I’m not sure what happened today. I guess either yesterday never ended or today began yesterday. It’s hard for me to say. Very hard.

Last night a TV stupor to escape the emptiness, to numb myself from this world I have come to by accident. Hours and hours of TV until 3:00 a.m. The final 2 episodes of The Affair. The 2nd half of Laurel Canyon. So much sex. So much sex I was not having. My escape from the emptiness made me feel even emptier.

Nice try, I said.

And then once I turned off the TV (actually the ipad since I don’t own a TV), my brain had shut down but my body was vibrating. This is the problem. It’s not caffeine. It’s not lack of exercise. It’s not anxiety. At least not the kind that can keep you awake.

What was I saying? The problem is that I am residing in a body that does not know how to stop vibrating. And that is what keeps me up late at night.

I may finally have fallen asleep around 5:00 a.m. But not very deeply. Not deep enough to dream a dream that would have filled some of the emptiness.

So many dreams I was not having.

I awakened at 10:00 a.m. Ate breakfast. With a CBD oil chaser. Practiced piano. Home on the Range again and again and again. It befuddles me.

Then swimming. For about an hour. I guess I swam a mile. I guess I swim 1 mile per hour. Turtles and snails move faster than I. But what is the point of comparing. I am glad I am not a turtle or a snail? Let them out-pace me. Why should I care? Should I care?

My body had enough after about 45 minutes, I guess. But I needed to fill that emptiness. 15 more minutes of swimming,.

And then I tried to take a nap. But it didn’t work, for some reason. I think the vibrations were starting again just as I lay down to nap. I lay there thinking about the hike I was not taking, or the writing I was not doing, or the friends I was not seeing or even communicating with.

This is what life has become. A life that is not really empty. A life that is filled with things I am not doing.

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So what happens next? I just declined a job offer in NYC, something I never could have imagined I would do. There were so many conflicting voices fighting to be heard. The voice that told me that I deserved to be making a normal middle class salary working for a very profitable firm. The voice that told me that I should be earning more to live in NYC than I earn to live in Rhode Island where I live paycheck to paycheck. How could I possibly have made that work?

And then there was the voice that told me that I am an artist and I am supposed to be poor and I should try to find a shared living situation in a completely non-gentrified part of Brooklyn or Queens or NJ. Why am I so bourgeois? That’s not who I am supposed to be. What am I doing? Denying myself the life I was born to live. Who do I think I am?

That’s the big question. That’s the one question I can’t answer.

Now that I’ve made the decision, 2 decisions in fact because I also had to decide today whether or not I would be renewing my lease in Providence, it’s been a night of regret. I don’t even like Providence. What the fuck am I doing? Declining a life in a place where I could truly connect for a place where I have no connection at all.

I think I am now beginning to understand who I am. I am the great saboteur of my own happiness. And this saboteur infuriates me. Almost as bad as Trump.

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Declaration of Independence

I can’t seem to shake it. Whatever ‘it’ is. This feeling that I am losing or have lost everything. I am clinging to twigs for support against this paralyzing isolation. Everything feels difficult. Everything has at least 1 fear attached to it. If there is a sign of hope, it is soon obliterated by fear and hopelessness.

I have only myself to blame. I mean it’s unfair to blame anyone else. I can’t say for sure that my friends have deserted me, just because they write or call or check up on me. They have no idea what I am going through. And the 2 friends who are present, Lynn and Carrie, only see my surface pretend act. But at least they are there for at least part of me.

It does not help that I am not reaching out to anyone as I sink deeper and deeper. It’s almost as if I have forgotten how. How not to feel like an intruder or an imposition.

Interestingly enough, oddly enough, my only distraction from sinking deeper and deeper occurs underwater. While swimming laps. I have no idea why I swim laps. Maybe it’s something to do with my body’s Declaration of Independence from my mind. My body just wants a pure experience of adrenaline and exertion. And it is usually so peaceful there, underwater, even 4 feet of water.

My body believes that if it can drag me with it, moving through water, it can take me anywhere. No matter how resistant I may be to going anywhere. My body doesn’t really care. And I can’t really argue with it. I don’t like to argue. I am not very good with conflict, especially the internal kind. My body exists in a place where the concept of isolation and all of its sub-concepts do not exist.

