Monday, March 31, 2008

Poem for Monday, March 31, 2008

The Day and the Hour

by Fredric Koeppel

Someone comes to tell you the day and the hour
of your death. He sits in a chair and brushes
the dust of the road from his hat. You get him
a glass of cold water from the kitchen; he closes
his eyes as he drinks, slowly, beholden. He leans

forward and whispers a few words into your ear
and then turns toward the door. He stands on
the porch, looking out at the distance. Clouds
fill the hills with purple scrim, and he wonders
which will find him first, the rain or the fall of night.

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484

Friday, March 28, 2008

you tube mixtape

I have trouble with patience. Now that things are starting to get better, I want it all at once. I want new shoes and tickets to Pitchfork and a new fixie and fucking true love. my brain keeps kicking into hamster wheel mode and while the ridiculous thoughts are nowhere near as life-threatening (or at least 3rd degree burn inducing) as they used to be, they still wear me out.

my therapist told me I need to start meditating more. shut this monkey mind up. right now it's just yammering on and on about the alone forevers and throwing its own shit at me.

monkey mind has a lot to bear right now. my brother's wife just had a baby and I feel fucked up about it. he did some terrible things while we were growing up and now he's in Southern Baptist Seminary, wants to go off to Iraq/n and be a chaplain, get blowed the fuck up. I can't remember a single time in my life I ever felt close to him. mostly there's just decades of shame and fear and resentment and anger.

I still have a long way to go, and a lot of shit to get over. sitting at home alone 90% of the time doesn't help, but it beats going to a bar.

this last one might have to be my new theme for the year. from me to me.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

come get you something to eat

tonight I made myself a delicious feast, despite being stood up due to the weather (which is no excuse in this age of INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY and TEXTING EFFING GOOGLE FFS:

masamam curry with tofu skin, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and square rice noodles.

steamed kale in warm onion/garlic/rice wine/sesame vinaigrette, with toasted sesame and flax seeds.

took less than 10 minutes prep and then about 10 to cook. curry paste is a few bucks at the asian grocery and vegan/msg-free versions can be found with careful label-reading. it's insanely easy to make- you just whisk it into coconut milk, simmer, add water and chopped up ingredients and cook til shit is done. this is why I rarely want to eat out Thai Food. it's way cheaper to make at home.

day offs are only sweet cos you've been working

almost 14 miles yesterday, the quick ride over and out to lakeview to retrieve my dropped u-lock key, then up the ridiculously bumpy lake path to the vietnamese market. I haven't ridden the lake path since I moved out to Logan Square, and it's all kind of fucked-up. I'd've been better off riding up Broadway in rush hour, but I was feeling nostalgic for last summer.

it's sleeting out today, and the low barometric pressure has the fire ants nibbling at my knee bones. my new boss is supposed to start treating me soon (how rad is that?)- apparently it's SOP for his business model, as I will be better able to relate to the patients.

I hope it helps.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Poem for Monday, March 24, 2008

“I Keep to Myself Such Measures…”

by Robert Creeley

I keep to myself such
measures as I care for,
daily the rocks
accumulate position.

There is nothing
but what thinking makes
it less tangible. The mind,
fast as it goes, loses

pace, puts in place of it
like rocks simple markers,
for a way only to
hopefully come back to

where it cannot. All
forgets. My mind sinks.
I hold in both hands such weight
it is my only description.

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

hail ganesha!

I finally got a job! I'll be working the front desk at a chiropractic/acupuncture clinic less than a mile from my house.

the best part is the brand new yoga studio inside the building. I am envisioning my lunch breaks looking like this:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

and he wrote it himself

I found this to be profoundly moving.

But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow...

It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

the day the war started, I was filmed at a protest in downtown Memphis holding a plywood sign painted with "I AM ASHAMED TO BE AN AMERICAN."

the day of the last presidential election, I went and voted and then watched the states turn red from the locked mental health triage unit at the public hospital.

I've seen very little in the past few years that has made me proud. we have a beautiful country that we are allowing to fill up with windblown plastic grocery bags and SUV-generated smog. our prime time television slots are full of sickening pap that encourages women to hate each other as they compete for immature, selfish men.

the day that we elect this man is the day I will begin to feel pride in my country again.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

o, to be foam

Your tail will then disappear, and shrink up into what mankind calls legs, and you will feel great pain, as if a sword were passing through you. But all who see you will say that you are the prettiest little human being they ever saw. You will still have the same floating gracefulness of movement, and no dancer will ever tread so lightly; but at every step you take it will feel as if you were treading upon sharp knives, and that the blood must flow.

but in the end she became foam, and then a daughter of the air.

no such luck for me.


