"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Oct 17, 2011

a title would only conceal the intent

Late in the night, or just as I'm awakening, I think nonsense words.

The thinking of words is already foreign to me. I don't do it very often. Perhaps it was the drugs. Might have been the beatings about my head and face. But, I cannot remember ever thinking many words in my head.

My wife and I spoke of it once, and we ended that conversation frustrated, and further from comprehensibility than before. I have to think about thinking words. I have to plan them. I don't hear my voice in my head, and I have extraordinary difficulty picturing images. I can draw, but I cannot picture. When people suggest* that I "visualize" I find myself at a loss. I can conceptualize, which is something akin to imagining a series of interlocking x-y-z axis graphs, with a-vocal meanings, syntactically and contextually dependent, running between chart points and charts, where the connections can become words once I age my hands or voice in the process of giving structure to them. But I do not have much native skill with translating these graphical interrelations into actual graphics, or sounds, in my head. My wife and I happened to be discussing this just yesterday. It is still foreign to her that I am empty-headed and capable of quick argument and planning. I still think it must be nightmarish and burdensome to travel through one's day with nothing but one's own voice rattling around up in there, fucking up the world with its monotonous and relentless commentary. I quite like the lack of noticeable translation software doing its business of meaning-making, between the reports filed by the parts of me which are senses and the parts of me which are reflection, collation and recollection of sensory input.

(Writing is especially difficult to explain, since I have a full map of what I mean, but almost no directly remembered word arrangements, before I put pen to page or digits to keyboard.)

So the nonsense words are odd. Perhaps troubling, as in a puzzle, but without the emotional coloring of trepidation and worry. Yet. Odd, because I can hear myself hearing them, in my own voice. I'm not subvocalizing them, I don't think. I've spent several days now quietly sitting, especially when I feel the creep of sleep, keeping my voice box under attention. These nonsense words still seem to form, on occasion, right on the edge of the slip between conscious awareness and the self-containment of sleep.

It happened again, today.

I had to elevate my legs, earlier this afternoon, and after an hour of tedious television, and the inability to get past a sentence in the book I'm re-reading, I started to drift off.

It was at this moment, on the cusp of sleep, that I heard myself think what I now remember as trappinec dogannly. (traa pinn eck daw gann lee).

I couldn't tell you what it means. It's nonsense. I don't think it has meaning. It has the feeling of a dream wisp, a babble of sounds that the mind ought to be trying to force into symbols and value shapes, but which end it does not accomplish, perhaps from failure or lack of care.

I believe I should worry about this, given the other shit happening to my body and nerves, but I don't. I'm resigned to it, and that's also a new thing. I expected, I think, a fear response and was surprised not to have experienced one.

I keep searching myself for the usual signs of fear. Also, for the fascination and obsession which tend to accompany a new plight.

Nothing. This is just me now, I guess.

I couldn't even adequately explain to you why I'm about to hit the "publish post" button and vomit this wholly uninteresting swill onto the screen. It's intriguing to me, I guess. And perhaps I'm about to toy with the madness I've long expected, which claimed my grandmother for almost twenty years, and which may have owned a great aunt. Or maybe it's part of the same seeming** degeneration which has claimed the right side of my mouth, the two right most toes on my right foot, a portion of my left foot, and the inside of my left pinky finger and sometimes for hours at a time, the index finger and thumb of my left hand as well as the right side of my face and every now and again my left eye, eyelid, eyebrow and cheek.

Madness could liberate. Or I could suffer it deeply. Maybe it will skip me. Or maybe I'm finally just starting to really die.

Not the short, quick death of my now distant youth, where I was certain I wanted to die right up until I actually did perish - and can I tell you, that many sleeping pills will parch not only your mouth, but your anus.


I pissed myself. I saw nothing, no loved ones, no bright lights. I needed water. My mouth would not moisten. I signed myself into rehab, but I didn't want to improve anything. I wanted to get in touch with Krishna, Shiva, Jesus, Buddha, Allah, the spirit of the raven - anything, because that fucking darkness was long and wide and deep and it didn't know my name. I didn't want to hunger and thirst anymore. I wanted to drink and gorge and wallow in revelation, faith, spirit and that most evil of fictions, capitalized Love.

I did acid and angel dust, magic caps and mescalin instead. Detox is a good place to discover all the drugs you have not done yet.

I  played with my brain, trying to find God and gods and godhood in chemicals and then when I stopped pretending that I was consolable, that I could actually live with any sort of salvation and redemption, I gave myself to a cynical excess. Followed by a minimalist skepticism.

Eventually, the hallucinations faded to silence, and quiet, and I learned to make do. To work. To crawl up and out. To give my word and keep it.*** And then, because contending with assholes will make you one, I began a long course in hatred. And contempt.

I was my own subject, is what I'm trying to say. That's the mercenary life. And the mercantile one. To cultivate a contempt for your own self and turn it to profit. To have, but not to enjoy.

All and all, a wasted life, but eminently worth living. I've really done my life. I've had three terrible, great loves. I'm lucky enough to still have that third and best of them, to have it by not ever possessing her. She is grace, without consolation. She is love, without redemption. She is.

I've made awful, crazy and unreasonable choices. I have been faithless and too loyal. I have refused to be what I was expected to be. But I've also murdered the man the me-boy once thought he could become. That fucker had to die, but I'm not sure this one ever really deserved to live.

So now maybe this is the real thing: the full dying death.

I don't know if I'm ready.

I also don't know if I even want the choice.

* - when I suggest that someone "picture" or "imagine," I have to do so with the awareness that I'm using those words within a poesis of sorts whereas the person with whom I'm speaking or communicating can probably just conjure up an image...

** - neurologically inconclusive; the MRIs and CATs and neuro-ophthalmology have shown nothing, except more payments to be made on the installment plan...I have migraines, visual artifacts, vertigo and intermittent dizziness and there is blood collecting in my legs, especially around my ankles, calves and heels, suggesting a circulatory problem about which my physician, two dermatologists, a neurologist and two separate eye doctors have consulted and shared information, but for which I have no other corroborating symptoms, and no diagnosis.

*** - fools give their word, idiots break it.


Will Shetterly said...

I don't know what you're going through, but it makes me want to pass along Vonnegut's advice, "There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind." I don't know if Vonnegut was thinking of this when he wrote it, but you've got to be kind to yourself, too.

Cüneyt said...

I sure as hell don't know what to say, but thank you for writing it. It's neat to think about differently we think.

fish said...

I am honored to witness the bravery of your exposing your wounds for all to see. Hopefully you can find peace, or at least relief.

Jonathan Versen said...

Be well Jack.

Jack Crow said...


davidly said...

Shit. More than humbled. Strength to you, Jack.

d.mantis said...

Thank you for this.

gave me solace in my own breakdown.

Be well.