Archive for December, 2006

a little less than an hour

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

I have been trying–albeit not very hard–to return here to write daily. The anxiety within me over this issue has not matched my drowsy, lethargic outward appearance, though. I sleep through the days.

Everybody says to me, “Don’t you just want to hibernate?” This brings me to prayer. Well, not directly, but let me try to explain.

Why does everybody think I am interested in how related their experiences are with mine? It seems universal that people have an overwhelming need to spontaneously share with me things they find similar between them and me. I find–and I am rather surprized at this–that I sincerely do not care. Not just that, but I am annoyed by their presupposition that I might care.

It is true, I do want to sleep most of the time, and I go to bed at about 6:00 AM on my days off instead of getting up at 6:00 AM on workdays; it’s a neat little trick to totally invert one’s schedule overnight. Rather like being bodily flipped about in the arms of some massive gymnast… (Now there’s a happy thought, but nothing to do with what I am trying to talk about, apart from the flipping analogy.)

But the fact that I want to sleep all the time does not equate with me having interest in the fact the you too want to sleep all the time. However, my definition of prayer–from practice, not theory–and I am being decidedly anti-eccliastical here, comes from a profound consciousness of the other. Indeed it is little more than that awareness coupled with a genereous intention to be of help to the other. In the past my prayers have been populated with “Oh, Lord”s and “dear Jesus”s, but I find those names (and conventional religion in general), to serve more as stones in the realm of spirit-wind; if anything they are anchors to the massive kites I use to power my intentions.

In fact, the most difficult time I have had with prayer is inserting ‘me’ where ‘God’ would be. Instead, I insert another person’s name, i.e.: Jesus, or Lord. I think God is us, not some rare and almost always absent other. This is one of the greatest injuries caused by conventional religion, advancing the concept of God as seperate from people, requiring people to be tied (religio) to it.

I said to a friend last night, “I think I should go around burning down Catholic Churches…”

“Yeah, that’s a good idea, no one would notice that,” he said. He must have been thinking that I would not want to be noticed.

Despite this, I went on, “I think the Church is responsible for my sexual repression.”

At this he gasped, “You call that repressed?” I can tend to be rather a slut, some would even say heroically promiscuous.

“Yeah, I know. My sexuality has emerged, but it has emerged warped and deformed, rather like the toes of a geisha.”


In the kind of prayer that I am trying to describe, everything is OK. All injury is accepted with appropriate agony, but without judgement. The giesha’s steps may be tiny, but only those who choose despair walk not at all. And my sexuality may be deformed and of unnatural proportion, but only if I despair will I need to sleep all the time, avoiding all non-sexual social contact.

All that in little less than an hour. I should have a column.


Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

The light is going, night soon. And it’s only mid-afternoon.

Used to be that (using satellite images) I watched the progress of the the edge of night as it crossed the earth daily, and as it shifted seasonally from the northern hemisphere to the southern. I would relish the regret of watching it move south away from me, and anticipate with great anxiety its return. Full-disk image of the earth from a moment in the past.

I have never been a summer boy. Perhaps, before my memory began to save everything, I might have had blond hair that glistened in the sunlight. I have never tanned very well, though I do remember once long ago getting a nice reddish color—not a burn—from being in the sun for a week riding my bicycle to Cape Cod. And as everyone who ages knows, I too once sported beautiful youth as a garment which I wore without appreciation or gratitude, which is as it should be worn when one is young.

Summer is a time of discontent for me. Of attraction to forbidden fruits (no pun intended). I have some idea why some religions require burkas—only in my world, it would be the young men wearing them.

Beautiful young men; I remember one in Falmouth, working on a boat. I was yonger than he, but only slightly so. I was visiting there one summer with my parents almost 40 years ago. And he still haunts me.

He was a bit annoyed by what must have been my obvious interest in him. And that made us different. I was never cognizant of what joy there may be in life, and hence not aware of many obvious things, like the fact that my staring would be noticed. I observed life. I was not a participant in life, but a peeping tom. I imagined in awe what his life was like, as he clambered about his tasks ten feet above us on the deck of that substantial yacht. It never occurred to me that I too had a life, that I could be me just like he could be him.

I never wanted to be me.

And so I still remember the curly blonde-haired boy on the boat, 40 years on. And I dread them every summer. And I dread the succulently gorgeous sunsets late in the evening, and the bright shining joy of the days, and the energy and vitality that seems to seep out of every dormant thing. quenching the winter’s dry spongy substance, and dripping all over the place in extravagant abundance. It scares me. More than that, it hurts.

I also remember, from forty-plus years ago, the neighbor who died of cancer, which began in his jaw; they removed most of his lower jaw, and all he could eat—or drink, rather—were frappes from the local drug store soda fountain. I loved frappes, and I failed to imagine what not being able to chew a piece of roast beef must be like. Now I know, sort of. Summer comes, and all around me the meat falls from the bone, but I have no jaw.

So I like the winter, when there are more people depressed (and I don’t feel so alone); or maybe its just that in winter I am depressed (and I don’t feel so …much); and luscious beauty is more difficult to discern beneath the warming layers, and the streets in the resorts are all quiet.

There is peace in lack of opportunity.


Tuesday, December 5th, 2006


So much for writing every day. There are more days, however.

To recap, I did say everything from my last entry to the medicine man, and he made some unintelligent sounds, like “I could take those meds and they wouldn’t hurt me,” right before saying “Well, I wouldn’t take them because of the toxicity.”


That was the HIV doctor. After my visit with him, I told my regular doctor (whom I hardly ever see) that I had decided to stay on the drugs. “Better living through chemicals,” I told him. He grimaced wryly. Then he said, “You have emphysema.” I had gone to see him because I had been having trouble ‘catching my breath’ so to speak. Actually it felt as if my lungs had gone away to the islands and left me here alone with lots of air which I could move in and out, in and out voluminously, but to no avail. Damn lungs.

So now, in addition to obscenely expensive HIV meds, my health plan can pay for one of those cool tiny aerosol cans with ozone killing stuff in it which I spray onto the infinitely sensitive tissue of my lungs (which apparently have become a little less than infinitely sensitive, one might even say a tad leathery).

Spray, spray, spray.

I also told my regular doc that I would appreciate it if he could get a pharmaceutical company rep to come to my house. He suspected the reason before he asked, but he was being polite; “Why?” he asked. “Because they’re all so damn cute.” “I knew it!” he said. Then he laughed out loud.

I like that.

Also, I have been updating my links (they should be over on the left, unless you are reading this a hundred years from now, in which case they probably do not exist any more). And I have been updating myself. I have been re-reading one of the sites I used to visit daily—way back when I wrote daily. I’ve covered most of the last two house moves that John (the oldgreypoet) has made since I stopped reading, and I am halfway through re-reading the entire last year of his journal.

I do life like I do laundry—I wait for it to accumulate unattended, then I try to catch up all at once.

I thought I would get up to date with the Journal of a Writing Man, then resume this one. But something moved me to put off no longer.

While checking the old links I was restoring (over on the left there, unless… oh, nevermind) I happened to visit the one archive page that contains exliontamer’s first reference to me. Flattery will get you a long way with me, and I was very moved by his sentiment (which, significantly, I had completely forgotten. Flattery; though I love it, I am very uncomfortable with it). But what he was referring to was probably the best hundred words I ever wrote. If I do say so myself.

And so, I have resumed the silly meds (which might possibly be better than nothing). I have resumed reading John, the Old Grey Poet, and in addition to him, I have resumed reading a few of my old friends who I lost along the way (on the left, unless…).

And I have resumed writing. See you tomorrow.