Thinking about your friends
How you maintain all them in a constant state of suspense
For your own protection over their affection
Nobody broke your heart
You broke your own because you can't finish what you start...

one of the last remnants of my battle against borderline personality disorder is this insidious, all pervading feeling of inferiority. in every relationship I have, whether it be professional, friendship, romantic, or familial, there are always a set of self-imposed standards that must be met. If I can just do "x," then he will love me. then she won't hate me. then he will stay. then my life will be better. I have these incredibly high expectations of myself. I have to be perfect or I will die alone and be eaten by my cats. sort of an emotional OCD. I have to be the perfect friend. perfect roommate. perfect lover, employee, etc ad nihilem.

it didn't take years of therapy to suss out the etiology of these obsessions. once I stopped and thought about the effects of being sent off as a 13 year old for 14 months to a brainwashing camp it became exceptionally clear. everything I was got stripped away and discarded and then I lived in perpetual fear of being sent back until I was 18. I was forcibly pilled, everything I owned from diaries to shoes to favorite books were thrown away. I had nothing to call my own, nothing to call myself. broken down to my components and then half of them thrown away.

15 years later and I wonder how much longer til I can let go of this. the few people I am close to obviously love me in spite of my foibles, or perhaps even because of them. I certainly don't expect them to be perfect, so why do I expect perfection of myself? why can't I just let people love me without having to impose conditions on them? more importantly, how do I let them love me?

deep breaths? om mani padme hums? weekly therapy and lots of bike rides? or do I just have to wait it out?

Monday, March 17, 2008

I love it when you give me things

I have the flu, or 75% of it. about 4 times as achy as usual, which means my pain levels are at about 10 times those of the average neurotypical. just a wee bit of lung goo, but enough to have be huddled up with bl ankets drinking foulass chinese herbal cough tea. I've actually been taking naps in between exhausting bouts of sitting on the sofa looking at classifieds. I am literally incapable of taking naps and have been for as long as I can remember. I have an actual aversion to them, like I am going to miss something. when I do lay down and close my eyes, I ache so much I can't lie still, so I have to wait til I faceplant to sleep.

the Magnetic Fields were beyond breathtaking. I bawled my eyes out when they closed with "book of love." the guitarist picked out a teeny plaintive thread with a slide and a sustain pedal that was just chilling.

this was filmed a few weeks ago, so it's very close to what I saw last night.

Poem for Monday, March 17, 2008

The Morning Light

by Louis Simpson

In the morning light a line
Stretches forever. There my unlived life
Rises, and I resist,
Clinging to the steps of the throne.

Day lifts the darkness from the hills,
A bright blade cuts the reeds,
And my life, pitilessly demanding,
Rises forever in the morning light.

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Who is your "Lost" alter ego?
created with
You scored as Locke

You're Locke! People underestimate you, but you know you can do anything you want to. You hate limits being put on your life - you don't like it when people don't believe in you.



























and then I remember I am not the only one with obstacles

tomorrow: I get to talk a (completely non-techie) friend through installing a usb wireless card on a crappy old laptop I put Ubuntu on. I wish I had had the money to do it for her before I gave it to her, cos I remember it being somewhat of a nightmare.

now that you've made me want to die, you tell me that you're unboyfriendable

chick friday

going to see the Magnetic Fields tonight. I haven't been to see many shows here, mostly out of poverty, but since they enacted the smoking ban I am looking forward to going out more. at least, once I get a dang job. my escort tonight is the precious little Rat Patrol boy I befriended at the library- his original date had something come up. honorary big sister status is teh shit.

Chicago has all sorts of clever little venues that aren't quite bars. Being from a small town I got spoiled on seeing good music for 8 bucks up the street from my house with a crowd of under 150, but it seems like the better bands (or their managers) tend to go for the smaller places. I know seeing Lucero at the Metro with what must have been 800 to a thousand wasted and screaming fans was excruciating.

