Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Blind Tom Wiggins

Blind Tom is one of my favorite composers. He was born a slave in the South in 1849 as an autistic savant. Unfortunately, the language at the time didn't have kind words or a shred of tolerance for people like Blind Tom. He spent his early life imitating the daughters of his master play the piano. Shortly thereafter, he learned to play the piano and could replicate any piece of music or poetry after hearing it once. I consider myself to have a poetic affinity, but I don't even memorize my own pieces, much less those of others after just one hearing. Blind Tom liked to play, and made his master very rich. In later life, the courts handed Blind Tom off to his mother, and eventually to her daughter-in-law. It's said that he refused to play the piano away from the comfort and custody of his former master. Mental disorders and illnesses don't care about skin color; racism is a poison society gives itself. I can understand Blind Tom's frustration and his refusal to play. Sometimes when I write, I think of Blind Tom sitting in front of the piano, doing what he knows best. I like to think I write in the same vein. Many schizophrenics fall to their disease, and can't pursue their talents for financial and social reasons.

My parents and my brother tolerate and encourage me despite our often conflicted past. Sure, I'd like to live a normal life by myself; however, I know I couldn't do it alone, and that my writing and happiness would suffer for it. My current situation allows for much writing, and poetry every day & night. I'm not a success by any measurement, but I'm doing what I feel I do best. The prejudice shown me is not of my own choosing: the rest of you want me this way. It's easier to put people in boxes, and shackle them to their bedposts when no name is attached. It's easy for society to say I need help and restrictions to keep myself and other safe. It's another thing completely to stand in front of me and say "our decision is to restrict your drivers license to a five mile radius, and mandate that you take the medications we prescribe you." I take my medication and drive quite safely on my own. Unfortunately, I'm in a group that's easily labeled a "them" not an "us;" my humanity rarely matters to people in charge.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


To introduce the Dragon:
The Dragon's made of dreams
That fly from love to fancy
And fly from there to madness

It doesn't have a form
That one can view as whole
But when its breath reveals
The sadness in his heart

The Dragon will begin
To offer up its service
And incarnate a world
Of pure feast and frenzy

A world that has no truth
Or honor, like our own
Just thoughts, and lies, and dreams
That wait there for the waking

The dreaming is dissolving
The will to conquer it
The dream will kill the Lion
While belching Dragon's breath

The Dragon's dream is flying
Upon the wings of fate
It's killing all before it
And slaughtering the wicked

He dreams the Dragon's triumph
Upon his feeble efforts
To feed the drowsy fire
With funny little pills

Draconic doom approaches
The pleasant lands of love
Without a will to wither
And not a shame in shelter

The pleasant part has passed
Beyond the mire of winter
The Dragon deems unconscious
The lion's little lie

Sunday, December 17, 2006

National Step Competition

I'm watching ESPNU, the National Step Competition specifically. Apparently it's a traditionally black college tradition among the various Greek fraternities and sororities. It's completely fascinating. There's lots of energy between the crowd and the performers; I couldn't even begin to score these dancers, or their dances. Dance is not even a good term for what they're doing; the music also comes from the performers. Each dance is original, and each fraternity or sorority has a unique style all its own. Some work with canes, sticks, and props; rhymes punctuate the dance steps, and the teams shout in unison. I haven't timed the routines, but each is several minutes long, with memorized dancing in elaborate patterns. I might not understand the scoring, or what the judgs are looking for in a good routine, but I can tell what I like, and I like them all. Each performance is so unique from the others that I can't decide who's better. Music is in the heels of the dancers, and in their clapping hands. I'm impressed. A team from Philadelphia wearing black won the sorority competition; they deserve the credit, but there was a lot of effort all around. A Phi Beta Sigma team from Michigan in blue won the fraternity competition. I will definitely watch stepping in the future.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I like them. Akin to most things in my life that attract my attention, I like them too much. My writing and thoughts are verbose. People around me know that, as do most readers of this blog. Plenty of people hate my wordiness; no matter how much I try, I will over write and over speak things. Most of those people end up, eventually, as strangers. Whether it's by a slow retreat, or by an outright statement like "I can't be seen with you," those people end up in good company. If I kept a list of those I made strangers by my obsession with words, it would be long. Many of them were friends or loved ones. They aren't bad people, or even wrong about me. They just can't stand to be around me and this of my many flaws. Who wants to listen to a crazy person go on and on about a subject that means virtually nothing to most people? Honestly, how many times could any of you listen to me talk about Hannibal Barca, or reference Petrarch? I love words; I love using them. That won't change, even if it means solitude. Trust me, I've tried to stop. Fortunately, I have my blog; I can pretend people read this. God goes about "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children" (Deuteronomy 5:9). My Dad had wine; I have my voice and pen. This forum suits me when most others fall woefully short.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Prepared to Take It

"There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for."

