Monday, January 17, 2011


I've been trying not to read the local weekly paper because it's full of interesting things to do that I can't do because I don't have anyone to go do them with. I'm not afraid to do some things by myself -- like go to a movie (or eat at a restaurant during off-peak hours) -- but I've never liked going to see bands or plays by myself.

So I did pick up the weekly paper yesterday and, sure 'nuff, got depressed. My favorite band, Two Hoots and a Holler, is playing Monday night at one of my favorite clubs, The Continental. And Sean Lennon/girlfriend's band, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (whom I wrote about here weeks ago), is playing the tiny, intimate Cactus Cafe on campus Wednesday. Then FronteraFest starts this week, with many of the plays showing at a theater just a couple of blocks down the street.

I can't even imagine any longer what it would be like to have a normal life -- walking with a friend to the theater, then afterward walking to the cafe across the street or the pizza place further down the street to talk for a couple of hours. Going to see a band that I like, or a band or play that I'm curious about.

When I have plenty of freelance work to do, I can usually keep my mind occupied with that, combined with working on the Joan website evenings. But work's been slow the past 2 weeks, and I don't feel like doing Joan EVERY night. Usually, the work/Joan/TV-watching are OK, and I find stuff to amuse myself. But I'm starting to get mightily bored with JUST that.

Oh well. This week is Haircut Week, so that should pep me up. And then I still have my Christmas gift card for Macy's, so I can plan a bus trip to the nearest mall, which also has a movie theater showing "Black Swan." (I also want to see "Blue Valentine," "Rabbit Hole," "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," but they're all showing at theaters completely across town and not at all worth the bus trouble.)

And then also there's the good thing about getting older: You've been through the same or similar bad patches before, and so know that they will, at some point, end. (Unlike when you're a kid, and haven't ever gone through them before, so you think the starkness is permanent.)

The one difference for me this time, though, is that, even when things were bad in the past, I always had something to look forward to:

While I was trapped out in the country in Azle, I knew that at one point I'd graduate from high school and go off to Austin for college.

While I was depressed about being in the closet while at college (never connecting with any guys; the girls I did initially connect with being as closeted as I was), there was always graduating college to work toward.

While I was depressed about my break-up with my first girlfriend, my friends and I were publishing a local literary magazine, and I also had grad school and a writing program to look forward to.

In the 2000s, while lonely and not really liking the Austin vibe that much, I nonetheless had a great house that I rented for 7 years, a great Gracie-cat, steady employment that enabled me to take vacations and buy furniture, my Joan website that was fun and stimulating; and then the excitement of moving to/living in NYC.

Today... Forced economically to leave NYC/Weehawken, which I truly loved; no steady work (and, honestly, a horror of going back to a mind-numbing office environment); living in a one-room apartment the same size as my first apartment back in '85; no Gracie-cat (and I don't want a new cat -- don't want it to have to live trapped in one room). I still enjoy working on the Joan site, but it's already established. There's no excitement there any more, really.

I feel like I'm completely trapped. Really, documenting on this blog my sock-buying at the Family Dollar store and my banana-eating New Year's resolutions and my upcoming plans for a haircut and my beefs with people aren't quite what I'd hoped would be the highlights of my life at age 45.

I dunno. I did everything I was capable of doing. I seem to have hit The Brick Wall. Either I learn to live with that fact, which I've been trying hard to do for the past months, or... Or what, exactly?

The air is a mill of hooks --
Questions without answer,
Glittering and drunk as flies
Whose kiss stings unbearably
In the fetid wombs of black air under pines in summer.

I remember
The dead smell of sun on wood cabins,
The stiffness of sails, the long salt winding sheets.
Once one has seen God, what is the remedy?
Once one has been seized up

Without a part left over,
Not a toe, not a finger, and used,
Used utterly, in the sun's conflagrations, the stains
That lengthen from ancient cathedrals
What is the remedy?

The pill of the Communion tablet,
The walking beside still water? Memory?
Or picking up the bright pieces
Of Christ in the faces of rodents,
The tame flower-nibblers, the ones

Whose hopes are so low they are comfortable --
The humpback in his small, washed cottage
Under the spokes of the clematis.
Is there no great love, only tenderness?
Does the sea

Remember the walker upon it?
Meaning leaks from the molecules.
The chimneys of the city breathe, the window sweats,
The children leap in their cots.
The sun blooms, it is a geranium.

The heart has not stopped.

-- "Mystic" by Sylvia Plath. February 1, 1963.

I probably won't ever be brave enough to kill myself as Plath did. (Aside from the cowardice, I also have no resources: I don't have health care, and thus no access to prescription pills, like the Darvocet that killed my Facebook friend this past Christmas. I have no house or car, and thus no access to a garage or exhaust fumes, which killed Anne Sexton. And my oven's electric, not gas. There's always the bridge over I-35 at 38-1/2 Street, but... Please. I'm not that desperate.) And I don't know that Plath's above poem, written 10 days before her suicide, was indeed a statement of her suicidal intentions. Rather, it was a quite accurate statement of a current state of being and profound sadness and profound outrage, one that I find myself in right now.


And here's a video I first posted on this blog a few months ago on John Lennon's birthday, October 9. "Help Me to Help Myself," indeed. Not quite the case. It's not always just between you and God. Lennon was lucky enough to find a true help-meet in this life. When you're not as lucky, when you're always emotionally on your own, it, after time, warps you.


When all of this is over... Please, God, let all of this be over soon. I can't stand much more Internet and TV and asshole college-student neighbors and being grateful for the last pair of socks that I bought.

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