Now that I don't feel like I need a cane to stand upright I have all kinds of things to look forward to.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I've been house-sitting since Saturday: far removed from my comfort zone. I brought my own sweet angel baby mouse and my computer but home is way more than just those two things, although they are definitely its infrastructure. it's too cold and there's no light in this apartment, despite the mammoth and heat-sucking windows. one of the cats i am watching is apparently in heat and won't be silent. my cat talks a LOT but not like this. there's something so penetrating and alarming about her yowling. it makes it hard to sleep, and my heart starts pounding every time she starts. my own sweet baby sings along, though, and their opera faces are pretty dang cute.

the brain zaps are almost all gone. very very faint. still very moody. I've had a rough couple of weeks dealing with friends. I think being off meds has made me less forgiving, which is actually positive. I don't make as many excuses for people anymore. when I was stuck in bed all winter I was starved for human contact and didn't take very good care of my emotional needs. now I feel like I am separating wheat from chaff.

this is still very hard, and very lonely, and very scary. I hate applying for jobs, I am terrified of the holes in my resume, I seem to have lost a lot of confidence. and I still feel weak as hell.

I wish I could get paid to ride my bike.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Poem for Monday, March 10, 2008

The Fisherwoman

by David Ignatow

She took from her basket four fishes
and carved each into four slices
and scaled them with her long knife,
this fisherwoman, and wrapped them;
and took four more and worked
in this rhythm through the day,
each action ending on a package
of old newspapers; and when it came
to close, dark coming upon the streets,
she had done one thing, she felt, well,
making one complete day.

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484

Friday, March 07, 2008

no need to worry about everything I've done

doing laundry listening to top 40 r&b, singing along at the top of my lungs, doing the handclaps during the breakdown. crying my eyes out.

still emo as hell. brain zaps are almost all gone. stomach is still sour but no more puking.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

and also

The way I feel today sent me digging through my bookshelves to reread Hemingway's A Day's Wait.

I identify so strongly with the small boy who has spent the day thinking he is going to die because he mixed up Fahrenheit and Celsius. Poor Schatz. being sick sucks so damn much. at least you got a nice Papa to take care of you.

About what time do you think I'm going to die?' he asked.
'About how long will it be before I die?'
'You aren't going to die. What's the matter with you?'
Oh, yes, I am. I heard him say a hundred and two.'
'People don't die with a fever of one hundred and two. That's a silly way to talk.'
'I know they do. At school in France the boys told me you can't live with forty-four degrees. I've got a hundred and two.'
He had been waiting to die all day, ever since nine o'clock in the morning.
'You poor Schatz,' I said. 'Poor old Schatz. It's like miles and kilometers. You aren't going to die. That's a different thermometer. On that thermometer thirty-seven is normal. On this kind it's ninety-eight.'
'Are you sure?'
'Absolutely,' I said. 'It's like miles and kilometers. You know, like how many kilometers we make when we do seventy in the car?'
'Oh,' he said.
But his gaze at the foot of his bed relaxed slowly. The hold over himself relaxed too, finally, and the next day it was very slack and he cried very easily at little things that were of no importance.

I know I am out of the red here, but my god, I wish I could stop crying. it just bubbles out of me to where I can't barely even speak. I feel fine, the tears don't really seem to have much emotional content, they just choke me up and irritate my face with the damn salt.

time passes. tick tick tick.

day 5 off Cymbalta

As far as my current emotional state goes, I'm reminded of a Ginsberg poem I posted several years ago in my old blog:


by Allen Ginsberg

I’m crying all the time now.
I cried all over the street when I left the Seattle Wobbly Hall.
I cried listening to Bach.
I cried looking at the happy flowers in my backyard,
I cried at the sadness of the middle-aged trees.

Happiness exists I feel it.

I cried for my soul, I cried for the world’s soul.
The world has a beautiful soul.
God appearing to be seen and cried over. Overflowing
heart of Patterson.
I'm proud of this.

Monday, March 03, 2008

but you're gonna have to hold on

it's not that I am hearing voices, it's that my thoughts are not my own. I don't want to cut myself, to beat myself with flails and scourges. I don't want to jump from high buildings or throw myself in front of a car.

These things will pass. I will not be evicted, nor will the lights be shut off, neither will I starve, or die in my sleep. My cat will not have to eat me.

"I feel alright, and I cried so hard..."

cymbalta/effexor (SNRI) withdrawals

personal accounts:


cymbalta: the withdrawal symptoms from hell

what winners do: cymbalta withdrawal symptoms suck (thousands of comments on this one)

a message board:
cymbalta withdrawal

a wiki article:
SSRI discontinuation syndrome: discontinuation of duloxetine

and that's about all the steam I have for now.

I've been horrible to many of my friends. yesterday at dinner I found myself looking around the table and feeling loathing, revulsion, resentment, anger, abject hatred. all emotions that are not part of my life. things I never feel. this is like a bad acid trip. this is all the Loathing and none of the fear. just endless miles of Bat Country.

Last night, after hours of Neil Gaiman's American Gods on headphones, I was finally able to fall asleep. I thought the dizziness would kill me. I have a terrible fear of going out, Janis-style, choking on my own vomit in my sleep. I feel possessed, terrified, things under my skin, ups and downs and nothing tastes good.

oh god oh god oh god.

and I need a job.
and I need a life.
and I need a family, friends, a new body, a monkey butler with a jetpack, a brain upgrade, to transfer my data to the nets and live there unhindered by body.

everything falls apart. what do we do. there's no loss of energy or matter, just endless back and forthing.

Poem for Monday, March 3, 2008

Walking Thoughts

by Marvin Bell

The sidewalk is growing soft. I am growing soft.
Absence is a principle, a silence wholly.
If the moon fell, there would be no use for it.

What do we mean by “a killing effort”?
Back there, back there the darkness waits.
Everything we know is a circle.

In a dumb country, the one way is everyone’s.
And something has a chance in such a land.
Is my last friend ahead under that light?

I walk on, and the watchdogs bark crossly.
The other sidewalk is softening also.
It lets me down with curious consistency.

Settling for the average of full and empty
I turn toward home, begin to hurry in the dark,
having talked myself into going back once more.

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 278-7484
I've been channeling Bruce Banner all day, I tell him.

Rage, incessant and crackling. The fuck you talking to me for, I snarl as some dude who tries to holla. I am electric with anger, striding down Western, almost invincible. I wish I could bottle this feeling, evaporate its water and make it into pill form. Such energy. I haven't felt it in years.

I am tired of your shit. I am tired of carrying it for you. I am annoyed by your shit. Nothing tastes good. Everything is too loud and it catches on a skip and shudders. I feel like the evening after an allnight acid trip. My norepinephrine is being fucked with. Whirr-bzzt. Dzzzrrr. Hhhbbbbzzbbtt.

Am I dying? How much longer.

Tiny wee purple spots all over my face and my eyelids. Are they broken blood vessels?

is this intolerable?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

nothing says happy sunday morning like puking up your vitamins.
I'm starting to really resent neurotypicals. I don't want to play nice. your charity breaks me. I'm sick of sitting in bed. the tulips are too excitable.

re-reading through the old blog, waiting for lunch plans to coalesce.

The mental health industry is sick. The information packets at MMHI refer to the patients as mental health consumers. makes me picture rows and rows of blank eyed shoelace-less men and women lined up at picnic tables eating spaghetti. the sin that eats away at the industry is that the providers think they are superior to the consumers.

we've fetished mental health to such a point that we refer to it as a commodity. can one buy mental health? should one have to? does it really come in multicolored gelatin capsules? is there a surplus of mental health rotting away in a warehouse somewhere? does EliLilly offer producers money to burn their excess mental health to keep the price steady or do we flood the market of our neighboring countries with genetically modified mental health, causing their collectively farmed mental health to be worth less, forcing them to immigrate to the border to work in our mental health sweatshops?

the tulips are far, far too red.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

and just maybe I'm to blame for all I've heard

I remember sitting in my room in front of my dad's beatup old speakers, listening to this song over and over. before all this shit started. before the endless pills and pried-open jaws and the throat-stroking and the puking and shaking and complete and utter lack of privacy. before the mono or the fatigue that never lifted or the sleeping through classes or the insomnia or the inability to keep a job or the fear of rejection. the blood testing, the needles and steroids, the hypotheses, the ignorance, you have what now, how do you spell that, why i have never even heard of that.

it's warming outside, a white-skied first of march, and I'm stoned on the couch after a restless night. the brain zaps kicked in last night. the only thing that relieves the headache is biking, mouth open to swallow the damp air, headphones keeping my ears warm, free of gravity, invincible, but I'm puking up vitamin-flavored bile in the sink first thing upon waking, so it's sofal orbit.

brain zaps make it hard to think.