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It has been a long time since the last time that I have written just for sake of writing.  I don’t know when the last time I did actually do that was.  My journal is outside, in my car, but somehow I don’t feel that this is something I want to write there.  This is… I do not know.  This is stream of consciousness, and I am trying to keep from talking (writing) about work or other worries.  I need to find relief, and a new way to go at things, or else my “big picture” is going to stay a lovely shade of mediocrity and acquiescence.  And while it may be true that there are far worse possibilities for my future, some more likely than others, I refuse to compromise and live a life that, when looked upon in retrospect, makes me wonder what else might have been if only I had….  An ellipsis is a powerful and frightening thing when it stands for all those possibilities you let time and boredom and fear gloss over.  And god, I used to be so certain that when I got to the “real world,” I would never settle for anything less than my dreams.  But settling creeps in on you while you’re busy paying bills, and trying to get ahead, or else it drops in unannounced one evening while you decide you would rather just take a nap.  And it tells you that you’re probably not good enough to do those things you dreamed of; what do you have to say to the world anyways?  Better to just get a real job and make a concrete contribution to the world. 

 

Now, what are those two things mutually exclusive?  Time?  Energy?  But one night, John told me that he thinks I’ll be the one to write the novel of our generation.  And believe me, I have thought about that.  He may have been drunk when he said it, but he meant it, and boy do I respect that man.  If nothing else, it was a fantastic compliment.  I do not, however, have the slightest idea how to go about such a feat.  My best idea (and only) so far, would be a collection of ramblings like this.  But seriously, who the hell would want to read that?  What would that offer anyone?  Certainly, nothing.  Besides, I am comically under-read to be a writer.  Hell, I am embarrassingly under-read to be and English major, unless its Shakespeare, and then, I am irresponsibly under-read for someone holding a Master of Letters in the field.  “Shakespeare and Performance.”  Some of the happiest years of my life so far.  And yet I’m doing nothing with them.  I hardly ever even get out to see a play anymore.  I’m almost afraid to.  Is it depression?  Probably, though mild.  I think most people are.  And theatre, art, creation, digs me up out of it, even if only briefly: a few moments, a week, maybe a month.  

 

I often wonder if I am actually a “depressed person.”  What that means, if I am, and if my wondering and concern that I might be depressed are what are making me depressed, or exacerbating a mild depression in some self-defeating self-fulfilling prophecy.  I will probably not, however, go talk to anyone about this for a wide variety of reasons.

 

And now I start to worry that I’ll run out of things to talk about.  Secretly, I am thinking about posting this online for others to see.  I would tag it under “confession” and “stream of consciousness.”  I wonder what to do about the opening, which clearly references the fact that I am physically writing this on what is most likely scrap paper (it is).  Does that matter?  Does that give the whole thing a frame, or charm, or even a charming frame?  Will I even be able to read my own writing to transcribe it (I guess so)?  Would it be selfish or insecure, or otherwise reaching of me to put this online?  Well, now I have to know.  It will be a fairly long entry.  I hope I can hold at least a reader or two this far.  Would this count as an essay?

Cottonwood pilgrims, sojourning to their rest.

They move with purpose in a perfect unison,

Or at least a seeming perfect one;

An effortless, unconscious,

Ancient choreography, or a rite

That fills my vision like a filter.

And through this gossamer I can see

The trees and sky and ground

Are somehow changed, made rarefied by the presence,

Or the transience, of these travelers appearing from the treeline.

These few moments are apart,

Are made whole unto themselves, because they

Are filled with the grace and silence

Of which these pilgrims are the heralds

As they some continue on and some find rest

Upon the ground, painting the canvas of their sepulcher

To match the stars scattered across the night sky,

Imperfect mirrors.

Long Days

When I die, spread my ashes in a garden,
So that finally, I can do some good in life.
Or death. Whatever.
Have a purpose in life, that’s the point!
But the best laid plans… are dust in the wind,
Or some shit. Whatever.
You do what you can until you are
Sufficiently fucked to stop doing anything.
And that’s the end. Right, the end.
Whatever.
But along the way, you get to see it all
…unwrapped. All the shiny paper
And the bows come off.
And you’re left with fear, or lust, or anger, or confusion.
Sorry if this is all a bit too much,
But you asked how I wanted to go,
And there is no point in polishing a turd.

Autumn in here!

