countercultural icon is someone who has broken free from the status quo. They have been able to make a living (earn money) from what they are naturally talented at. They make strange things. They express outrageous thoughts and people buy what they have to say. Other people like what they are saying and their words and images spread like a dry grass fire. My words and images have done the opposite. They do not seem able to ignite (my grass remains damp). They stay confined to my computer and studio. Like my wife said, “No one is buying your stuff.”

So maybe I am not naturally talented. After twenty years of trying, maybe I must come to the conclusion that I am no good. Or maybe my “stuff” is just too strange or too something. Maybe at this point in my mid-life, wanting to be a countercultural icon is as stupid as wanting to become an alcholic. Maybe I have reached a point where this desire to be a writer and artist is actually ruining my life (preventing me from being able to enjoy anything). Maybe I need to let all of these ridiculous daydreams of countercultural fame go and just embrace the status quo. Maybe countercultural icon status is just not for me. Maybe it never was.

I need to go feed the dogs. Then I must exercise for thirty minutes. Then I need to go get dressed and get myself to work. I have a nine hour work day in front of me. Fuck. I have been fighting with my wife because she keeps acquiring things and this makes me mad. She doesn’t understand that with each new thing she buys I feel more trapped in the status quo (she recently came home with another dog). I need her to slow down but she does not seem able. She finds a great deal of happiness in things, so it seems. I like my things also, but I can not help but see the amount of hours that I have to work at a job that is painful for me, in order to keep these things. With each new thing we acquire, I see the loss of my countercultural dreams. Is this what growing up is all about? The only thing that will be countercultural about my work week is that I will be walking to work (car is in the shop).