|THIS IS A READ-ONLY ARCHIVE FROM THE SORABJI.COM MESSAGE BOARDS (1995-2016).|
This is the second time since Sept. 11 that I've lost my watch. Which must mean something/but I don't know what. I feel very naked being out & about w/out my watch on. I know it's here in the house somewhere. But I cdn't find it when I was getting dressed for work yesterday. I slept in the guest bedroom last nite & bought my alarm clock w/me to make sure I got up in time. Of course/the lawn service men & their horrendous leaf blowers & lawn mowers & cymbals & trumpets made enough racket to wake the dead/so there was no real threat of oversleeping. They're supposed to come one Mondays & Wednesday's/barring rain. (Such are the Rules of Order in Florida condoland. I've been here since '95 & in the last 3 years/it hardly ever rains anymore. Can you say Global Warming? Does America even care abt Global Warming anymore?) But today was Thursday & there was no rain yesterday/yet there they were/creating sonic havoc. The guest bedroom (which has yet to host any guests/save Sebastian when I first bought him home & Six was intent on murdering his poor scrawny self. Four mos. later/he is looking quite sleek & satisfied/& wreaking havoc w/my new living room curtains. But his extravagantly long fluffy tail & various kitten antics make him forgivable.) is in the back of my house/which is not even a proper house but only a condo. (But I own it. It's mine/so I consider it My House.) In the back of the house/the Keepers Of The Grounds & their belligerent machines are barely audible. They merely mow in back of the house/since there are no pine needles to blow into piles & scoop up. And I bought my watch w/me so I'd be able to set the alarm clock correctly.
But somewhere btwn setting the alarm yesterday @ 6am & waking up yesterday afternoon (I work the 2nd shit/3:30 - 11:30pm) & resetting it so I cd lie in bed for another 15 min (it has no Snooze button)/my watch evaporated into the ether. I've looked everywhere & it's totally gone from my life.
I didn't bother putting linens on the bed. I keep a bedspread on top of the mattress to keep the dust off (it's much easier to wash a bedspread than a mattress)/& I slept on top of the bedspread/naked w/all the windows open & my watch & cigarettes & lighter beside me/& Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" set to Repeat on my boom box. Since 9/11 I haven't been able to listen to anything but Coltrane or & Nina Simone. (I am trying out some Gregorian chants just now. With limited success.) Their music is like old friends who always manage to lift me out of whatever Mean Reds or Funky Blues I've fallen into. But they seem to have lost their mojo for me.
3 days ago/fall slipped into Florida/like a filament from a dandelion head blown into the wind/sliding down past yr collar to tickle the small of yr back. It was wonderful. Florida is famous for it's soft nights -- I think Hemmingway first coined that phrase/but all of the newspaper journalists use it here. Those nights when 6 mos. of relentless summer finally releases Florida from it's sticky grip & the air turns almost cool & restless. There is a slight/continuous breeze and almost no humidity & you can walk outside in the middle of the day w/out instantly feeling as though you need to pull off your clothes & wring them out before you take another step. And you can walk outside in the middle of the night w/out yr sinuses seizing up from the thick air. 72 hrs. ago/fall crept into Florida like a back-alley lover/teasing me into turning off the a.c. & opening all the windows & sleeping naked on top of the bedspread of my unmade guest bed w/out fear of mosquitoes & no-see-ums ravaging me in the night.
For 3 days/Florida felt light a perfect little corner of heaven. The place where God goes to lie back in his hammock & have a class of wine & relax for a bit. Then tonite/the humidity came back w/a vengeance. The coolness disappeared like some guy from a bar you'd bought home to yr bed on for a beautiful nite of laughter & sex. By dawn/he was nothing but a wet/empty imprint in the sheets beside you.
Maybe April is the cruelest month for the rest of the world. For Florida/it's definitely early October that sets you up for the big letdown.
I don't believe in second-hand Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That is/I don't believe you can watch planes ramming into the Twin Towers on CNN/or even from the safety of yr home or office blocks away/& be classified as suffering PTSD afterwards. I only know I haven't managed to write anything more coherent than a grocery list/or get a good night's sleep/since Sept. 11 w/out getting majorly drunk. The simple act of composing a list of thing to buy from the 24-hr. Super Walmart feels like writing the opening statement of my undergrad thesis. I start/then my mind unspools somewhere btwn scallions & cat litter. The task seems like such a privilege when I think abt the 6000+ people who will never get to write another grocery list again. I start wondering if it's self-indulgent to plan on buying Scotch Bonnet peppers @ $2.25 a lb./or lemons at 75cents a piece. There are literally thousands of women in New York & New Jersey & Connecticut & God-only- knows-where-else who don't know where the money for their child's next box of Pampers will come from/becuz they haven't seen their husband since 9/11. Everything I do/everything I try to write/seems stupid & self-indulgent.