My body is the one who is typing these words. My mind just doesn’t have the energy for conversation. What is there to say?

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I wonder if I died today, how many of my friends would notice. Since I live so far from everybody and rarely see or speak to them. How much time would pass by before the thought of my existence entered anyone’s mind? What’s scarier is thinking of people who were important to me at one time in my life, or people I was considered as important at one point in their lives. I think of you. Maybe you’re in Texas or Seattle or Wisconsin or California or Louisiana or Connecticut or New York or Illinois or Toronto or Oregon or Paris or London or Germany. It’s quite possible we will never see each other again. And it make me feel disconsolate. It’s freaking me out. A muted panic hovers over the land. Directly over my head.

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A swamp

I am in a swamp. And it’s nothing like the Everglades. It might very well be like the Everglades, but I’m not really the right person to ask since I’ve never been to the Everglades, and it’s not even on the list of the top 10,000 places I would like to be before my expiration date. I am no expert.

But it sure does feel like a swamp. There’s movement, but it’s very slow and sluggish and it does not seem to be getting me very far. The more I move, the further away things become. I would not even know where to begin looking. And then I really have to watch out for crocodiles because you never know when one might find you. It doesn’t really matter if you have already crossed the swamp. You may have crossed it 6 decades ago. But they WILL find you. The crocodiles. Just make sure you are not alone when they do.

People always ask me why I wear crocodile shirts instead of alligator shirts. I tell them it’s for own protection. Some get it. Others don’t. It’s so strange that I’d much rather hang out with the ones that don’t get it. I’m not sure why that it is. I guess if they don’t get it, they probably don’t get me. So we expect less of each other. And are rarely disappointed.

My canoe glides through this thickish water almost imperceptibly. Were the land not moving so quickly away, I would not think I was moving at all. Eventually I will have forgotten why I came here. And I will just stand there. Frozen. I never in a million years could have imagined what it would be like to be frozen in swamp amidst this thickish heat and thicker humidity. If I were an ice cube, I would not stand a chance here.

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My brain like a fog

A dense and thickening fog

It’s been thickening for years now.

Decades actually.

It’s difficult to maneuver around in it.

I wish I could be more pliant. More permeable

I would if I could.

It’s most noticeable these days when I’ve been trying to meet a deadline and just not getting anywhere. That deadline being …. well, there’s no dancing around it. I’m about to to turn 60 in about 18 hours.

When I think of this, I am shocked and dismayed. Clearly this was not supposed to happen until I was ready. I did not have nearly enough time to prepare. And not the clock is about to run out.

The life I had envisioned is nothing like the life I am living. Although if you spend a considerable amount of time spent envisioning… then envisioning is part of the life you are living.

But, truth be told, if someone had told me at some point earlier in my life that at 60, I would be alone, living in a place where I know not a soul, complete estranged from love and family and community and creativity and happiness, I might have said, “no thanks. I think I’ll take a pass on a life such as that.” And waited to inhabit a better life that would hopefully come along eventually.

I hope that does not come across as ungrateful. I am grateful for sparks and fireflies and lightning and stars and trees and water and shelter and sushi and Carla Bley and Leonard Cohen and John Cassavettes and Antonioni and Laurie Anderson and Dylan and Beckett and Kakfa and all of my loved ones who are so far from me now. I thank you. I thank you all. But if you wouldn’t mind giving me a little shove, a little kick I might need make my deadline before it’s too late.

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It’s so easy being back here in the place that formed me. my place of origination. the source of the majority of things from which I have sprung. nearly lost but re-found friends will ask me what I am doing here. And I think, that’s such a strange strange question. Why are they not asking what I am doing there? that’s the real mystery. At least to me.

Elsewhere, people smile at me on the streets. They all look familiar, but I’m not sure how or why. I guess I am the one who must look familiar. I am surprised I am even recognizable to anyone anymore. Who are these people? I think they like my glasses. I am just the mannequin for my glasses. There are worst things to be.

Even this guy whizzing by on his bicycle along the lakefront looks at me quizzically. I wonder if that was the guy who smashed into me one July morn’ 10 years ago. It can’t be him, can it? Why would it be? I can’t think of a single reason. Other than to induce a palpitation or 2.

But one thing I can say for sure, it will be hard to leave again. Hard to go back there. I can barely stomach it.

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operational inefficiency

today was one of those days where my infrastructure was experiencing an operational inefficiency. my performance across cross-functional teams could have been more optimal. partly because I am still learning the workflows and partly because I forgot so shake the bottle of CBD oil throughly prior to ingestion.

What steps can I take to improve both my efficiency and my character? Is there a way I can do them at the same time? If a person’s character is based upon their performance, I am in serious serious trouble.

I just looked out the window and trees are still there but I had forgotten it is Spring. Now they are glowing at me. I hope I can return the favor.


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the end of the day

This might sound curmudgeonly, but it really bothers me when people begin a sentence with “because at the end of the day … ” As in, “because at the end of the day, it’s family that matters most” or “because at the end of the day, your health is what really counts.” Things like that.

Because at the end of the day, starting a sentence without “because at the end of the day” feels very refreshing.

Because at the end of the day, what you do is more important than what you say.

Because at the end of the day, it not what you make, but who you make it with.

Because at the end of the day, you wish there was more to the day because that is when you are truly waking up.

Because at the end of the day, you wish you could start the day over and do it correctly this time.

Because at the end of the day, the trees are as barren as they were in the morning.

Because at the end of the day, you still have not spoken.

Because at the end of the day, you would rather not be overheard.

Because at the end of the day, you have run out of excuses.

Because at the end of the day, nobody has time to hear your excuses.

Because at the end of the day, you look out the window and notice that time has not stood still.

Because at the end of the day, you feel both liberated and defeated.

Because at the end of the day, you are still waiting for a moment of revelation.

Because at the end of the day, your feet feel swollen.

Because at the end of the day, your primal neediness seizes control over your heart, mind and body.

Because at the end of the day, nothing really matters much (it’s doom alone that counts).

Because at the end of the day, you have forgotten everything.

Because at the end of the day, you fear you are forgotten by everyone.

Because at the end of the day, you are fortunate there will be another one.

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Extended stay american

There was a time when words mattered. But then it stopped. And nothing was left but vague gestures. But then at that very moment, you entered the room. Suddenly all of our hairs stood on end. The dogs. The cats. The rabbits. The deer. The ponies. The angels. And us.

We were afraid to ask where you had been, after so many days and interminable nights. Who knows how many? We guess we never really thought of counting. But still, we all wondered, where were you?

We could tell by the scent of your hair that you had come from somewhere far far away.  We could speculate that you came from a distance. Perhaps from some nether region. Perhaps from across the courtyard. Or perhaps from the laundromat. Or that shoe repair place you always spoke so glowingly. Or perhaps from the airport, from a plane that had never left the terminal. The only thing we could agree upon was that wherever you had come from would be impossible for us to locate. And even harder to find.

But the scent of your hair was familiar, eerily familiar. Like burning raisin toast. Or an empty humidifier. Or perhaps a car wash. You had that washed away look in your eyes. It was pretty unmistakeable. We wish you could have seen it. We are pretty sure you would agree. That might help us better understand your hair.

We thought of you a lot while riding the train. Glancing out the window passing towns and forests bubbling with life, even in the winter, even in the dark, especially in the dark. We gazed in wonder at this marsh we must have seen 1000 times by now. But we never realized it was even there until just before we returned home, mere moments before you walked into the room.

Some of your features had changed. Your hair was thinner but just as unkempt (which is not a criticism). Your skin was greener than we remembered. Which was worrisome to some of us. To others it was wondrous. It didn’t dawn on us that you were standing in the light filtered through our terrarium. But it was a nice mystery while it lasted.

But you did look more stern. Maybe you had forgotten how to smile. It’s so easy to forget. We imagined that if you could smile, it might take all of your effort. And we didn’t want to exhaust you, especially since you had just gotten home. What kind of welcome would that have been? Not a very welcome welcome. The thought that we might be asking you to smile against your will was not something we would ever choose to endure, at least not voluntarily. Although some people are really into it … the unendurable.

We could not tell if you had noticed that our home had been transformed into an Extended Stay America. Finally, we had a place to stay for as long as we wanted. We would have asked if you would like to stay with us, but we thought that maybe we should wait until you had actually entered the room. We might build up to that later. Or maybe that would be too manipulative. Maybe we should ask you to stay right now. But we thought if we had asked, you’d be out the door in a flash. In less than a flash. You’d be gone. And that would be that.

But if we didn’t ask and you had left without our asking… that would really truly be something we could never ever endure. We would be at wit’s end. What would it be like to live at wit’s beginning? Or in the era before wit even existed. Just try to imagine. We are imagining what the Earth would look like before the dawn of wit. We can see that it looks like a dense roll of faded green shag carpeting, 6 feet wide and who knows how many miles long. We thought, now that is a strange thing to imagine. Very strange. We eventually realize that the Earth at that time was simply a macrocosm of our home in the Extended Stay America. It was so obvious, how could we have missed that?

This is what happened to our imagination while you were gone.

And in case you were wondering, your your arrival was a welcome disruption, especially when we found ourselves staring at your shoes. You always had such cool shoes. And we loved the colors of your shoelaces. You always wore these dark brown boots, leather grained like footballs. With fluorescent orange shoelaces. It was so perfect. (We recall you once told us that you can tell a lot about a person from the color of their shoelaces.) We wish we had your sense of style. We never really knew what to wear anywhere anymore. We never really considered that anyone else might feel the same. It just never occurred to us. We’re not sure why.

And that scarf you were wearing. It looked exactly like the scarf we saw in the photo of that guy in the newspaper, the one who claimed he was a data architect from New Zealand but who turned out to be a registered foreign agent lobbying for some fascist regime that had recently seized control over the government of our municipality. It seemed like everyday another of us was getting deported to who knows where for reasons beyond our comprehension. We were diminishing in number. And some of us were worried. That’s when we came up with the brilliant idea of finding a room, a suite actually, at the Extended Stay America. That is what brought us to this place. We knew no one would ever find us here, except for you. And here you are, at least for the moment.

But we have to tell you know how much we love your scarf. It’s such a great great scarf. We could not blame you for wearing it. You just didn’t fit the type.

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A new ride

They tell me it’s true. There is nothing to be afraid of any more. Every fear has already been felt, some in a feedback loop that feels eternal. Or maybe more eternal than the lifespan of whoever carries the fear.

But beyond that, what more can there be?

The fear that you are frozen in fear. That’s a pretty major one. That would be a nice one to cross off of our list.

Then there’s the fear of change. As in, not being able to adapt to it. As in, me in Boston for over 2 years now. Or maybe not the fear of the change as much as the fear of losing everything. Friends, family, community, restaurants, gyms, doctors, therapists, parking spaces, chiropractors, neighborhoods, identity.

Now that’s fear and it seems like it’s real and it has mass and weight that outweigh you. It feels like concrete, but it’s only dust and smoke. But if you’re sensitive to allergens, it feels real.

That you leaves you with a couple of options.

One might be a binge… TV, food alcohol, more TV, more food, online shopping for shoes and hats and sex and kindness and a good psychic.

Another is sleep, or a very long, very deep, very productive (dream-wise) nap.

A third might be constant motion. It doesn’t matter if it’s a voyage to another hemisphere or a walk to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal. As long as you keep things moving, as long as you are a moving target, there’s a chance you might actually elude fear.

All of those options seem at least worth exploring. And if they don’t work, you have nothing to lose except for maybe seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, decades, an entire lifetime, however long it take before you realize all of this was just one mega-allergic reaction to the phenomena that derails you from happiness.

That’s when it’s time to find a new mode of transportation.

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Word count

I can’t seem to get in the flow of a daily writing practice. 36 decades and one would think I would have figured it out by now. One would think. But these past couple of years have been particularly challenging. Not to make excuses but I think it might have something to do with never adapting to this new city even after 2 years and not even made a pretend friend. Even a work friend I could have lunch with once in a while. This confounds me because I’ve never been in this situation before. I’ve always adapted eventually, but there are no signs pointed in that direction.

Anyway, the point is that I speak so little to anyone and somehow I think this manifests as the belief that I have nothing to say. Hence the writing blockage.

So in my intent to subvert this, I thought it might be a good idea to keep a word diary–not like a diary diary but more like a food diary. Instead of documenting every food item I consume each day and then add up the calories, I would document my words spoken and add them up.

Starting today:

Good morning (2x = 4 words)

Hi (3x = 3 words)

Have fun (2 words)

Excuse me (to people blocking the doors of the train as I exit) (4x = 8 words)

Sorry (to people on the train I brush up against as I try to exit (3x = 3 words)


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Lost thought

I had a really great thought an hour ago. But now I can’t seem to find it. It’s gone. Which is too bad because I was so impressed with it. I think it was one of my best. I think it had something to do with doing something simultaneously with another thing. And I think the thought occurred while walking to the bathroom at work. I was thinking and walking simultaneously.  It was such a vivid thought that I didn’t think it was necessary to write it down. What do you think it was?

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I’m not quite sure I understand why people smile.

No.. wait. I get that. But why do so many, it seems like most people, smile in photos on these dating sites? Why? And then once in a while someone on 1 of those sites will tell me that I look intense. Because I am not smiling.

As if a smile is sign of content and happiness… which it can be for some people. Or for some moments. But not for everybody.

Sometimes I think a smile and true happiness occurring at the same time might only be a coincidence. Or a rare phenomenon, like the Harmonic Convergence. How strange is it that I can’t recall what happened during the last Harmonic Convergence. Where was I? Hmmmm…  I think I was teaching part-time, working at a media arts non-profit that is now defunct, doing a lot of little performances or maybe working on 1 big one.  Creatively, I was on fire. And hanging out at the Rainbow Club, like almost every night, getting plastered, which for me means 2 drinks. And completely screwing up 2 very meaningful relationships. It breaks my heart to think about them. So if there was one moment of convergence, I guess I was too distracted to notice. And I had been waiting for it for so so long. It’s a shame.

It makes me sad to write about it. Even though within that sadness was one of the happiest periods of my life. So maybe I experienced some degree of harmonics, sans convergence. But what happened to the fire?

The point I was trying to make is that a smile does not really signify anything. I mean, I’m going through my music collection. Hundreds of albums and CDs by incredible musicians. And with 1 or 2 exceptions, nobody is smiling. In my book collection, some of the authors are smiling but they tend to be Buddhists,  people like the Dalai Lama or Pema Chodron. Otherwise, my apartment is cluttered with works by dozens of writers and musicians who inspire me, who look kind of “intense.” Can you imagine John Coltrane smiling while he recorded A Love Supreme? Can you imagine Samuel Beckett smiling for the book jacket of Molloy, one of the most hilarious books ever?

The point I was trying to make is that forcing a smile can wear a person out. And a worn out person is less happy. While the person who is not forcing a smile has a lot more stamina, which can make one feel very happy. And the people like the Dalai Lama …. their  smiles are coming from a very deep deep place that not everyone can reach. But it is worth reaching for.

But then take another person like Krishnamurti and look at his photos on book jackets. I don’t think I’ve seen one photo of him smiling although I’m sure they exist. But I wonder how much success Krishnamurti would have on Tinder with those photos. Maybe this will be my next topic of research.



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What does it mean if get pneumoia… and then when you are almost recovered, you get a sinus infection? And one morning you awaken to a puddle of red glop on the kitchen counter because you did not realize that the cap on the bottle of cough medicine you did not finish was not completely closed and the bottle somehow rolled onto its side.

So after you clean up the mess, you decide to make a cup of tea but the mug slips out of your fingers and falls onto a glass bowl that shatters all over the kitchen? So much glass, but you are fortunate your eyes were spared from the shards.

This must be a sign of something? What is it I am doing wrong? Day after day, I’ve been trying to figure this out.

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