So, I wrote this poem two or three years ago, inspired by the way the clouds hung over the mountain outside the town where I was attending gradschool.  But, I never posted it here, and now autumn is here in force, so, here you go!  I hope you like it, it’s short.

The sort of day that lets the clouds at noon
Reach down from their shapeless place,
And through the falling rains and autumn leaves
(Their colors bright against the dark veins
Of mist-soaked limbs and trunks and branches)
Bring the world above to this.
That sort of day that breathes warm expectation,
And a persistence of the here and now,
And lays in wonder with its mist and rain.

I want to write

But I am restless and I don’t know why.

And it feels like I need to write

Something, something.

And I have this… something smoldering and churning

In my chest and fingers and mind and breath,

But it doesn’t come.

And I want to make something

That burns against the night sky,

That gives light and shadow and inspiration.

But I am haunted by those poems

That give me shame and disappointment

When I have read them over again much later,

And by the words of others

That I tell myself were only meant to wound,

But that could have been just honest truth,

And by how much more they might hurt if they were both.

Is it a matter of my reach

Being greater than my grasp,

Or the fear of that?

But it all doesn’t seem to matter

Because I feel as if I’m caught

In a strong current, or a riptide

That presses me and drags me through this churning life

And never lets me leave so much as a scratch

On the ocean floor

To mark my passing.

But I’m fighting it, I’m fighting it,

And I am losing.

Oh, The Pixies

So, here is a short post, but I felt like telling this story.  Here is a cover of The Pixies’ Where is my Mind:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq3io7Ix260&feature=related

Back in my undergraduate studies at UIUC, I was directing a play with a student company I was a part of: the What You Will Shakespeare Company.  The play was Shakespeare’s “Two Noble Kinsmen.”  Say what you will about it (oh, that was an unintentional pun, I apologize) but I like the play.  The Jailer’s Daughter is hypnotic, and Emilia has a lot more depth than I was expecting.

Anyways, I was directing this play, and the rehearsal process was stressful, as they always are.  This was my first play as the primary director, and I was trying desperately not to let my cast feel that way.  Lines were learning slowly, and conflicts abounded for scheduling.  But the show was comming together, and we were all on board: from me and my AD through the cast down to the people I had wrangled into setting up tech.

Then Tech Week began.  And the actor playing Palamon got diagnosed with dangerous ulcers and had to drop the show.  There was no question here, if he hadn’t left, I would have made him leave for his health.  It was that serious.  The only problem was that Palamon was around a four hundred line part.

I was understandably freaking the heck out.  I was gearing up to step in myself, having heard the lines and worked with the script for so long, and while venting said freaking the heck out to a friend over google chat, this friend sent me a link to the original Where is my Mind.  This was the first time I had ever heard this song, and I was somewhere around… 21? 22?  Needless to say, it was the right song.

The very next day, a friend in the company who had not wanted to audition for this show in particular responds to my pleas for a stand-in.  I offered to cut the part heavily and let him carry a script.  He literally smiled and laughed at me, learned the whole part, un-cut and with blocking, and kicked butt.  In a week.  He saved that show.  So I guess that he knew where my mind was, and that it wasn’t with me.  Thank god.

I found the cover I linked to above this evening, and it reminded me of this story.  Good times, that is all.

A Poem

I haven’t really written any poetry in a long time, but good or not, I still enjoy doing it.  So, here is a poem I wrote last weekend.  It can still use a good deal of editing, I’m sure, but why not put it up now, ey?

When, how, and for what reason?

I am ready for this to be over.

This smothered ember in my throat

And belly spreads out to my fingers and toes

To war with the cold wood floor on my feet.

Those boards have taken a hardness from the cold,

And will not surrender to be warmed.

They force me to retreat, and in my bed

I think about the snow.

I think about Joyce’s snow and the end it brings for him,

An end for the living and the dead.

It does not bring an end for me.

White falls, and touches, and spread, and covers,

Wanting more than anything to smooth and blur.

It never fails if once it takes its footing.

A world forzen, held in suspension like a crystal

In solution.  Taken out of time and uprooted from perception.

Adrift and unmitigable or discernible.  This is what the snow brings.

Maybe this is the end for the living and the dead: to be severed.

To be in a state without definition, smothered by a limitless confinement

To a plane of anchor-less expansion and collapse.  Ephemeral but quantified.

Why?

And in the morning it will all be gone,

And life will continue on as normal.

How?