I've spent my whole life taking pain. The more I look at my history, the more I see that as my role. Every time I've tried to inflict pain on others, it comes back to me with greater effect. I talk a lot about "hating" so and so, "hurting" what's his name, and "defending" such what. Every time I try, it doesn't work. If I struck my brother in defense, it just intensified my pain in response. I've often said "there is no greater feeling in the world than hitting Michael Herway." He was a junior high school bully and popular kid that I drilled a few times in football practice. There is a lot in the world better than hitting Michael Herway. Among them is not staying awake at night in pain for thirteen years. I can take a good shot, ask anyone who's hit me. Pain is not something I fear; my knees still feel the long, slow aches from football practice. Maybe if I didn't play, I'd still have fully functional shoulders, wrists, knees, and ankles. As it stands, they're still weary from the abuse I put them through.

So what am I prepared to kill for? Not willing, or eager, the crucial word is "prepared." I don't have access to a weapon. My rifle is inside a 1000 lb gun case to which I don't know the combination. I can't use my body as an effective weapon anymore, due to my brief experiments with delivering pain to my adversaries. I'm not prepared to kill anyone. Perhaps myself because there's no one to resist me. I suppose I could use my car as a weapon; it's big, fast, and heavy. Those are valuable components to weapons. Unfortunately, there's little discrimination with a car as a weapon. Too many people apart from any target, even with the intent of suicide, would get in the way. Killing anything with a car is a damn waste, if only for the collateral damage.

So what causes am I prepared to die for? The specter of death looms over me. The most likely candidate is my own self-respect. I have the pills; I have the knowledge. All that's lacking is the protection of my tongue: I've told too many people that I wouldn't off myself. I don't know why I told them; it does nothing but cause me pain. I guess I'm eager to please, and not killing myself, along with not talking about killing myself makes people happier about being around me. To be honest, if I knew what my life would be like back in 1997, I would have no hesitation to pull the trigger again. However, my large capacity for pain continues to adjust to a world full of only more pain. I can't pull anyone into this misery with a clean conscience. Who would want to stay with me when all I'm expert on is pain? I don't even want to be here, and my threshold is huge.

In a world full of so much death, which to me would almost be a release, there is a lot of pain. I think I'm still around because I can take it better than anyone else. If there is a certain amount of pain to distribute, perhaps I should be the one to hurt. If I can take pain for friends and family, I do. I've taken a lot of pain to keep others insulated from it. My Mom wouldn't have been able to take the pain of knowing what my brother and my Dad did to me while she was out of sight, so I took it all. From fist to lash, I kept everything secret from the people I respected and loved. This is a practice I maintain today. Three years undiagnosed hurt a lot; that one I should have shared. Unfortunately, it's the only one I should have shared, including the hits on Michael Herway. I couldn't do what he did, and he couldn't live the way I do. Nick Benz knows pain. We're both entrenched against pain with no recourse. That's why he's my oldest friend. We understand each other. I put on a good show so people can't tell the pure desperation of my existence. Everything is arrogance delivered with a crooked smile. Inside, I hurt. From without, I'm the loudest, most arrogant, show-off any of my friends know. It's easier than explaining the intricacies of my psychosis, and more effective than open knowledge. I'll own my pain, thank you. Tomorrow is today, and I'm prepared to take it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Solved, Never a Thief

One of my professors submitted my paper to a Florida account, instead of a Maryland one. Yay. Some of the worst days in recent memory caused by a mixup.

Redneck Alexander Pope

It's something I've said in the past when asked to describe my poetic style in three words. It's ridiculous, that's why I like it. Alexander Pope wrote couplets; I hate couplets. Rhyming in that fashion just irks the hell out of me for reasons I don't understand. I have a few other sets of three words I use on occasion.