It takes all the mental fortitude I have to focus my mind long enough to compose a grocery list. It took half a bottle of Sauza Hornitos for me to write this much/& I'm still drinking/at home/alone/at 6am. Which means something is wrong w/me. I am definitely depressed/but I feel I have no right to be. All of my friends & family are fine & well. I have friends who have suffered direct personal losses from the WTC attacks. I didn't find that out until I went to a birthday gathering Monday night after work. In the course of reading birthday cards & fixing drinks & catching up/I found out that one friend lost a high school pal who was on the NYPD. Another lost a friend who worked in the Twin Towers & hasn't been heard from since 9/11. The friend who lost the cop knows at least that they found his badge in the rubble. The other knows nothing except that his friend went to work at the World Trade Center on 9/11 & hasn't been seen since.
Whenever I take a shower/all I can think of is flaming jet fuel cascading over the bodies of the people inside those buildings & those airplanes. And the final act of bearing witness for the ones who were in the back of those planes as they were crashing into theTtowers/into the Pentagon/into that field in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania.
And the woman in her wheelchair/& the co-worker who carried her & her wheelchair down 80-odd flights of stairs/thru smoke & flames & melting steel. Who both lived to tell.
6 hrs. ago/I was in WalMart/buying Oat Grass seeds for my cats/& I burst into tears in the middle of the aisle. That is not the first public crying jag I've suffered in the last 3 wks./or in my car driving to work/or in the shower/or in the kitchen. And I know it won't be the last.
I have no plans to seek the assistance of a Mental Health Professional/or medication/since I have no health insurance at present. I'd rather self-medicate w/booze. At least w/booze/I know all the side effects & what the proper dosage is.
The website I've been hanging out at for the last several months/in my absence from the Sorabji Asylum/is a site for wannabe screenwriters. But everyone there is keenly focused on Their Script & getting people to read it/& the current contest we are all entered in. It has message boards/like Mark's site. But they are mainly abt movies people have seen & movies people are writing/or indy films they're shooting. And somehow/none of that matters to me anymore. I don't think I can write screenplays anymore/so I am sort of on hiatus from that place. Words seem incredibly trivial just now.
Yet Mark was able to write so movingly abt his reactions to the attacks of 9/11. I was so impressed by his words that I paged him & asked for permission to read them on the radio when my homegirl from Brooklyn called me Monday & asked if I wd be a call-in guest on her radio show that nite. She wanted to do a show on the reactions of ex-New Yawkers to what happened on 9/11. I was supposed to be on w/an ex-roommate of hers who now lives in L.A/but she was out when my homegirl called her house. So it was just me & Toni & all those late-nite NY community radio listeners/listening to me ramble on abt the line of demarcation that broke all our lives in two on 9/11.
It was comforting to hear people calling in in their New Yawk accents/expressing a lot of the same feelings & confusion I feel/so many miles away from Ground Zero. I didn't get to speak to Mark until after the show/so I didn't read any of his writing. I know/it's already 'published' becuz it's on the Internet. But I wdn't have felt right reading his words on the radio w/out getting his okay first. My girl Toni wants to have me on again to talk abt some other issues I bought up/so maybe I'll get to read from Mark's writing next Monday. She's been on the air in NY for 10 years. We met & became friends becuz I was a regular listener & caller on her show.
I was esp. moved by Mark's description of how the Twin Towers were friends to all New Yorkers/like a smile in the skyline. And how they seemingly cared enuf abt the people of the city to hold on long enough to allow so many to get out alive.
"There was friendship between the towers and those in its shadows. They bore a personality powerful in a way irreproducible, indescribable. You acknowledged them from wherever you saw them, however far away. Tremendous in size, even overpowering, but never oppressive or controlling, they were giant friends, giant self-assured smiles that were synonymous with New York City. Their final gestures, their final crippled stroke of power was to sustain the hits long enough to let untold thousands run to safety. For that, at least, there should be thanks. "
I find so little & so much to be thankful for in the aftermath of this tragedy. But mostly/I find myself feeling unworthy of the life I've made for myself for far. On 2 occasions/I tempted in the Twin Towers for a few months during the time after film school that I was living in Queens & looking for movie jobs. If a few molecules of the stuff Fate is made of had aligned themselves differently in the cosmic matrix that is life on this planet/I cd've still been living in NY & working in the Twin Towers on 9/11.
It cd've been the same for any one of us.
It cd've been the same. For any one of us.
