25 May 2015

Running Grave

When, like a running grave, time tracks you down,
Your calm and cuddled is a scythe of hairs,
Love in her gear is slowly through the house,
Up naked stairs, a turtle in a hearse,
Hauled to the dome
- From When Like a Running Grave by Dylan Thomas

Up meadows I fell in long ago journeys taken through the awful magic of LSD. Slurring and mentally swimming I garrulously carried on backwards with quarts of alcohol coursing through my veins. Somnolent happiness while contently and absently nodding through the dull haze of marijuana smoke. The fast humming mind races and perilous pontificating in blurs of laughter that cocaine makes so simple.

Those were times that bent this wallowing swallowing dissented brain whose sole purpose at times seemed to be confusion and obtrusion. Then there was the hell of panic which carried the dead certainty of a life numbed by thorazine spent within four white walls. Come the anti depressants and their muzak muse which rendered me happy to listen to my own banalities and believe each one. I wondered at it all. So the depression itself entered angry and subduing me that ugly black dog lapping at my psyche. Here I am and hear I do saddled with memories of mental torment and unrepentant cries of anguish. Love lost in the shuffle.

I remember this one time.

I remember this one guy.

I remember this one place.

I remember these and those and them and they and that there was this.

Some films and some books and some poems and some conversations with some people bring you wonder and insist on a fresh perspective and a belief that you can soar intellectually. A marriage and the attendant love can be a source of inspiration and joy and unmuddled thinking. It can all work out.

Watching Mean Streets (1973) today I remembered what it was like to be in fist fights. The intense and primal anger and fear. The desperation. The core of your soul screamed and in the end there was humiliation if you lost but especially if you won. To see the blood of another flying that other that you slugged in the face is an indelible and terrible memory. Worse than feeling of a fist landing full on in your gut and leaving you doubled over and vulnerable. Real fights are the abandonment of reason and logic and the full on victory of cowardice. But still we sometimes make with the macho. Chest to chest puffing and preening and talking oh so tough. I did it as recently as about ten years ago when some baseball playing college boys got tough with me as I tried to protect the soccer team I was coaching from errant hits. I went square up to one who stood a good five inches taller than me and detailed the damage I would do to his face if he and his friends did not exit the ball field where they were not allowed to be anyway. He backed off and they left and one of my players later said that at that point the team readily agreed that they would run through walls for me. I defend nothing of this I merely relate a story. I have no strong feelings about it. It happened as things do.

Recently I suffered my longest and deepest depression and celebrated its eventual end with a nasty cold that lasted several days longer than it should have. The mucus and phlegm persisted for too long too. Towards the end of that my beloved MacBook Pro had to go in for repairs and was lost to me for six terrible days. All is well now.

Earlier today I suffered from a terrible bout of writer's block. The words wouldn't come. I desperately needed to write but there was nothing. Like the flow had been shut off. I tried different ways of turning it on but none of them worked. There are some wise asses who claim that writer’s block is a myth. I suppose they’ve never had it. It’s like depression. People who’ve never suffered it don’t take it seriously. Same with panic attacks. Imagine this: “Hey, pal, your leg isn’t really broken. Its all in your head. Just start walking you’re being lazy is all.”

People often struggle with being kind to one another. So often relations are ego driven as each person tries to establish superiority rather than creating a bond of understanding and an acceptance of other ways. I refer mostly to men with men. Women are less competitive and more apt to look at another person as a sort of fellow traveler rather than a rival. I've always liked women despite the fact thatI grew up in a very male dominated environment and the most important woman in my life (mother) was insane. Women are more nurturing and appreciative and oh by the way generally nicer to look at and fantasize about. I married a woman and had two daughters and have lived many years with them and are happier for it.

As I get older I am more prone to rumination and introspection and demand more of myself and less of others. I am in general a very grouchy person, especially among strangers but I've not fooled myself about who I am and so am trying to be better about getting along with one and all and making my presence on this planet more pleasant for others. It helps that my students and I tend to form mutual admiration societies. I can say quite honestly that I am a good teacher. I bring a sparkling personality and active sense of humor and much enthusiasm into my classroom where I create student centered lessons. When I make mistakes I try to own them. They are mine and it is my responsibility to acknowledge and fix them. You learn as you get older the folly of trying to fool yourself about who you are and for that matter who you were. It's best to -- figuratively -- look at the person and the mirror and accept that that is who you are and all you can do is make the best of it.

Getting up everyday taking steps forward and getting done whatever is ahead of you. That's all you've got to do. Miracles are not required. Just persistence.



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