Tag Archives: journal

This Morning’s Thoughts

2-1-15
So much has happened! Where to begin. Today I am up with S_______, she slept over for L_____’s birthday celebration. We went to BareBurger for dinner with C______, S______, L______, Linda and Stafford. We came home and had the patented pink cake I made. I went to a meeting earlier, and it was actually the second day in a row I made a meeting. I think I should make more meetings. I would also like to go to the gym more (I’ll stop shoulding on myself now).
Furthest in the rear-view mirror of my recent life is the fight I had with Deneene over facebook. I could include the details, but I will distill it down to the fact she feels aggrieved over something and we got into a back-and-forth “FUCK YOU!” battle over email. I lost sleep over it and wrote a poem or two in the angry insomnia. I have to say that I was feeling pretty low regarding all of this. I mean, I do think that Deneene is being a bitch and working out some sort of something in her life. But I’ve been sober long enough to know that when someone is vexed at you you might have done something wrong, even it it isn’t as calamitous at their anger says it is.  (On a related note, Linda has been vexed with me about me and I think that that is also related to her other outside feeling (which is not to say I am not a living nightmare for the well organized). I wrote a poem about that to to help me muddle through my thinking.
The thing I need to talk to someone about is the fact that I came back in contact with B-19. I saw a picture of her sister S_____ in a yoga pose as B______ B___’s girlfriend. (First I want to say that she dated a guy in ‘88 or ‘87 that I really didn’t think too much of, so it seems Gay [with B______] is a huge improvement.)
So I explained that I didn’t want to be some sort of stalker or “relic” that haunts her. Her response was really sweet.
B-19 wrote “Relic? No way. True friend from the past is more how I think of you.” I have to say that this positive recollection from 30 years ago is the balm that I needed after the ‘Neene thing. I was at a meeting yesterday and a young woman shared on her first anniversary and it brought all of these things together: Feeling like an asshole because of ‘Neene’s noise, feeling low because of how thinly our family nerves were frayed by the kids’ holiday visit and somethings unresolved.
I saw in M_____, the 1-year-speaker, the trajectory of the life I had when B-19 and I broke up (I guess I was readying myself for Linda, whom I’d meet a year or so later). I also saw my older daughter in her. Of course Thing 1 hasn’t manifest any of the shenanigans of the active alcoholic, but she has the determined will of someone sick with this disease, and I don’t look forward to her acting on the “hiding” with something besides overachievement.
So if I wasn’t a creep picking on Teen-Agers, but a man trying to love a woman, no matter how imperfectly, then who am I now? At the meeting I remember meeting B-19 in the hallway of a tenement next door to St Marks, she on her way to a party with Alcohol and me on my way back to the St. Marks “HOW Club” New Year’s fete. I was part of her crazy youth, but I wasn’t a controlling domineering asshole. I wore (& wear) the world like a loose garment. I want to keep strengthening that “mellow.”
I guess if I could change anything I would work harder on getting more things done. This brings me to the iPhone I lose myself in creation with all of the time. I have to say that I like the memes I make and the poems I write and the photographs I take with my gizmo. I don’t like the time I spend checking “likes” and “comments” from people with whom I am not terribly close with. There is a pleasure that seeing people’s lives unfold brings. (Just slipped into FB gossip for 15 minutes because I was looking for a picture.)
I am an imperfect man who enjoys his life as it is rather than trying to build the towers of respect (academic publishing, more long form thought.) I would like to get a little more of my James Baldwin “essay self” on. I would also like to write more fiction (Finish the Kiko story, Life before the wheels, etc). Lennox is up.
Two hours later
While I was washing the dishes I was struck with something else. I can’t remember it right now. This is why my iPhone isn’t all bad, because had I tweeted a note I would have the insight to work on.
I am reminded, trying to remember the thought, of an epiphany I think I first had at St. Malachy’s one Thursday night: “I gravitate towards -and favor the opinions of- people who dislike me: we have one thing in common, we both hold me in utter contempt.” I don’t know if this is self hatred or part of my open-minded desire for self improvement? I think I can make that a haiku:
Agree with haters/
We both think that I’m stupid/
(Only I am right)/
#haiku
I think that my next “corrective scheme” is that I should dedicate some time to writing on my blog every day. I don’t want to just post poems there, but get into writing some of the thoughts I have when I am walking my dog and spacing out.
I should also find a way to free myself from my iphone.

Haiku Journal DMV-Manhattan-Subway Edition

new york sattelite 1

Yesterday I went to the DMV to get a New York License. I was dreading the waiting, but optimistic about finally getting my bureaucratic life in some sort of order. (Next I will try to get a passport!) I write my journal haiku or senryu throughout the day and today’s rhythm gave me a lot of time to reflect on events. There were three things that happened yesterday and I think this is a good “haiku journal” entry, so I am vainly sharing it. (Sorry I can’t format this into columns this Morning)

39. Computers are out/
Metrocards demand money/
At #woodside station/
#haiku

40. Tollbooth clerk covers/
Window with impotent signs/
Backs them with ennui/
#haiku

41. Most are just angry/
Ancient immigrants can’t know/
“Why no traveling?”/
#haiku

42. Clerk tries to explain/
To ancient Himalayan/
Of “system failure”/
#haiku

43. Palms up and head down/
The clerk gives up on language:/
Universal sign/
#haiku

44. Mercifully my/
Soggy cash is accepted/
By god in machine/
#haiku

45. Kindly Latina/
Money’s rejected by god/
Of electric eye/
#haiku

46. She’ll be late for work/
While desperately begging/
For a crisp fiver/
#haiku
47. DMV start time/
For attempt at an ID/
12:20 PM/
#haiku

48. Bureaucracy makes/
Life together easier/
(Not always nicely)/
#haiku

49. Pallet of people/
From which DMV’s painted/
Beyond the spectrum/
#haiku

50. I love New Yorkers/
In their peculiarity/
While being tested/
#haiku

51. Done with first window/
At a painless 12:50/
Miraculously/
#haiku

52. Alpha-Numeric/
Computer-read tickets called/
Impersonally/
#haiku

53. Slow but efficient/
Workers execute their functions/
While we demand more/
#haiku

54. Man with pompadour/
Speaks formal Urdu to wife/
Condescendingly/
#haiku

55. New Americans/
Seem more adept at these lines/
Then those born right here/
#haiku
56. Subway ride back home/
Walked vanishing Manhattan/
Past places ʇɐɥʇ were/
#haiku

57. Manhattan changes/
It is no longer my place/
It’s for others now/
#haiku

58. City Landmarks go/
New places: new memories/
Mine Evaporate/
#haiku

59. Walking those same streets/
Without friends I once walked with/
I’m slowly erased/
#haiku

60. Memories miss me/
Youthful, lustful, desirous/
I’ve outgrown ʇɐɥʇ self/
#haiku

61a. That city belongs/
To ambitious desirous/
Not contemplative/
#haiku

61a. That city belongs/
To ambitious desirous/
Not the satisfied/
#haiku

62. Lovers on the train/
Hungry hands kept to themselves/
Eyes feasting on eyes/
#haiku

63. Thus it’s ever been:/
Youth revels in its beauty/
While the old look on/
#haiku

 

 

The Prophet Redux

Image

8/22/12 7:48am

I woke up late (at 6) and washed the dishes I’d left from last night. I had wanted to wake early and go to the Y, but I did not set my alarm.  After I washed the dishes I sat down and read Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet while applying the heat pad to my ankle. Very nice except where I chose to sit the rising sun was shining directly in my eyes.

I have always loved The Prophet, ever since that day (well it was a late night) that the messenger (Oscar? Ben? Bill? I can’t remember his name) sat me down and explained why this was the life of all life, book of all books. I think he thought it was a secular bible.  There was another book that he was obsessed with, something new agey (this being 1981, it was an outlier) that he also liked, it might have been RamDass or something that stupid. In any case he spent an hour or two after midnight evangelizing this text as I drained a 40 of Ballantine Ale (or three). As I said “I’ll be right back, I need another,” he confessed to me that he was a heroin addict. I’m not so sure why it mattered that I knew that, but I definitely filed that bit of intelligence away (people not to be trusted any more) he became even more passionate about The Prophet.  We stayed in Washington Square until 3 or 4 in the morning talking about that book and the ideas that it provided.

I have very few clear memories of Ben after that day. I saw him once on Madison in the 20s and on 5th below 14th (Funny how early in their addiction addicts can be found in the Village). I last saw him in midtown, near triple-six-Fifth, the DC building. He was looking run down. I wonder if he survived. Most addicts from ‘81 died of AIDS.

I wonder why people have always wanted to talk about books with me? I was a simple drunken messenger back then. But still people wanted to talk books with me. I’d been pretty good at avoiding the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religious fanatics who want to talk about “Their Book.” But when I was in early recovery in Harlem and in other unusual places people have always come up to me and wanted to discuss philosophical texts. I must have a bookish mein to myself.

I’ve always considered that night in Washington Square and the book by William James The Varieties of Religious Experience that an Addict at Gracie Square gave me in ‘86 odd. But somehow I felt like Siddhartha, someone with a huge destiny because people brought me books to read in unlikely places (these are not the only 2).

In my paper journal I wrote about The Prophet, but I don’t have time to retype that here now. Sad, really.  Previously I had loved “Marriage” because of the idea of separation and love: “For the pillars of the temple stand apart.” But now, these days, with teens, the passage “On Children” really moved me. I am comforted and tortured by the passage that says “For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”

Thing 1 has proven herself to be a totally independent thinker, who suffers instruction unhappily.  However she does follow rules, like most older siblings, and has made her trajectory towards the future clear. Thing 2 -TACITURN youth- has little communication with us, though he seems to know that we are excluded from his future.  He suffers our interruptions unhappily, knowing this. Thing 3 has become prematurely knowing.  She is the tween sister of two teens and has started salting away their mistakes for her future use.  Clever, she is.

Celebrity Predators

Thinking about the Penn State Football Greed Cowardice I wrote these poems. I wrote the numbered ones first and added A-through-E the next day. I think, though I may not have expressed it well here, that this stems from the same malady that permits bullying: stardom. Aren’t the cooler kids and jocks essentially schoolyard stars?

A. We allow the rich/
To “get away with murder”/
Because fame matters/
#haiku

B. The laws of mortals/
Don’t apply to powerful/
To spite our values/
#haiku

C. Prize college football/
Over children’s innocence/
Because of money/
#haiku

D. Pleasure of many/
Permits the torture of few/
Until rich get caught/
#haiku

E. Demand rituals/
Of this consumer culture/
No matter the cost/
#haiku

21. Humans give extra/
Privileges to people/
With higher status/
#haiku

22. America has/
Institutionalized this/
Favoritism/
#haiku

23. From the movie stars/
To the pee-wee-ball prospects/
We entitle some/
#haiku

24. This “entitlement”/
Erodes the rights of others/
To some fair treatment/
#haiku

25. The scramble for wealth/
Creates and justifies this lie/
That fame equals good/
#haiku

26. The common person/
Is creation’s true zenith/
There’s your role model/
#haiku

27a. The celebrity/
Consumerism’s monster/
Makes us unequal/
#haiku

27b. Celebrity is/
Consumerism’s monster:/
Inequality/
#haiku

28. Look within yourself/
For that which you seek without*/
We are all equal/
#haiku *in fame

Haiku Journal (Fire Island Day 14)

20120714-070715.jpg
[it took me a while to get to the point, stick with them, these poems get better]

4. All of us alive/
Get our way most of the time/
So be more grateful/
#haiku

5. Living simply proves/
Survival’s a miracle/
show some gratitude/
#haiku

6. From the Boson-Higgs/
To the clean water we drink/
Miracles abound/
#haiku

7. Tribulations give/
The existence we enjoy/
Some necessities/
#haiku

8a. Even enemies/
Offer something important/
In this crazy life/
#haiku

8b. Diseases provide/
Something important to life/
That we can’t perceive/
#haiku

9. Necessities are/
Food, company & shelter/
Be grateful for them/
#haiku

10. We do not need more/
Our species thrives with good* work/
Not with luxuries/
#haiku *hard

11. Life’s simple pleasures:/
Hearth, Food, friends, & time to think/
Are true luxuries/
#haiku

12. Luxuries are not/
Things you can buy and save up/
They are our freedoms/
#haiku

13. Freedom ain’t pretty:/
With it we can make mistakes/
& Hurt our neighbors/
#haiku

14. Free to be tacky/
Corny-self-righteous-jerks is/
Also important/
#haiku

15. We’re free to believe/
The most absurd of theories/
Of our creation/
#haiku

16. Freedom demands our/
Tolerance and acceptance/
Of people we don’t like/
#haiku

17. “G_d’s” snake handlers/
Have the right to spit venom/
No matter my thoughts/
#haiku

18. Freedom makes demands/
That seem so cockamamie/
But we must relent/
#haiku

19. Nothing’s guaranteed/
No sacred life is promised/
We are but mortals/
#haiku

20. So I’ll try to help/
And accept the eccentric/
To let freedom live/
#haiku

20120714-071023.jpg

Spring Growth

20120501-083329.jpg
May Day
Today I will notice people working/
And ignore advertising/

I will celebrate students learning/
& smile at loud cries for attention/

I will do my very best to help/
& not judge those who don’t/

I will satisfy only my needs/
& observe the “wants” needy cries/

I will do my job diligently/
So I can help the world improve/

I will not notice when I find others’ faults/
& try to see assets & motives/

If my outlook changes anything/
It is the entire world that will improve/

You may not notice it out-there in the world/
But you can transform the world in your HEART/

~Stafford

Power (IMBALANCE) #Haikus

Another entry from my twitter haiku journal:

1. Ancient emnities:/
Domestic dogs versus cats/
Contest for handouts/
#haiku

2. Scarce resources cause/
Un-needed competition/
Our fear creates greed/
#haiku

3. Constabularies’/
Job, since their creation: to/
Keep “Have nots” from “haves”/
#haiku

4. Control and power/
Disguised as security/
Eat our freedoms up/
#haiku

5. Most power corrupts:/
The “Top-down model” creates/
Loyalty upwards/
#haiku

6. Liberation needs,/
Paradoxically, freedom/
For misbehaviour/
#haiku

7. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
Ideology/
#haiku

8. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
Formal religion/
#haiku

9. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
Fundamentalists/
#haiku

10. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
Christian phalangists/
#haiku

11. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
Islamic nut jobs/
#haiku

12. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
White supremacists/
#haiku

13. The “top-down-model,”/
Most of all, must be free of/
All Utopians/
#haiku

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