And the feeling that overwhelms me most right now is that in this age of shacking-up & disposable relationships/none of the calls made by the people on those planes that were aired during the subsequent newscasts (& that may be due to intentional editing by the news networks/or my sporadic viewing of the broadcasts) were from live-in lovers or girlfriends or boyfriends. What I saw & heard were calls from husbands & wives/people who had made the Big Commitment to The Everlasting Hook-Up/telling their spouses that they loved them. Just ordinary people/making a last desperate effort to say "I love you. And I love our kids. Take care of them." Which is probably as profound as life gets.
I can compose emails & return phone calls & get thru the normal shit-&-string beans of making it thru the day. But I can't write for shit. Becuz words are even more ephemeral now than they were before. Before/I loved language/I believed in the power of words -- the way Coltrane believed in the power of notes – to touch & transform people. A few nights ago/during a Coltrane anniversary broadcast/I listened to "Alabama"/which I found out Coltrane was inspired to compose by the cadence of a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr./a speech written in response to the bombing of that church in Alabama that killed 4 Black girls. I have heard that cut before & been inspired & moved by it w/out ever knowing what inspired Trane to write it. But hearing it in it's proper context that nite/with King’s speech playing over it in in the same perfect harmonious time signature/left me reeling from the sharp blow to the spirit that proves nothing has really changed in this country since '60's. Even despite the fierce alchemy of Coltrane's genius for transforming Black pain/human pain/into music.
And now that we need him most/John Coltrane is long gone from this world.
I am one of those people who got out of college & never stopped believing that she cd change the world. Words were my weapon of choice. But if I've learned anything from this tragedy/it is that all the reams of words printed & spoken about freedom/justice/& the American Way don't amount to jack shit against people who are willing to live & die for their beliefs. However insane.
If I had been one of those people on one of those planes on 9/11 who wd I have called to say "I'm going to die & I want you to know that I love you."? My parents? Of course/I love them I & know they love me. They had to/it's there in the fine print/under Parental Obligations. And yes/the majority of Black women in this country grow up w/out a father who loved their mother enuf to marry her & stick w/her to raise their children. So again/I am one of the luck ones. But until I have someone to love who loves me back in equal measure -- by choice/not becuz of bloodlines -- what have I really created in this world that counts?
What I'm saying is that I've come out of this believing that words are not enuf of a life-contribution. Living in the world/living in love with someone who loves me back/is the greatest defense I can offer against hatred & terror & murder & destruction. So I need to get out there & get on w/the business of finding someone to love.
I've been a solo act for so long in part becuz I believed that for me/writing required a solitary life/being in the world as a observer/apart from the complications of intimate relationships & all that they entail. It's not a coincidence that I haven't been in relationship in nearly 8 years. That's partly becuz I never meet anyone I find intriguing enuf to try & pursue a relationship with. But it's also becuz I've kept myself wrapped up in books & videos/or glued to my computer screen/in order to write. (I also can't afford a boyfriend. Having a man means going to the hairdresser & getting & manicures & pedicures & buying new lingerie & all that stuff that's not in my budget at my current salary.)
I think it's time for a change. But I don't know how to begin to change.
If I had been on one of those planes/I wdn't have had anyone to call. Face it -- that makes me pretty worthless as a 40-yr-old human being. All the words I've written wd've been meaningless as my flight approached the Towers or the Pentagon or that field in Pennsylvania/becuz ultimately/words don't amount to much in this world. Words can't love you back. Living & loving someone & letting them love you are the things that matter most in life.
W.H Auden said 'We must love one another, or die." I have always believed that -- the history of the world has taught that truth to all of us. I think Americas understand that now in a way we never have before.
I know that love is the only antidote to hatred.
But how do I make love happen for me? How does anyone make love happen in this world?
5 years ago today I married my wife. And i still don't know how or why. All i know is I wake up, I kiss her and am so glad her pink, fleshy warm body is there for me to wrap mine around. This morning as I embraced her, kissed her 5 times...I thought to myself, who said humans arent meant to be monogamus. Those who say that are usually single. Then again those who say the converse are usually with someone. But im not really an authority on either, Im just letting you know what crossed my mind.
I really really don't believe RC you should be gauging your existance on whether or not you have a partner. Im not sure how useful that is. I beleieve humans are far more capable than jsut that...partnering up.
I don't believe love is not necessarily the antidote to hatred. It can serve is as fuel.
Hatred is passion, love is passion. Is it not?
on my way out the door, needing a book to read, i grabbed, for the 3rd time, Joseph Conrad's Secret Agent. Ive attempted to get through this 3 times now, never making it beyond page 60-70, for no apparent reason. Its also interesting that i chose this particular title, given its inspired and even loosely based on the conspiracy bombing of the Greenwich Observatory...considering todays climate.
Anyway...I found a pay stub from 6/95. When i worked for a near shady sales/telemarket company. Pay check of $191.33. That was for one weeks worth of work. Funny. $7.50/hour plus a commission.
What is notable is what I wrote on the back of the stub. This stub was used as a book mark. Seeing as how i took the bus and subway in Atlanta at that time as well....let me share with you what i wrote.
its not really significant...I dont think...
its a transient transit
bus service to fantasy
not of me.....
she stepped about face
take a seat skinny girl
shuttlebus shuffle through
your not of this world
you must be afraid of me
and my ragged shirt and dirty shoes
Im from the eastside
you must be from the north
never grace so gigantic
its a trainseat shuttlebus love affair
a big fan of elipses even then.
i dont write anymore, for no apparent reason other than lack of that KIND of inspiration. Most of the writing i did do isnt even that interesting, just words put together in a meter that appeals to me....usually dealing with the cosmic. for some reason i was really into the cosmic then.
its a slow day. i dont want to be here.
so im eager to talk.
more so than other days.
of the beats i do know hes not my fav.
my fav poet of the beats is Ferlinghetti.
Becuz people like you can afford to take love for granted. Which is not to say that you take Nico for granted. She's too beautiful for any man to ever assume anything w/her. And you're a romantic at heart anyway, Patrick. Even if she wasn't gorgeous/you'd still adore her.
S'like White skin privilege. The people who have it never think abt what life is like for the Others who don't.
My mother had some cosmetic surgery done last week. Not a face lift or liposuction or anything as frivilous as that. She's not that superficial. (No offense to Sarah.) She had a benign tumor/abt the size of a golf ball/removed from her armpit. She developed it after she had me/so it's been there for years/rubbing against her bras & irritating her. She finally decided to have it removed.
She's a retired Ob-Gyn/so she knows the risks w/surgery. She'd had a major work-up done less than a month ago/for her annual physical. So she didn't chastise her surgeon when he didn't order pre-op blood work before her operation. Medicare wdn't have covered it/but they've both got health insurance up the wazoo. But Ma didn't insist. She knows doctors hate nothing more than ex-doctors who are "difficult patients".
And she coded on the table. During a routine procedure that shdn't have taken more than 30 min. They bought in the crash cart/shocked her back to life/the whole nine yards. Like you see on E.R. I was in the room becuz I'd asked to be there. (Hospitals extend all sorts of professional courtesies to doctors & their offspring/if you bother to ask.)
I still say she shd sue the bastard. But SHE'S the one who was wrong/for being too fucking polite & not making her doctor do his job & run her blood work beforehand.
She's home & fine now. The drain's still in place -- it shd've come out Thurs./which was a week after the operation. But there's still too much fluid drainage. (I pray that asshole didn't fuck up the operation. In Florida/anyone w/an M.D. can perform any kind of surgery. But there's no fever & she seems fine.)
My mother basically died right there in the o.r. Right in front of my eyes. They pulled her back/but still... I went w/her for the surgery becuz my Dad was tending to a wheelchair-bound friend of his that day/while his wife was out tending to her business.
(If I end up in a wheelchair/who will be there to look after me? Who will love me enuf to make sure there are friends to come by & take care of me?)
And I made sure the doctor looked my Daddy in the eye & told him my mother had coded while under his care. He never offered any explanation. (Why doesn't that word have an 'i' in it? Like 'explain'?) Ma was out of the woods by the time Daddy got there. But he turned white as a sheet & sat down & cried like a 3-yr-old when that bastard told her she'd coded. My mother is Life itself to him.
I want someone to adore me. Like that. So that I won't just be taking up space on this planet for the next 20 or 30 years. After 9/11 I think that is the greatest/most meaningful thing I can possibly accomplish in my life.
Inquiring minds wanna know!
i know what you're saying, though. good luck to you too. if there is a god worth a 2nd thought, you'll get it.
the only person i ever recognized a desire to kill in myself toward, was a doctor.
next time my doctor casually recommends surgery to me, I'm going to tell her your story.
cause for extended bingeing indeed. but, fighting stress with stress will take its toll.
But I daresay I shd limit the hard stuff to one nite a week. I've grown rather fond of this white Merlot buzz I've discovered recently. And red wine's good for yr heart & whatnot.
I never get faced off Merlot -- just fuzzy/then giggly/then sleepy. And no hangover the next morning. (But Hornitos doesn't give me hangovers either. Now Vodka -- that's a horse of a different feather!)
And being able to sleep thru the nite was the whole point in the 1st place.