Monster, trust me

These three words are another option I use when people ask me to describe myself in three words. I don't belong much of anywhere, except in Church. My life is turning into a haze very quickly. I can't remember much of yesterday, and I'm determined to make tomorrow something to remember. I might sound good here, in my arena, but I'm not much of anything. These are the sands where my blood flows for the crowd. I can be a hero here, even if my real life is only pain on a diet of barley and beans disguised as medication.

Not Worth It

Three words for questioning life. I recently fought off a plagiarism charge in one of my classes. I'm a madman and a failure, but I'm not a thief. Somehow, my paper was stolen and turned in elsewhere; a week after I submitted it for class, it showed up in a community college in Florida. I'm looking at a pill bottle right now and wondering if it's worth a go. If the distance between words could substitute for time in thought, I would space this out in long drawn out sentences with unnacceptable punctuation. Unfortunately, this is all I have. I'm taking one; I'll take more later if I don't knock myself out.

This damn lie about me stealing a paper took up most of my time since Friday. That's why I haven't posted much here or anywhere else. About all I did over the weekend was frantically try to clear my name and read "Ode to a Grecian Urn" by John Keats; he's one of my dearest favorites. Truth may be beauty, but I live very far away from both. My beauty is pain. She's a glittering angel in a dark world with hazy surroundings. I can always find her nearby; if I breathe correctly, I can even enjoy it. How wrong is that? The worst part is that enjoyment is often my reason for waking up.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Miranda July

I'm awkward. I'm also alone. I sit here with myself as my company, watching a movie called "Me and You and Everyone We Know." It's a wonderful little film I've seen before, full of awkward, lonely characters. None of them are carbon copies of me, or even close, but I feel I know them all away from the screen. Maybe that's the point of the movie, but it's not the point of this post. This post is about trepidation. My fears aren't based in pain, or power. I fear the open knowledge of my peers. It always seems the people I like the most expect me to be someone I'm not. I can't be anyone but myself: a socially and fiscally conservative guy who reads the Bible and tries to live it. I don't want to hurt anyone for simply who they are. I don't want any notches on my rifle, but I want to keep it. Most of all, I want love, peace, and understanding.

I think I understand this movie, "Me and You and Everyone We Know." I want to see more out of Miranda July, the creative force behind the movie, but I have the same feelings of fear. Right now, this movie is perfect to me. I see bits of me throughout, but lots more to explore in the characters. The last time I felt this way about a poet or an artist, I was thoroughly enamored of Naomi Nye. She had the best little poems, quaint and well-crafted. I thought that was her art. Then I heard her and met her. I learned what she's about. She's a highly-politically motivated poet who writes highly-political poems. I felt estranged, not only from her politics, but from her work as a whole. Before I met her, I bought a book of hers, and read it so much, it dog-eared. She signed it, I listened to her drivel, and I haven't touched the book since. I don't want to feel that way about an artist ever again.


Events turn on the briefest moments. I'm in the Void, but I see only flashes of it. When I close my eyes, they're all I see: hands poke through the hot, dry earth with teeth on their knuckles, as I hunt the obese ones upheld by the small with my spear balanced in one clawed hand. It's the same as it's been for over twelve years, but I always feel it more than your world, even when I can't see it. Today started out so well, too. damn. I hope I'm ok for tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I'm just getting sicker. Most nights greet me the same way. They don't beckon me to slumber, they beckon me outdoors, where I can be anything I want to be, and be silent. I can't deal with it tonight, so I resolved to sleep. I'm tired of dueling with this all day, and long into the night. Some parts of me want to end it; other parts of me want to vomit, probably because of the pills, but also for the pain. How stupid is that? That pain leaves no marks. I know it well.

I'm going to sit here and blog until I fall unconscious. Maybe some of that will drip through my fingers and onto this page. I get lonely at night. It seems like I'm furthest from love and peace, but closest to understanding. I write, and some respond: most don't. I take from this only a few conclusions: I'm alone and it should probably be that way. I wish I was a phoney. I could espouse unthinking leftist dribble, curse God, have a stupid haircut, and do anything that comes to mind. I would be accepted. Unfortunately, I believe. I can't stop. My belief is strong enough to chain me in this cage we made for me, but not enough to keep me from wrapping it around my neck from time to time.

What does it matter, then, that I'm so miserable? It doesn't. The only one that hurts with me is me. They're all parts of me; you should know that by now. Every keystroke brings me closer to sleep, and I can only see dark clouds and light fingers ahead. I took one of those combination pepsid and tums to keep it all down. I can feel it gurgle up my esophagus. Time is on my side.

Click click click. When I punch the keys, my fingers feel enlightened. I think weight is on me now. I can't see straight, and my choir sings. Little do they know that I'm going to forget them soon. I don't remember my dreams mostly. The few I do remember seem far away, even if they belong to last night.

Everything seems to begin like this: I write, and words show up. They do me no good. Since I started writing, I don't think I've made any sense. That elusive understanding is a questing beast; I am Palomides. Percival will find what he seeks; I will stay in the forest. I love Isoulde, but am loved in return only by the hunt for new words and new understanding. Some call me crazy; others call me friend. What they all share in common, I cannot approach. I prowl and growl through the grasslands of my Void. Who wants to come with me? It's an open invitation which will never be read.

I'm tired, but I'm still awake. I don't know how long it will take, but I know sleep will come. Can you laugh now? Am I cross-eyed? I'm green-eyed, despite my claims for amber. I'm the lion inside, but from without, I'm a monster. You've heard that before. If I'm not a monster, what would you call me in its place? I know I'm different in too many ways. I feel the blood race to the outer layers of this epidermis I call home. Home is where the heart is; that's a cliche. My heart is uncertain whether it wants to be on the left side of my chest, and pump blood, or the right side of my chest and pump aether.

I don't need your alcohol, or your cigarettes, or your falsehoods. I wish I was a phoney, maybe then I could be more like you. We have nothing in common. I'm a madman, and you're the ones who hang around this cage of pills and pain. Taunt me. Buy pencils with my likeness at the gift shop. Buy cheeseburgers with terrible pickles in the cafeteria. Come look at me.

I said look at me!

Do you hate what you see as much as I hate myself? Probably not. No one comes by anymore. I don't think they ever did.

I don't remember much from my childhood, largely it's a streak of pain at the wrong end of a fist or lash. I do remember a time when a couple of people I barely knew, I think their names were Marie and Hillary, invited me to a birthday party. I thought it was a horrible joke; I didn't want to be there just to be laughed at. The party was real; I lost a swimming race to a friend. I still think some of them laughed.

Watch me the next time you see me. I'll be the one with the stupid grin, stupid laugh, and a stupid hair cut. Look closely, if you can. You'll see a carefully crafted lie. The easiest way to see through it is to watch my footprints, or to watch me cross a carpet on a slick floor, linoleum, tile, or wood. I torque my ankle in an odd way that upsets the carpet and leaves a little ring behind on my footprint. It's there to cover the ankle injury, and my history of bad toenails. If you've never seen my feet, that's by design. I baby my right ankle; if you want to hurt me badly, just attack the ankle. Any fight would be over in about five seconds.

Until then, look at my cage. It's a beauty. I have Jacob wrestling with God courtesy of Gaugin, an artist so dead and old that he can't object to my use of his image. I've got well over two hundred opportunities for people to learn. I don't use much Italian, so my readers aren't lost like with Ezra Pound. I use words and paragraphs to trap me in here. Look, the words arrange themselves like bars, and the spaces between them mark the holes. It's like chicken wire made out of English, but made strong enough to pin a lion. Don't miss out on a good thing, I highly reccomend the gift shop. It's next to the feet buitl to remain hidden on the way to the cafeteria. I hear they're terrible cooks, but they also serve ice cream novelties of me: I'm the diet double caramel.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Joshua Clottey

I'm impressed with Joshua Clottey. He fought Antonio Margarito, broke his hand on Margarito's jaw after winning the first four rounds, then boxed his way against the powerful Mexican slugger through all twelve rounds. On my card, I gave Clottey the eighth round, and the tenth to earn a draw. The judges saw it otherwise, however; two scored the bout closely at eight rounds won to four, and another saw it ten rounds won to two, all for Margarito. The eighth and tenth rounds were close, and I can understand scoring them for Margarito, but ten rounds to two is ridiculous. If Clottey doesn't break his hand, I think he reverses the outcome of the fight. As it stands, Clottey is the first genuine challenge taken by Antonio Margarito. It's all academic, though: they would all lose to "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather.